There were mixed fortunes for secondary schools in Falmouth, Penryn, Helston and the Lizard Peninsula when the latest set of league tables were published last week.

Penryn topped the list of local schools after achieving the best results in the history of the college last summer.

This meant 65 per cent of students achieved five or more GCSEs at A* to C, including English and maths, putting them joint top in the county with Roseland School for a non-private school.

Such was the school’s achievement that headteacher Marie Hunter received a letter from the Minister of State for Schools, David Laws, congratulating staff and pupils “on the excellent improvement in GCSE results over the last three years.”

He named the college as one of the top 100 in England for sustained improvement in the percentage of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs, including English and maths at A* to C grades.

Mr Laws described the results as “a shining testament to the hard work and success of your staff, governors and pupils.”

More than 20 per cent of the class of 2013 amassed a record number of 430 A* and A grades, while those who had to work hard to overcome specific learning needs achieved a total of 66 GCSEs, 31 at A* to C grades. Each student gained at least five GCSEs.

Headteacher Marie Hunter said: “Results like these only come when the young people themselves really commit to their own futures, supported by dedication from home and great teaching.

“I know how much each person here really cares about the kind of adult each child becomes. It’s so fantastic this has received national recognition too.”

Mullion School saw a total of 59 per cent of students achieving five A* to C results at GCSE, including English and maths.

Headteacher Mike Sandford said the school was “very pleased” with this year’s set of figures, in particular with the “value added” score that looks at the progress made between when pupils arrive at the school in year seven to when they leave in year 11.

Mullion achieved a score of 1,007.5, well above the national average of 1,000, with 76 per cent of pupils making three levels of progress in English and 80 per cent in maths.

“I think all league tables need to be looked at with a great deal of caution. Having said that, we’re pleased with what they’re showing the school is doing this year.”

However, Helston Community College headteacher Dr Pat McGovern described the latest league tables as “a somewhat confusing and perhaps conflicting set of results.”

He said he was “delighted” that the college was in the top third of the county’s secondary schools for progress to GCSE age, describing it as “a real tribute to the dedicated hard work and commitment” of students and their teachers.

Also pleasing was that 32 per cent of students made more than four levels of progress in English and 39 per cent in maths, making the school above the national average for “value added.”

Dr McGovern said the college |was “concerned,” however, at the “declining trend” of students achieving five or more A* to grades, including English and maths – which sat at |52 per cent this year – and this remained “a priority for the coming year.”

He said: “In the 2013 results, there was an issue with English GCSE where 64 per cent gained an A* to C grade when we were expecting 78 per cent. We have strategies in place to ensure that this does not happen again.

“We were five per cent below national average on this measure, and have been committed to reversing this trend during this academic year.”

Dr McGovern also claimed that Helston received the lowest level of funding per student for any local authority maintained school in Cornwall, representing a loss of “around £1 million of funding per year.”

Falmouth School saw 56 per cent of students achieving five or more GCSEs at A* to C, including English and maths.

Headteacher Brett Miners was unavailable for comment as the Packet went to press.