Despite facing extreme educational challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, our pupils at Laidlaw Schools Trust academies have demonstrated remarkable resilience and diligence, achieving excellent A-Level and GCSE results.

August 28, 2020

We are incredibly grateful to the exceptional teachers, central team, other staff members, and parents who persevered through all the challenges to ensure that everyone could continue learning, aspiring and achieving.


Staff, students and parents of Excelsior Academy Year 13 pupils are delighted with the A Level and level 3 vocational results. Early analysis shows that Excelsior pupils have made positive value-added progress in both academic and vocational courses, despite the changes to the way in which grades have been awarded.

Ana-Maria Miron worked hard throughout her time in the academy and is going to use her outstanding achievement to study Maths at Newcastle University.  Twins Raadiyah and Saarah Nahar will be continuing their studies together into university, both going on to study Health and Social Care at Northumbria.  Many young people now consider alternatives to university after sixth form; Dylan Morris is going to use his excellent hospitality results to take on an exciting apprenticeship as a chef at the Shark Club in the city, and Brandon Wait beat a highly competitive field to secure a joinery apprenticeship with Barratt Homes.     

Academy Principal, James Andriot, said: “I have felt a strong injustice for all Year 13 pupils since schools went into lockdown in March and exams were cancelled.  For many, these exams represented the end of a long school journey and the pupils wanted to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the proper assessments.  I am relieved that the national system for calculating grades has not stopped the Excelsior young people from progressing to their desired futures.  Everyone at the academy wishes them all the very best”. 


Year 11 pupils at Sedgefield Community College, Excelsior Academy, and Academy 360 have received extremely positive GCSE and level 2 vocational grades.

Excelsior Academy Principal, James Andriot, said:

“I am delighted that we are expecting to see a big boost in our sixth form numbers for next academic year.  We offer a broad range of more than 30 different academic and vocational courses and these pupils will be fully supported back into full-time education. We look forward to seeing them when they return to us for the next stage of their educational journey”.

Principal Rachel Donohue of Academy 360 paid tribute to the resilience and determination of students and teachers as the school recorded its fifth consecutive year of GCSE improvement.

The GCSE results saw many stand out performances from students, such as Demi Hair who secured eight grade 9s, including English, Maths and Science.

Jennifer Holman received a grade 9 in English Language, four grade 8s including maths and English Literature and four grade 7s.

Ms Donohue said:

“The pandemic has represented a huge challenge to schools across the country and staff have worked tirelessly to ensure that young people continue to have access to a wide range of services to support their academic and personal development.

Students have responded positively to opportunities in place to deliver learning remotely, including online lessons, remote cookery classes, mentoring and even paired reading sessions. I am hugely proud of colleagues who have gone above and beyond to ensure that students have been well-supported at this extraordinary time.

Mr Geoff Robinson, Headteacher at Sedgefield Community College, said:

“As is the tradition for students at Sedgefield Community College, our year 11 had been working extremely hard in preparation for these final examinations and, based upon their proven ability throughout each year of study, every Tier of Entry (TOE) assessment they took and the school’s track record of exceptional GCSE achievement, were always on target to achieve exceptional KS4 results. I am pleased to report that irrespective of the upheaval our students faced we are delighted that their hard work and perseverance has been officially recognised with the grades they really deserve.

We are deeply impressed by the mature and measured way our students have dealt with this unprecedented situation. More than outstanding results, it is their initiative, tenacity and commitment that will see them go on to thrive, whatever the future holds. They leave our community as outward-looking and independent-minded young men and women ready to make their mark in the wider world.”