SENIOR staff at one of the region’s most successful educational trusts have won high praise after being invited to meet the Prime Minster.

A delegation from Carmel Education Trust travelled to a special reception at Number 10 Downing Street to mark their significant achievements in education.

The party included Maura Regan, chief executive officer at Carmel Education Trust and principal of Carmel College, Anthony McGeeney, teacher at St Augustine's Primary School, Melanie Kane, assistant head and curriculum leader for art at Carmel College, Jane Bower, science teacher at Carmel College and Michael Tiplady, deputy head at St Bede's Primary School.

They were greeted and addressed by Prime Minister David Cameron, Education Secretary Michael Gove, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Schools Lord John Nash, chief executive for the National College for Teaching and Leadership Charlie Taylor and Schools Commissioner Frank Green.

Miss Regan said: “They thanked us for our valuable contribution to the success of education policy, which is an incredible honour and high praise indeed for everyone who works tirelessly to ensure the continued success of Carmel Education Trust.

“We strive relentlessly in every lesson, every day, to ensure our students receive the very best education imaginable. We will not waver from this aim but to receive recognition from such esteemed company cannot fail to encourage and enthuse us in all our endeavours.”

The trust comprises Carmel College, St Michael’s Academy, Billingham, Holy Family RC Primary School and St Augustine’s RC Primary School, Darlington, St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School, and St Bede’s Primary School, Stockton. St Bede’s Primary, Darlington is a strategic partner within the Teaching School Alliance.

More than 90 per cent of Carmel students gain five A* - C grades at GCSE and the college is ranked eighth in the country.