Students from Peterlee were rubbing shoulders with royalty when they visited Buckingham Palace.
A group of youngsters from the Apollo Studio Academy headed for London to take part in a special convention on studio schools.
Staff and students from Apollo were invited to attend, along with representatives from 40 other studio schools nationally.
Students from the Apollo Studio Academy had to apply for one of the four spaces available, with two Year 11 students, Megan Parkin and Ellie West, and two Year 13 students, Shannon Wales and Thomas Gorham, selected to travel to the special event alongside Apollo vice-principal Karyn Vose.
The visit saw guests view many areas of Buckingham Palace including the ballroom, featuring the thrones, where the main conference was held.
Guests also met the Studio Schools Trust patron, HRH The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who gave the students a motivational speech.
Karyn hailed the day as a great experience and was proud to see the students take part in this special event.
She said: “It really was a special day for all of us to take part in.
“To be invited to the palace, to an event like this, is a once in the lifetime opportunity with the students getting the opportunity to see what some people never get to see, the inside of one of the world’s most famous buildings.
“The students were very proud to be involved and were great representatives for the Apollo Studio Academy. It’s something they will always cherish.”
The Apollo Studio Academy opened in September 2014, sponsored by the Academy at Shotton Hall and East Durham College.
It caters for up to 300 students aged between 14 and 19, offering a completely different educational path to conventional secondary schools and sixth forms by blending academic qualifications and the world of work into one learning experience.
As well as gaining qualifications, the students also gain a wealth of workplace knowledge and skills.
The Apollo Studio Academy has been created to offer a new approach to learning for the many young people who will achieve much better through a hands on approach to education and learning.
Students will spend time both in school, working on qualifications and work-based projects, and out with local businesses actually doing the job for real.