STUDENTS at Friern Barnet School wowed celebrity judges at a performing arts contest final last night, beating specialist theatre schools for the national title.

The school's Glee Club won the Jack Petchey Foundation Glee Club challenge at the Savoy Theatre in front of a judging panel including entertainer Graham Norton and Tamzin Outhwaite, of EastEnders fame.

The nine 13 to 16-year-olds presented two performances at the theatre against nine other schools through from the regional finals last month.

Headteacher Jeremy Turner said: "They did really well just to get through to the final. They were up against some fantastic competition.

"I think we knew we had a chance, we're a vibrant North London comprehensive. But some of these students had been in these theatre schools since the age of five and have been pushed and pushed.

"They just clinched it in their second piece. It's probably one of the biggest wins we've ever had."

Walking through the schoolyard this morning, Mr Turner said there was a "really lovely atmosphere" as students celebrated the win, which includes £5,000 for training and resources.

Music teacher Henry Perkins worked with the students throughout the process and said the group deserved the win after all the hard work they had put in.

“This really is a moment that will live with us forever.”

In the audience last night was Barnet Mayor, Councillor Lisa Rutter, who said: "It was amazing - I am very proud of the school."

Cllr Rutter has invited the students to attend a tea in the Mayor's Parlour.