A linguistics student who has overcome her stammer will continue her fascination with languages at Cambridge University.

Anna Harding, a student at , secured two A*s and an A in history, French and English literature, respectively, to read Asian and Middle Eastern studies, specialising in Chinese, at Cambridge.

“I developed a stammer when I started secondary school for some reason,” said Anna, of Sedgefield. “I always talked really fast and had to have speech therapy at school, which really helped. It gave me an interest in linguistics.

“Going to Carmel also helped me discover Chinese, we studied Mandarin instead of some French lessons and I did a Chinese GCSE.  I love it and am really looking forward to it being my degree. China is so up and coming and there are so many companies wanting to work with it who need people who can speak Chinese.”

For student Elliot Nicholson results day will be a launch pad into the global industry of e-sports.

The 17-year-old, of Darlington, will now read a degree in e-sports at Staffordshire University as a means to enter a billion dollar a year gaming industry.

With an online competition name of  Flower Boy, Elliot thrived in Carmel College’s popular e-sports club, which takes part in a host of national and international competitions.

“My aim is to develop my skills on the project management side of an industry that his absolutely huge,” said Elliot.

E-sports attracts thousands of players from around the globe with weekly cash prizes totally up to £500,000 a competition. One of the pioneers in the sport is reputed to be worth more than £30m at the age of just 26. “I’d like to organise and host contests and am really excited to be going to Staffordshire,” he said.

Dental student Erin Flynn will be able to pursue her dream of becoming an orthodontist thanks to securing two As and a B in her A Levels.

She will read dentistry at Newcastle University with her friend since nursery and fellow Carmel student Jude Blackmore, who both transferred from St Michael’s Catholic Academy, Billingham, to study at Carmel College sixth form.

“I have absolutely loved my two years at Carmel and they were so supportive with my studies during lockdown” said Erin, who is also a lifeguard . “I have always loved biology and dentistry really suits me. I used to have braces when I was at primary school and know the impact it can have on your self-confidence if you hate your teeth. I want to be an orthodontist specialising in reconstructive surgery and cleft palates.”

Carmel College principal Mike Shorten said: “We are really pleased that the results have reflected the hard work of the students and commitment of the teachers to work through the challenges we have all faced. It is always a privilege to celebrate students going onto the next stage of their lives.”

Chief executive of the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust Dame Maura Regan added: “This really is a great day to celebrate given the disruption to their education over the past two years.

“The Press keep talking about grade inflation but I challenge this in the strongest terms. These grades reflect both the ability and the hard work of students and staff and should be acknowledged as such.”