TWO schools are celebrating winning seven national awards for teaching excellence and results and being named the joint best in the region.

Ripon Grammar School and Hummersknott Academy, in Darlington, were ranked the joint 17th best schools out of of 4,500 state and independent secondary schools surveyed for the Good Schools Guide’s annual awards.

Only Eton, Westminster and Charterhouse in the independent sector did better, with only 14 state schools in the country, some of them top performing single sex schools, beating Ripon Grammar and Hummersknott’s awards totals.

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Judges praised non-selective Hummersknott for the quality of its courses, giving the Edinburgh Drive school for 11 to 16-year-olds six awards for its NVQ German lessons and the other for its BTEC public service classes.

Ripon Grammar, entry to which is deteremined by an entrance exam, won awards for its GCSE and A level in subjects including chemistry, physics, French, astronomy, art and design.

A spokeswoman for the Good Schools Guide, one of Britain’s most respected independent guides, which publishes detailed reviews of 1,200 schools every year, said both schools had performed exceptionally well in differing fields.

She said: “Hummersknott is providing excellent vocational courses where Ripon Grammar School has some outstanding academic teaching and results.

“Ripon Grammar has made a stunning leap from last year, it’s a tremendous achievement to leap into the top schools nationally in our awards table.

"It clearly excels in science and the awards suggest a particularly strong chemistry department.”