A TOP performing college has won even more praise after its exam results secured its position as one of the best schools in the country.

Minister of State for Schools David Laws has written to Carmel College, in Darlington, for the second time in a matter of months congratulating staff and students on their performance.

In a letter to principal and chief executive officer of the Carmel Education Trust Maura Regan, he said: “Your school is clearly equipping its pupils for success in both further study and future employment.

“The results are a shining testament to the hard work and success of your staff, pupils and governors.”

Their GCSE results, which saw 90 per cent of students achieving five or more A* to C grades, including maths and English, has placed them eight in the country out of 4,000 schools.

The results have also made the college the best performing Catholic school in the region.

Vice Principal Janice Gorlach, who monitors performance data, said: “Our success is down to the college developing a culture of extremely high expectations among staff and students.

“Good GSCEs are not achieved in the final year alone, they are made in the five years they attend Carmel, an environment in which they realise they can set and reach their goals. They are cared for and nurtured the minute they walk through the door.”

Ms Regan added: “High expectations and excellent relationships underpin the very high quality of teaching throughout.

"The whole environment is geared to pupils thriving in an atmosphere where they can make progress and experience success in all aspects of college life and extra-curricular activities.”