Dedicated Ponteland teenagers achieved an amazing result after taking on an extra foreign language.
Most of the people who do the Chinese (Mandarin) GCSE are native speakers, including the four from Ponteland High School who gained A*s last year.
This year, non-native speakers George Hunter and Ben Eggleston also managed to get the top grade.
They have been studying Mandarin, which involves writing, reading and speaking, in after school classes since Year 9.
George said: “It takes a little while to get used to Mandarin and writing the characters takes a lot of practise, but I’m glad that I stuck at it because I think I have a natural eye for the language.
“It’s an interesting one to study. Mandarin is very logical, it has a lot of history to it and the characters have an inner meaning.
“It’s a useful extra qualification and hopefully I will be able to study the subject at A-Level. I will be going to China next year and on the next school trip to the country in 2013.
“China is increasing its economic power and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are regular Mandarin lessons in lots of schools in 10 to 15 years’ time.”
The 16-year-old received six A*s, four As and one B in total.
He added: “I’m very pleased with my overall results and it was a shock to get an A* in geography.
“I only got a D in history for my mock exams. I told myself to work harder in that subject and thankfully I managed to turn it around.”