THE headteacher of a Burnley school has spoke of his joy as it was finally granted specialist status.

Speaking at the 44th St Theodore's Catholic Sports College and Sixth Form prize giving evening John Tat said the school was growing in size and popularity.

The Ormerod Lane school was granted specialist sports college status in August after two failed attempts, and Mr Tat told governors, Reverend fathers and parents at the ceremony last night that the hard work of all connected had paid off.

Mr Tat said a number of fundraising events including an evening with former footballer-turned-pundit Alan Hansen organised by former pupils Stewart Binns, author and broadcaster, and the Director of Sport at the BBC Peter Salmon had raised over £13,000 for the school.

He added: "It is a tremendous vote of confidence in the school when former pupils are prepared to give generously of their time and expertise to promote the school."

Excellent academic and sporting achievement also went hand in hand with 97 per cent of pupils achieving five or more GCSE passes. Mr Tat described A level results as "stunning" with the overall pass rate 97 per cent.

The head added sporting highlights included the winning of four football finals including the Keighley Cup at Turf Moor and the U13s becoming Lancashire School Champions.

He concluded his address by updating those present on developments at the school which included the re-decoration of the English and Maths blocks and the creation of a new ICT room before thanking the governors, colleagues and parents for their support.