SCHOOLS in the region have dominated a list of the country’s most improved secondaries, with one topping the table and two more being named in the top ten.

However, nationally, thousands of teenagers are being let down by their secondary schools, with the poorest and brightest being failed the most, according to figures released yesterday by the Department for Education.

In County Durham, the number of pupils at Fyndoune Community College, in Sacriston, achieving at least five GCSEs grades A* to C, including maths and English, went from 26 per cent in 2008 to 80 per cent last year.

The improvement was the best in the country.

The Wensleydale School, in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, was fifth on the list, with 77 per cent of pupils hitting the benchmark last year, compared to only 36 per cent in 2008.

Farringdon Community Sports College, in Sunderland, came three places below the North Yorkshire school, with the percentage of pupils achieving the target increasing from 32 to 70.

Anne Lakey, chief executive of the Durham Foundation, a partnership between Fyndoune Community College and Durham Community Business College, said the school was absolutely delighted with the recognition.

Mrs Lakey said: “We only found out on Wednesday – we’re thrilled to bits.”

She said the achievement was down to the excellent partnership with students, who are treated as individuals, and the indivualised curriculum they study.

Wensleydale School headteacher Phil Benaiges said: “We are very proud that the hard work of the students, staff and governors has been recognised in this way.”

The region’s schools also featured on a list of the best state secondaries for helping children make progress.

Parkside Sports College, Crook; Durham Gilesgate Sports College and Sixth Form Centre and Staindrop School, near Darlington, all made the top 100.

Another school receiving recognition was Carmel RC College, in Darlington, which made a list of the best state schools in the country, based on GCSE results.

Nationally, the figures showed that only a third of teenagers from disadvantaged homes gained at least five Cs in their GCSEs last summer, including English and maths, compared to 58.2 per cent of all pupils attending state schools.

The tables also raise concerns that pupils who are struggling when they start secondary school are being left behind.

Only 6.5 per cent of teenagers who were considered to have low prior attainment managed to score at least five Cs at GCSE, including English and maths.