Scores of pupils across the English Schools Foundation have notched up outstanding results in the British General Certificate of Secondary Education exams, as the proportion of A and A* grades rose by one percentage point. And the German Swiss International School has hit a record for the top grade in GCSEs and International GCSEs, with two-thirds of all exams taken this year resulting in A* - up from 58 per cent last year. Of the 64 pupils in the leading international school's English section, 26 gained eight or more GCSEs or IGCSEs at A*. Five gained 11 A*s and one bagged 12. Mary Peart, head of the GSIS English secondary department, said the pupils' achievement was phenomenal, while ESF chief executive Heather Du Quesnay said she was delighted with this year's results. 'We are particularly pleased that all of our schools have gained more than 50 per cent A or A* for the second time in three years,' Du Quesnay said. 'And they do match the ESF's best results ever in 2008.' Across the ESF's four secondary schools, 54.4 per cent of the 8,486 GCSEs and IGCSEs taken resulted in A or A* grades, up from 53.4 per cent last year. The proportion resulting in grades A* to C was 93.1 per cent - down slightly from 93.9 per cent last year. A total of 55 pupils achieved eight or more passes at A* and three gained 11 A*s. The increase in top results came against record grades at all levels in Britain, where the GCSE pass rate rose for the 23rd year in succession for 98.7 per cent of entries. The proportion of exams resulting in an A or A* rose one percentage point to 22.6 per cent and the A* to C grade rate was up by two points to 69.1 per cent. For the first time this year, results were released directly to pupils online - spelling the end of the tradition of results being handed out in the school hall amid cheers and hugs. Schools were not allowed to issue paper slips until after the release time on Tuesday. Island School pupil Christopher Lee Pak-to, 16, is aiming to study medicine at the University of Hong Kong under the Early Admission Scheme, which allows students to enter university a year in advance, after netting 11 A*s. 'I was quite surprised because I never really thought about what grades I would get,' he said. 'I just try to do my best. If you focus on the learning, the results just come along.' At King George V School in Kowloon, friends Edward Tam Yuk-wang and Scott Wang Cheng-yu were delighted to discover they had both gained 11 A*s plus a distinction in an award for digital applications. 'It was a nice feeling that Edward got the same results as me,' Scott said. 'We have been friends since Form Seven. When my brother was at KGV he got seven A* and two As and he was top in his year. But I do think the exams are getting harder because we are doing more subjects and the content is being updated.'