THE headteacher of Burnley's St Hilda's RC High School told parents, staff and students there was every reason to be optimistic about the future.

Bernadette Bleasdale spoke as the school marked its annual prize night in its 50th anniversary year.

Miss Bleasdale said: "This year really has been one of the very best. We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the school and it has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to look back and thank God for all the good things that have happened in the life of our school, for staff who have worked here and for girls who have benefited from the wonderful opportunities given by St Hilda's.

"What a great year also to celebrate the achievements and accolades of the present - specialist college status, artsmark gold, new buildings for performing arts and new resource centres for humanities and vocational courses.

"These in many ways are just the outward signs of the continuing vibrant community we are privileged to have here."

Miss Bleasdale praised the school's academic achievements with 70 per cent gaining five or more GCSEs grades A* to C and 100 per cent getting at least one GCSE grades A* to G.

One pupil, Loredana Tedesco, gained 12 A* to C exams.

Mention was also given to former pupil Laura Finucane, 18, who has been chosen to train with Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes in South Africa.

Miss Bleasdale said: "I have to believe that we can be even better, trusting to the good sense of our parents , governors, staff, diocese and LEA .

"With the experience, success and dedication of the past 50 years behind us we have no reason to be timorous about our future." Guest of honour was Burnley MP Peter Pike who attended with his wife, Sheila.