The new principal at a North Belfast school has praised his staff and pupils after they recorded some of their best-ever exam results.

Our Lady of Mercy Girls’ School on Ballysillan Road scored fantastic results for its sector with 66 per cent of pupils achieving five or more GCSE A*-C and 93 per cent achieving five or more GCSE A-E.

In his first year at the helm, the school’s principal Martin Moreland said the hard work of students, staff and parents had paid off.

“As the new principal of Our Lady of Mercy I am very pleased with the girls’ achievements,” he said.

“The school results have been improving each year and this can be clearly attributed to a number of factors including the excellent support of our parents and the dedication and hard work of our staff, who have developed respectful relationships with the pupils, raising their self-esteem and fostering an ethos of success.

“Relationships between the staff, pupils, parents and the wider community play a major part in ensuring our pupils achieve the results they deserve.”

At post-16, 97.4 per cent of students achieved two A-levels at A-E and 90 per cent achieved three A-levels at A-E, with most securing a place at a university, or further education college.

“Many of our vocational students have secured employment in the careers of their choice.  This is outstanding given the difficult economic climate we now face,” he added.

The school’s vice-principal Geraldine Dufy said almost 90 per cent of their pupils in Year 12 have returned to study A-levels or a vocational course.

“Working collaboratively with schools in the North Belfast Area Learning Community, we have been able to provide a greater range of courses for students to choose and this year we have attracted many pupils from other schools to study our vocational courses as it is very important that we provide suitable pathways for all our pupils,” she said.

The excellent results follow a string of successes throughout the year for the school. In June it tied with Abbey Grammar, Newry, for first place in the all Ireland Gleo Awards for best practice and delivery of Irish and for the fifth time in as many years the school won first prize in the Belfast Feis.

Drama student Anne Marie Fitzpatrick was awarded a bursary by the Lyric Theatre to train with theatre professionals for a year and take part in the Lyric Theatre’s production of The Lab.

Marie McDonald and Margaret Moyes have been selected to play football at county level and Meabh Noble travelled to Canada this summer to take part in the Canadian Junior Achievement Conference after becoming a Young Entrepreneur of the Year through participation in the Key Programme.