A DETERMINED pupil who missed more than six months of school because of open heart surgery celebrated an impressive set of GCSE results.

Haughton Academy pupil Chloe Ireland, 16, of Darlington, was treated for congenitally corrected transposition. 

The rare condition, in which the heart’s lower half is reversed, saw Chloe undergo a complex Fontan Operation at The Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, to help improve her oxygen levels by redirecting blood directly to her lungs.

At the same time she was also fitted with a pacemaker and had repairs made to a hole between her ventricles and a narrowed artery.

“Basically my pumps were round the wrong way,” said Chloe. “I was diagnosed just after I was born and was constantly monitored by cardiologists at The Freeman Hospital while I was growing up.

“As I got older I found it more and more difficult to get my breath so in 2017 the decision was made to for me to have open heart surgery to correct the defect.”

Despite missing more than six months of her GCSE mock examination year following her operation and rehabilitation, Chloe continued to study with help from Haughton Academy teachers and the Darlington Home School Support.

“My recovery was very gradual and I was really nervous about going back to school but the staff were really great and gave me loads of help,” she said.

“I worked really hard for my exams, even to the point of my teachers telling me to slow down a bit, but I was determined to do well and I couldn’t be happier with my results.”

The student achieved one grade 9, two grade 8s, three grade 7s, a distinction star, plus a host of other high GCSE grades, making her one of the school's top achievers.

Chloe is now hoping to study law, psychology and economics at A-level with a view to pursuing a career in law.