Students across Caerphilly County Borough have celebrated their GCSE and Welsh Baccalaureate grades as Wales recorded its best ever A*-C pass rate.
The number of students in the county who achieved five A*-C grades rose by 5% to 73% while the overall pass rate also went up.
At Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School the top four achievers recorded 55 A* and A grades between them.
Cllr Rhianon Passmore, Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “These commendable outcomes are the result of a huge amount of commitment, hard work and dedication on the part of our students and teaching staff, and congratulations must go to them on their excellent performance. Well done to you all.”
Throughout Wales 67% of pupils received grades A*-C with 19% getting A* and A grades. The overall pass rate was 98.5%.
Pupils in Wales still trailed behind their counterparts in England, although the gap is closing, and almost 12,000 students achieved the full Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate Diploma.
Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills, said: “I’d like to offer my congratulations to all students in Wales who are collecting their GCSE results today.
“Many learners are picking up good grades in their GCSEs which they’ve earned and thoroughly deserve. These grades, together with rounded education and the skills they developed through the Welsh Baccalaureate, will open many doors for our learners, allowing them to continue in learning, be that vocational or academic, or enter the world of work.
“Across all subjects in Wales the data shows improved performance at A*, A, B and C which is very encouraging.
“Amongst other positive results, it is encouraging to see that compared to last year’s results there were improvements at A*-C grades, particularly in the science subjects – all of which had improved pass rates – English Literature and Welsh First Language.”
There was a slight deterioration in Maths performance for which Mr Lewis blamed “changes in entry patterns”.
He said: “We are striving to improve and already have measures in place to raise our game in Mathematics, such as the Literacy and Numeracy Framework which will improve performance in years to come.
“We are also introducing new Maths GCSEs from September 2015 and their implementation will be supported by regional consortia, funded by Welsh Government, as well as by the WJEC.
“The highest standards of literacy and numeracy are essential for ensuring progress and achievement in education, for the economic health of the nation and for supporting the general well-being of the population as a whole, as well as individuals.”