Among those opening their letters at the Boldon Colliery School was Megan Gaudie, 16, of Whitburn, who passed nine exams while struggling with autism and dyspraxia.
She said: "School has sometimes become a struggle for me because I can struggle with crowds and the dyspraxia means teachers cannot always understand my handwriting.
"But I am grateful for the support they have given me and am delighted with my results."
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Megan, whose grades included a 7 in photography, now plans to continue her studies at Sunderland College.
Other pupils to receive their results included twins Kieron and Reece Garthwaite, 16, of South Shields.
Kieron, the younger of the pair by two minutes, who plans to return to the school to study A Levels after passing seven GCSEs, said: "I am over the moon and, like the teachers said, it makes all the hard work worthwhile."
James Hartridge, 16, of Boldon Colliery, who earned a 9 in history among his 10 passes and is going to study A Levels at Gateshead College, said: "I am extremely happy because I was fearing for the worst."
Proud headteacher said Ian Noble thanked students, staff and parents for their "outstanding contribution" and added: "The students have worked incredibly hard this year and we have reaped the benefits of their work.
"The school has made significant progress for the third year running.
"Mathematics and English have performed magnificently along with other subjects helping our students achieve their dreams and ambitions for the future."