STAFF and students at Haughton Academy, Darlington, were celebrating after GCSE exam results improved for the fourth year running.

The pupils were praised for their “excellent” exam results during the “extraordinary circumstances” of the Covid-19 pandemic which saw traditional exams cancelled and grades set on teachers’ projections.

Head boy Ewan Page led the way with an incredible ten grade 9s, while Fahey Underwood gained six grade 9s, one grade 8 and three grade 7s.

She plans to study A levels at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in law, psychology and criminology. She said: “I find the workings of the human mind fascinating and think criminology would be a really interesting career.”

Principal Jonathan Lumb said: “This has been an incredibly difficult period for our pupils due to the unprecedented circumstances, but they should not be penalised because of the global pandemic.

“They have worked incredibly hard over the last five years in our school and deserve the grades that they have been awarded. The cohort now need to celebrate their success and enjoy their moment when they receive their well-deserved grades.

“The ethos of hard work, resilience and determination, that we are instilling in all of our young people, is paying off each year and we are very proud of every one of them. We are delighted with their results and each year we are continuing to show improvements in all areas of Haughton Academy.”

Other high achievers were:

Stella Gill with three grade 9s, six grade 8s , one grade 7; Emily Guy with three grade 9s, four grade 8s, three grade 7s; Erica Marasigan, two grade 9s, four grade 8s, four grade 7s; Megan Allen, two grade 9s, one grade 8, five grade 7s; Adam Garnett, four grade 9s, five grade 7s, one grade 6; Jack Stead, one grade 9, six grade 8s, three grade 7s; Reece Johnson, two grade 9s, five grade 7s, three grade 6s; Katie Gale, three grade 8s, six grade 7s, one grade 6; Lucy Costa, one grade 9, two grade 8s, seven grade 7s; Abbie Keneford, one grade 9, one grade 8, five grade 7s, one grade 6, two grade 5s; Dylan McCormick, one grade 9, two grade 8s, five grade 7s, two grade 6s; Sophie McMullan, eight grade 8s, one grade 7, one grade 6; James Morton, seven grade 8s, two grade 7s, one grade 6; Bethany Wanless, one grade 9, three grade 8s, four grade 7s, one grade 6, one grade 5.