CASTERTON School led the way with the latest Government league tables showing the all-girl secondary achieved a double success.

It had the highest A Level results in Cumbria in 2012, with an average points score of 250.5 - more than 40 points above the national average.

And the number of students achieving five A*-C grade GCSEs, including English and maths, went up from 75 per cent to 82 per cent - making it the best-performing school in South Lakeland.

Headmistress Maxine Lucas said: “Small class sizes provide a high level of individual attention, but these stunning results are above all a testament to the hard work and determination of our girls and the dedication of our staff.”

Department for Education data showing schools where students attain the expected minimum of five GCSEs at grade A*-C including both English and maths revealed other impressive improvements.

Settlebeck High School, Sedbergh, saw 10 per cent more of its pupils reach the expected level in 2012, with 59 per cent successful.

Sedbergh School recorded the same figure - up to 81 per cent. And 70 per cent of pupils at the Lakes School obtained the benchmark - up from 61 per cent the year before.

Ulverston Victoria High and Kirkby Stephen Grammar schools both saw increases of five per cent (to 65 and 63 per cent respectively).

‘Delighted’ Lakes School headteacher Dr David Selby said: “That jump didn’t just happen by chance, it’s the way staff are dealing with students, making sure there’s a real focus on what’s happening in the classroom and first-rate teaching.”

In Kendal, Kirkbie Kendal caught up with Queen Katherine School.

Kirkbie Kendal’s GCSE results rose nine per cent to 67 per cent.

Queen Katherine also achieved 67 per cent - the same figure as 2011.

Kirkbie Kendal headteacher Phil Hyman said: “All of us within South Lakes Federation of Schools collaborate and share good ideas of subject teaching and good practice to help students improve, whether they’re from Kirkbie Kendal, Queen Katherine or John Ruskin, for example.”

But elsewhere, there was disappointment, with the number of Windermere School students achieving the required GCSE level down 30 per cent on 2011, from 82 to 52 per cent.

And although Coniston’s John Ruskin School improved 2011’s GCSE figure by 17 per cent, only half of all pupils are leaving year eleven with English and maths among their five A*-C GCSE passes.

Schools seeing a drop in the number of pupils reaching the criteria, but who were still among Cumbria’s top-performers, were Cartmel Priory CE School (down three per cent to 67 per cent) and Dallam School, Milnthorpe (down six per cent to 67 per cent).

Dowdales School, Dalton-in-Furness, dropped from 62 per cent to 55 per cent and at Appleby Grammar School, 52 per cent of pupils secured five GCSEs including English and maths, down three per cent from last year.

Joining Casterton School among Cumbria’s top A Level performers were Queen Elizabeth School, Kirkby Lonsdale (2nd), Sedbergh School (5th) Kirkby Stephen Grammar School (7th) and Queen Katherine School, Kendal (8th).

The listings, based on the overall point score per student, places all the schools above the national average.