Students at St John’s Catholic School & Sixth Form College, Bishop Auckland, a member of the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust, have been rewarded for their commitment and determination with impressive results in their GCSEs.

Netballer Katie Brooks-Shea was bouncing yesterday after securing top GCSE results. The 16-year-old student from St John’s Catholic School, Bishop Auckland, secured nine GCSEs and will stay on next year to study A Levels in business, PE, biology and geography.

Katie was named the England Netball North East Region Volunteer of the Year logging up 400 hours helping to coach, fundraise and schedule games. Her long-term goal is to work for the English Netball Association. She said: “I have enjoyed my five years here and am excited to do two more. I like all the teachers and the place is very familiar to me. I am very proud of my volunteering and managing to juggle it with my studies.

Georgia Eggington, 16, of Spennymoor, achieved the highest results in the year group, thanks, she says, to the pastoral support she received in school. She secured seven 9s and will study A levels in sixth form in maths, computer science and physics. She said: “The first time I came to this school I knew I had to come here. It is such a lovely environment and I could haven’t asked for better support. I know what it is like to go to a school that doesn’t have that so could not have asked for more.

Rugby player Sky Downie, 16, of Spennymoor, proved school work is worth a try when she secured nine GCSEs. She plans to go to Gateshead Sports Academy to study public services and join the rugby academy and hopes one day to be a firefighter.

A county and North of England player, she has just returned from the U18s England rugby camp where she spent the summer being coached. She said: “I will miss the people I have met at St John’s. The teachers have made a big difference and really helped me turn things round.

Best friends Katie Matthews, 16, of Shildon, and Sophie Campbell, 16, of Bishop Auckland, between them gained 13 9s and seven 8s. They will stay at St John’s to study A levels in English and biology. Katie will also study psychology and Sophie Spanish and chemistry.

Katie said: “There was never any doubt about staying at St John’s because of the supportive teachers and the atmosphere. I got exactly what I wanted. I have loved it and had so much support from the teachers.

Student leadership team members, who have helped make decisions to improve the school for students all year, also performed well.

Carrera Jones, 16, of Spennymoor, gained four 8s and four 9s and will stay on to study geography, English language and literature and biology. She said: “St John’s has been the most incredible experience and has the most wonderful people.

Fellow leadership team member Lucy Scott, 16, of Coundon, who secured 10 GCSEs, will study history, sociology, geography and RE A levels at sixth form. She said: “The staff have made me want to stay here. They are excellent and supportive.

Bodie Davison, 16, of Bishop Auckland, gained five 9s, four 8s and a 7 and will study A levels in chemistry, maths, psychology and RE at St John’s. He said: “The atmosphere is so friendly with so many supportive teachers. I am very happy with my results.

Headteacher Lisa Byron said: “We are incredibly proud of our students and their impressive results reflect individuals’ excellent commitment and determination to do well. Despite the disruptions to their education over recent years, our students have risen to the challenge and, with the support of parents, carers and our dedicated staff, many have developed greater resilience to excel in their studies. We look forward to welcoming students back into St John’s Sixth Form and we wish everyone every success and happiness as they begin the next stage in their education, training or employment.