A SECONDARY school is celebrating some excellent GCSE grades – from Year 9 pupils.

Thirty-seven youngsters from James Hornsby High School, in Leinster Road, Laindon, took their French and history GCSE exams two years early after being nominated by their teachers.

They gave up weekends and free time to cram in extra revision, with 100 per cent of pupils who took the history exam getting A* to E grades.

Headteacher Chris Hayes put the success down to hard work by students and staff.

He said: “The school has done very well, not just in Year 9 but across the board. What these pupils have achieved is remarkable, but not surprising. They have applied themselves in the right way and have worked hard to get their excellent results, something they all deserve.”

The pupils paid tribute to their teachers, saying they would not have been able to do it without them.

Mr Hayes said the early results meant the school was on the right track when it comes to repeating the success at Year 11 level.

He added: “We have some very bright sparks here and these skills are invaluable at an early age. “If you can speak a language at 13, then you are a magnet for employers, and they are also more prepared for GCSEs in Year 11. It will do a lot for their confidence.”

The school has undergone a transformation in the past two years, with the number of pupils getting five or more A*-C grades, excluding English, rising from 55 per cent in 2010 to 94 per cent in 2012.

New subjects have been intorduced this year, including Spanish and engineering, while a £3million cash injection from the Government will enable the school to upgrade its library, computers and interactive classrooms.

Mr Hayes also hopes to improve English standards at the school, but feels an investigation should be held into the recent marking debacle where guidelines were changed to be tougher.

James Hornsby was one of the schools affected by the below par English scores and has refused to reveal them.

Mr Hayes said: “We have appealed more than 20 results and, as such, want to get clarification before we reveal English scores at the school. Our English results are up from last year, but are still not what we expected them to be.”