A host of students at two of Waltham Forest's largest colleges say they have surpassed expectations to land overseas scholarships and places at Russell Group universities. 

Staff and students at Sir George Monoux College in Chingford Road, Walthamstow, were today celebrating with cake and tea following a 14 per cent increase in BTEC distinction grades and four per cent rise in A* results. 

Star pupil Keano Robinson, 19, enrolled at Sir George Monoux as an overseas student from Jamaica two years ago. 

The Cambridge-bound teenager is the first in his immediate family to go to university after receiving an A* in mathematics and three As in biology, chemistry and physics. 

He said:"I feel so excited and is looking forward to going to university. To be the first in my immediate family is a huge accomplishment.

"When I visited Trinity Hall, I couldn't get over how beautiful it was so I'm very pleased to now study chemical engineering and will hopefully go into developing medicine after my degree."

Principal Paolo Ramella welcomed the results from students with varied abilities.

He said: "Considering the type of students we have, to be offered places at Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group universities is tremendous. 

"I think the public tend to forget we cater for a whole range of pupils with different abilities so it is a testament to students and staff when they attain results beyond their predictions."

Leyton Sixth Form, in Essex Road, has reported a 99 per cent pass rate for its 2,000 pupils studying A-Levels and vocational courses. 

Esther Olagunju, 18, from Dagenham, and Tracy Lomanja, 19, of Chadwell Heath, have both been awarded a scholarship to study performing arts at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) based in New York and Hollywood. 

The aspiring actresses were granted the four-year placement after achieving distinctions in a BTEC in performing arts extended diploma. 

Tracy said she dreams of appearing on Broadway. 

She said: "When I opened my results I was shocked and surprised because I doubted myself a lot.

"I had a lot of ups and downs and felt like giving up a number of times but my teachers always motivated me and seeing other friends succeed pushed me to focus. 

"Getting this scholarship proves hard work pays off. I am nervous as hell for what's to come but it has been to me for a reason."      

Principal Kevin Watson said: "There is a national expectation A level results would dip because of a cap on resits but we've retained excellent results with a 99 per cent pass rate."