An annual awards ceremony went off with military precision as one of the country’s top soldiers shared a Northumberland academy’s most successful year to date.
Military Cross holder and former Chief of the General Staff Lord Dannatt was guest of honour to present more than 100 prizes to students at Bede Academy in Blyth.
Among the awards were accolades for academia, sport, music and service to the community.
Highlights included a number of firsts including the first AS Level results last year; the first year from this September that the academy will teach students aged three to 18; the first time the number of students learning a musical instrument has exceeded 350; and the first time that GCSE results doubled the national average for A* and As and at primary level secured the best ever SATs scores.
General the Lord Dannatt, who was highly decorated in his early 20s after coming under terrorist fire in East Belfast shortly after completing his Sandhurst training, inspired students and staff and urged them to keep up their good work.
He said: “Aim high and when you set yourself an objective, just raise the bar to achieve a little bit more.
“Be the best and don’t settle for second place; be competitive, that is perfectly acceptable and try to be the best you can.
“Courage; have physical and moral courage. In your heart of hearts you know the right thing and the more you draw on your moral courage, the more you will have.”
The audience heard that Year 10 student Liam O’Neill was exhibiting the utmost courage and determination as he tried to overcome cancer. His stoicism earned him the Founders’ Award for Outstanding Student of the Year, which was presented in his absence to his friend Oliver Barron.
The Outstanding Academic Achievement Award went to student Georgina Wood who had achieved the highest average score in her exam results from Year 7 to Year 10.
Year 7 student Andrew Chapman won three awards for mathematics, science and engineering, and the House Cup was awarded to Cuthbert by just 1½ points over rival Oswald.
Chairman of governors Nigel Robson said: “It is important to use your talents to the best of your abilities. “Achieving the results you do is down to solid, inspirational work and it is well worth the effort.”