The dedication and effort of Hetton School's year 11 leavers has been celebrated by its leaders as they continue to work on upping grades.
Of the 113 students who collected their GCSE results today, 71.1% gained a mark of 4 or higher in English, compared to 65% last year, while in maths there was a fall, from 52.2% from 60% last year.
The combined figure for English and maths for those who gained a 4 or above is 50.4%, which stood at 61.5% last year.
The school has said it is delighted with the increases it has seen, but is on a journey with its staff and students as it strives to build on the results with better figures.
Among those to collect results which will mean they can follow their plans with the next stage of their education was Holly Thorne, from Easington Lane, who picked up 8s in maths, biology, chemistry, 7s in both English language and literature and history, with a 5 in Spanish and an A in media.
She is now heading for Durham Sixth Form to take biology, chemistry, maths and criminology with a view to a career in forensics.
"It's what I wanted and I screamed and started jumping about when I saw them, I literally thought I was going to pass out, it was so amazing," she said.
"I'm shaking still.
"They're higher than I expected."
Ella Renwick, from Hetton, gained a 9 in maths, 8s in geography, art and design, biology, chemistry, physics and both English language and literature, and a 7 in Spanish.
She is also going to Durham Sixth Form to take media, fine art and biology with plans to work in the media and design business.
She said: "I'm over the moon, especially with so many 8s.
"I was expecting 7s, so to get five 8s was really good.
"It's been amazing to be here to open them, everyone's in such a good mood."
Headteacher Craig Knowles said: "One of the ideas that we believe in at Hetton School is that achievement is not competitive it is complementary – that we can all find inspiration in the success of others.
"Our Year 11 leavers have certainly inspired me.
"They have inspired through their dedication, 100% effort and their ability to challenge themselves and learn from their mistakes.
"They really bought into our 'Learn to Achieve' philosophy and we are very proud of them.
"It is perhaps no surprise therefore that there were some fantastic individual results from students.
"As a school we still have to make improvements overall, but outcomes such as the significant improvements in science - where grades rose by almost a grade on average from 2017 - and in English - where over 70% of students achieved a good pass grade - show that Hetton School is moving in the right direction.
I am incredibly proud of each and every one of our students.
"They absolutely deserve the individual success this has brought them and I wish them all the very best for their individual futures.
"I would also like to thank our fantastic staff.
"They have battled through many changes: in leadership; in specifications and change in accountability to help our students through to the results we have achieved as a school.
"We still have progress to make, but these results also show that current students who challenge themselves to 'Learn to Achieve' can confidently look forward to making progress at Hetton School."