A STUDENT who escaped the war in Ukraine and arrived in the North East knowing no English secured top grades yesterday and a place at university.

St John's School and Sixth Form College student Kyryl Lebedin was given the option to restart year 12 because of his situation but opted to go forward securing good grades in his mocks after just two months at the Bishop Auckland school.

In Year 13 he thrived and yesterday achieved A in maths, A in further maths and B in physics. He also obtained an international qualification in English and will now read a degree in computer science at Durham University.

“I have loved it so much at St John’s and the support I was given was out of this world,” said the 19-year-old, who moved from the Ukraine to Bishop Auckland in May 2022.

“The difference between teaching and the atmosphere at St John’s compared to the Ukraine has been amazing and I was over the moon with my results.”

Headteacher Lisa Byron said: “Kyryl has taken his A levels in a year and given all that he has experienced, his results are astounding. He is such a lovely, humble, grateful student and thoroughly deserves his place at a Russell Group university.”

Ellie Redmond, 18, now plans to become a paramedic after she suffered a panic attack which she believed to be a heart attack.

Paramedics were called to her home in Crook when she was taken ill. She was so impressed with the care she will now study paramedic science at Sunderland University.

“I will really miss the teachers,” said Ellie, who achieved a distinction in Btec business and Bs in sociology and art and design. “School has been the best, staff are always supportive, comforting and happy even while pushing you.”

Talented dancer Lauren Reeve, 18, of Bishop Auckland, achieved three A*s in law, psychology and RE and will read journalism, media and culture studies at Newcastle University.

She was runner up in the Strictly St John’s charity dance competition and participated in the Project Kenya expedition, the school’s charitable expedition to Africa. She said: “ I am going to miss the teachers, my friends and have some great memories.”

Tyler Elleanor, 18, of Bishop Auckland, will study sports journalism at Sunderland University after securing an A* in criminology and two Cs. “I wasn’t the most committed student lower down the school and was so grateful to be allowed to go to sixth form,” he said. “School helped me turn my life around and have been so supportive helping me achieve my goal to be a sports journalist.”

Best friends Matthew Mellody and Jessica Dailey, both achieved six A*s, two As and a B between them and have secured places at Durham University to study maths and statistics and business management respectively.

Matthew, of Newton Aycliffe, said: “All the stress has been worth it and it has been lovely doing this with my friend.”

Jessica, of Spennymoor, added: “I have learned a lot at St John’s and made a lot of friends along the way.”

Ms Byron added: “We are delighted with our students’ results and achievements; they have been resilient and committed to their studies, despite all of the challenges they have faced during their education.

“The cohort have been a fabulous group of young people who have supported one another through good times and bad and have been outstanding ambassadors for St John’s. Not only have they been dedicated to their studies, but they have also fully embraced all that the school has to offer, including student leadership roles, extra-curricular opportunities and charitable expeditions to Kenya.

“Their excellent results are a testimony to their commitment, hard work and determination to do well. We are so very proud of them and are delighted with their successes. Our staff have worked tirelessly to support our students during their time at St John’s and we are all excited to see how they grow from strength to strength in the next chapter of their lives whether that be in education, training or employment.”