Student scores top marks despite losing sight

Visually impaired Daniel Hayton has overcome deteriorating sight – as well as the disruption to his education caused by the pandemic – to achieve top marks in all his subjects.

Daniel and his older brother Peter, who was also a successful student at Cramlington Learning Village (CLV), were both born with microphthalmia and their sight is affected by glaucoma as well.  

Their mum Brenda said Daniel had even more problems in the run up to his exams: “He had more vision in Year 8, but had a retinal detachment in Year 9 so lost a more of his sight and that made it even more difficult for him.”

Earlier this month he had an operation to reduce pressure in that eye. “It’s too early to say how that’s gone and whether the vision will come back to what he had in that eye,” said Brenda.  “That’s why he’s wearing sunglasses today.” 

Daniel received nine Grade 9s as well as a distinction in his Drama BTEC.  He is taking  Physics, Maths, Further Maths and Computer Science A-levels at CLV and hopes to study Physics at university after that.

Both he and his mum thanked teachers and teaching assistants for their support. “The school has been excellent and given me extra help whenever I’ve needed it,” said Daniel.  

“You look back at your exams and think you could have done this and that better, but it’s obviously turned out fine. I was a bit nervous this morning, but my mam was more nervous than me.”

The school’s co-Headteachers Jon Bird and Kim Irving said: “We are so proud of Daniel and all of the students who have been through such a difficult time.  The pandemic has meant that they have all had to cope with adversity and they’ve done that with aplomb.”

The GCSE results at CLV have come very close to the school’s best performance in 2019 despite the impact on teaching of lockdown. The numbers of students staying on to study A-levels is set to reach a record number.

England footballer Ella Wilson has starred in the classroom as well as the pitch.   Her excellent set of results included three 9s.  Ella is heading off to Durham Sixth Form Centre – which has strong links with her new team Durham Women FC – to continue her studies. Before then the left back is joining up with the England camp.

“I’m going to try to do both and keep my options open.  You don’t know what’s going to happen in football.,” said Ella, who started playing football at the age of four, joined the Sunderland Academy at eight and has been with England since she was 12.  

She praised the staff at CLV for encouraging her and other female students to play football. “They’ve been really supportive to me and there are loads now playing, which is great,” she said.  

Her football heroes are North Easterners Lucy Bronze and Jill Scott, both part of the Lionesses squad which won the Euros this summer.  “We didn’t have much to look up to but now we definitely do,” said Ella.

Last week Cramlington Learning Village reported one of its “best-ever years” for A-Level results, with one in five students receiving at least three top grades.