STUDENTS in Trafford received their A-level results this morning on a record day for the UK's sixth formers.

Nationwide, almost 45 per cent of students received at least one A* or A, compared to 38.5 per cent in 2020.

Results were determined via teacher assessments rather than end-of-year exams.

The teacher assessments have been criticised for leading to so-called 'grade inflation', but teachers in Trafford insist their students' grades are well deserved.

Catherine Connaughton, the deputy head and head of sixth form at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College (BTHCC), was full of praise for the students.

She said: "We're incredibly proud.

"They've had it harder than most, but they've just been so resilient.

Messenger Newspapers: Caoimhe McAndrew and Jazmin Allen.Caoimhe McAndrew and Jazmin Allen.

"They worked with a smile on their face and their head held high the whole time.

"They deserve every single grade."

Mrs Connaughton's praise was echoed by Mr McGuinness, a teacher of history and politics at BTHCC, where 20 per cent of students received three A*s or As.

He said: "The vast majority of students got what they've deserved.

"I would've put my mortgage on them getting those grades anyway.

"It was rigorous and it was thorough."

Although there were no end-of-year exams in a traditional sense, Mr McGuinness highlighted the fact that teachers still used exams to inform students' grades.

Messenger Newspapers: Fintan Hepburn alongside Dhanush Raj.Fintan Hepburn alongside Dhanush Raj.

In some cases, the students sat more exams than in a normal year.

He said: "It was more demanding than the actual A-level process.

"There were five politics papers rather than three politics papers.

"It wasn't a soft option," he added.

The students themselves were treated to baked goods on arrival at BTHCC, but were also insistent on the fact that their A-levels were no cake walk.

Caoimhe McAndrew, who is going to study history at the University of Liverpool after receiving three A*s , said it was 'more stressful than normal'.

And Fintan Hepburn, who is going to the University of Birmingham to study aerospace engineering, said he would still have 'preferred to do exams'.