Outstanding” students at a Peterlee college are feeling deservedly proud of themselves having scooped top grades across the board. The proportion of A level students at St Bede’s Catholic School & Byron Sixth Form College, which is part of Bishop Chadwick Catholic Education Trust, who received A* – A was 27.1% and 47.1% received grades A* – B. This compares favourably with the national picture where 26.5% of A level students in England received the top grade.

Alfie Kemp, 18, from Peterlee, received an A in maths and two Bs in chemistry and physics. “It’s much better than I expected and I am going to my first choice university,” said Alfie, who is going to Newcastle University to study mechanical engineering. I had a lot of nerves this morning but it all came good in the end and now I’m off to uni!

Thomas Tudball, from Wingate, received an A* in maths, two As in physics and computer science and an A in AS level further maths. The 18-year-old is going to Sheffield to study a degree in mechanical engineering. “I needed three As and I was a little bit worried because I didn’t think I had done very well in physics, but I’ve done better than I expected,” he said. “I’m excited about going to uni.

Macey Ramshaw, 18, from Hartlepool, is going to the University of York to study education, thanks to gaining the two Bs and a C she needed to secure her place on the course. “I was really shocked to receive my results – I got a B in psychology, B in English literature and a C in biology – because the exams were hard and I wasn’t sure how well I’d done,” said Macey. “All my hard work has been worth it. I’m excited about going to uni, it will be different but fun.

The next step for 18-year-old Jacob Curtis, from Peterlee, is studying physics at Durham University. He received an A* in maths, A* in physics and an A in chemistry. “I’m really pleased with my results,” said Jacob, who would like to be a professor. “Byron is a small Sixth Form which I like because you get more one-to-one support.

Headteacher Frances Cessford said: “We are incredibly proud of all of our A level students’ resilience and hard work resulting in some outstanding achievements today. As a small Sixth Form, we are extremely proud of both students and staff who continually nurture all. Due to COVID-19, this is the first time this cohort of students have taken formalised examinations and had the joy of a proper results’ day; to have obtained the amazing outcomes they have is testament to their commitment and hard work.

Supported by their teachers, parents and carers, in our supportive learning environments, St. Bede’s learners have shown real academic flair and ambition. However, they have also taken every opportunity to develop their wider talents through a range of extra-curricular activities making them well-rounded, exemplary citizens that we are proud will always represent the St.Bede’s family in the wider world.

Special mention to Tilly Garvey, who has achieved two A*s and one grade A and has secured a place at Pembroke College, Oxford reading theology and religion, and, Jacob Curtis, who also achieved two A*s and one grade A and will be reading physics at Durham University.

The proportion of A or A* grades across England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 27.2%, down from a peak of 44.8% during the pandemic.

The fall in grades this year is steepest in England, where 26.5% received the top grade (compared to 35.9% in 2022). In Wales, 34% received the top grade (compared to 40.9% in 2022) and 37.5% in Northern Ireland (compared to 44% in 2022).

For more information about BCCET, please visit www.bccet.org.uk.