Hertswood students achieved the school's best-ever GCSE results when the envelopes were opened on yesterday morning.

Pupils at the school, which opened five years ago, managed to raise the five A* to C grade pass rate to 46 per cent which compares to 23 per cent recorded in 2000.

It means that this pass rate, which is regarded as the national benchmark, has doubled since the school's first year. Last year, Hertswood recorded a five A* to C grade pass rate of 37 per cent One of its highest achievers, Abu-Taher Salique, 16, of Borehamwood, scored five As and said his results reflected a lot of hard work.

"In the last week leading up to the exam it was all books, no TV, nothing," he said.

"I'm very pleased it's a big relief. I'm going to college to study business, maths and IT. I hope to be a businessman one day."

Carly Billing, 16, of Borehamwood, was ecstatic after discovering that she had achieved five As and eight Bs.

"My last exam was on June 15 and for the last month I've been getting butterflies in my stomach every time I think about the results," she said. "But now it's worth it. I'm really pleased and I'm really proud."

Sarah Karamadzanis, 16, of Borehamwood, who scored two As and seven Bs, added: "I didn't expect anything like this.

"It's absolutely brilliant. I'm going to carry on with my studies and hopefully go to university. I'm really happy with the results but the best bit is that I'm in the Borehamwood & Elstree Times."

Headteacher Ian Lucas said he was very pleased with the school's outstanding improvement.

"This indicates the greater success for the future as we begin as a Specialist Arts College and as we continue to appoint experienced staff," he said.

He added: "Congratulations and well done to all the students, staff, parents and our local community who all have the opportunity to further support Hertswood School and all its successes in the future."

GCSE results across England improved at all grades for the first time since 1996.

u A six-year-old boy who studied at a Radlett school has achieved a B-grade GCSE in Information and Computer Technology (ICT).

Sohum Patel, from Arkley, was a pupil at Radlett Preparatory School, in Watling Street, until this summer.

He was inspired to take the exam by his 14-year-old sister, Shivani, who sat the test alongside him.