An AM has headed back to his old school and given the new head teacher top marks, for achieving its best ever exam results.

Lee Cummins has made great improvements at Abergele’s Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan since he took the reins 12 months ago, said Clwyd West AM Darren Millar.

As a result of the academic achievements more parents are inquiring about enrolling their children and new after-school classes, from archery to skiing, are also proving popular.

Mr Millar, who attended the school in the late 1980s, met up with Mr Cummins to hear about his latest plans, before joining a group of Year Seven Learners in the school library.

“I am a regular visitor to the school and I can see at first hand the improvements that Lee has brought in,” said Mr Millar, who is also Shadow Minister for Health and Older People at the Senedd.

“There has been a big step change in the performance of the school over the past year. That was noticeable in last summer’s results and in many smaller ways through the school.

“His leadership of both staff and students is helping them to feel that they are able to achieve more.

“I have nothing but praise for the way he is taking the school forward, he has made a real difference.”

Mr Cummins took over in January 2014 at the school in Faenol Avenue, Abergele, from retiring head Nayland Southern, after being appointed by the board of governors. He was previously deputy head teacher at Connah’s Quay High School in Flintshire.

He has introduced a new school slogan ‘Dare to Achieve’ with the aim of ensuring students are encouraged and supported to aim high in all subjects, from arts through science and sports.

“This has been a good first year in terms of improvements in performance of the students. I am particularly proud of the increase in the numbers of learners getting the highest grades at GCSEs, and beating every record on every school indicator. In addition, every learner also left with five or more GCSE passes,” said Mr Cummins.

“This is an exceptional achievement across the school, with more learners than ever achieving above average levels at the end of Year Nine.

“Also, every Year 13 student was able to secure a place at their first choice of university, for when they left the sixth-form.

“During the past year we have also been able to enhance the facilities at the school, with investment in ICT, with improvements for many of the study facilities for learners of all ages and abilities. I am also excited by future plans for the school.

“We have also focused on working with the local community, with parents and in conjunction with the head teachers of nearby primary schools nearby, with the aim of collectively improving education.

“I want to build on this success year on year to ensure Ysgol Emrys ap Iwan  is the best school in Wales in all areas The next year will bring its own challenges but I will continue to encourage the learners to achieve the best they can.” added Mr Cummins.

The school, which dates back to 1899, has more than 1,100 learners with 140 teaching and support staff.