Students from Carmel College, Darlington, secured A*s and As in maths and further maths as the school cemented its reputation as a leading maths hub. Two students also celebrated securing degree apprenticeships with leading employers which means they will earn as they learn and avoid any traditional student debt.

Evie Keeley, 18, of Middleton St George, achieved an A* in maths, an A in further maths and an A in business studies. She has accepted a four year accountancy apprenticeship with leading firm Mazars based in London. “Numbers have always been my thing,” said Keeley. “Even at primary school I was always first to finish the times tables challenges. I just understood maths straight away. Even as a hobby I do maths puzzles and 1,000 piece jigsaws. My mum makes fun of me saying I’m like an old lady. I’m hoping I will be kept on for an extra four years to achieve my chartered accountant qualification.

A*s in maths and further maths and an A in physics was more than enough for Leo Mercy to secure a degree apprenticeship in data science with the Office of National Statistics, which is now based in Darlington. The 18-year-old, of Darlington, will be based at the town’s new Economic Campus and he will study at the University of York St John’s.

The selection process was brutal because so many students are trying to find an apprenticeship and places are limited,” Carmel College’s head student recalled. “I had to sit judgement and numerical tests and do a verbal presentation to prove I had the right skills and potential. I needed B,C,C grades so I was thrilled to get the A*s and an A.

A keen cricketer and qualified FA referee Leo has been a student at Carmel College since year 7 and hopes to work in government or the private sector as a data analyst.

Three A*s, in maths, further maths and chemistry, saw Archie Powell meet his target to take up a coveted place at Queen’s College, Oxford, to read chemistry. The 18-year-old, of Darlington, was still pinching himself yesterday after achieving his dream. “I still can’t believe it,” he said. “It was my form tutor who suggested I try for Oxford as I didn’t think I would make it. I had three interviews in one week, which was full-on and one didn’t go so well. So when I received the offer I thought they had made a mistake. Ultimately, I hope to go into laboratory research pushing the boundaries of chemistry and discovering new things.”

Archie Headland was thrilled as he achieved four A*s, in maths, further maths, physics and computer science. The 18-year-old, of Richmond, will now read physics at Durham University. “I really enjoy coding, so hope to work in that field one day,” he said.

Giacomo Rutherford was equally delighted after achieving A*s in maths and further maths and an A in computer science. He will now read a degree in maths, operational research, statistics and economics at Warwick University, with the option to study a fourth year for his masters. “I love data and want to work in analytics one day,” he said.

Joanna Sebastine achieved three A*s, in maths, further maths and art and a B in physics, which secured her a place at UCL London to read engineering and architectural design, a four year degree course. “I have always been interested in architecture, but enjoy engineering as well,” the 18-year-old, of Darlington, who wants to be a design engineer, said. “This course has both aspects, which is great.

Lara Maguire, 18, of Darlington, secured an A in maths and A*s in English literature and sociology, receiving a special mention from exam board AQA for her English result. She has accepted a place at Leeds University to study English. “I’m thinking about getting into social research and political writing as I feel strongly about social inequality,” she said.

Evie Woods, 18, of Darlington, will return to Carmel College on a teaching assistant apprenticeship after gaining a distinction in health and social care, a B in sociology and a C in religious studies. “I want to work with children with additional needs,” she said.

Carmel College principal Mel Kane said: “The effort our students have put into their studies has been immense and these results reflect their hard work and the dedication of our talented teaching and support staff. The students have exceeded 2019 outcomes, in both national and north east results, which is remarkable given the significant disruption they have had to their education. We are thrilled for everyone involved in achieving these super results.