Despite illness, Elizabeth Docherty overcame adversity to achieve top grades.

The 16-year-old was thrilled with three A* and eight A grades, along with one B after health issues saw her attendance drop to just 54 per cent in the last year - her worst ever.

Elizabeth, of Maldon, suffers migraines and gastroparises, a chronic condition in which the stomach cannot empty itself of food in the normal way causing the sufferer to feel nauseous.

The youngster said: “Migraines and gastroparises has meant that I have been off school sometimes for a week or even five weeks at a time, so I can miss whole chunks of lessons.”

But determined Elizabeth added: “I had revision books at home and I used my few notes from school.

“Most times you can find a tutorial off the internet.

“I had done a couple of GCSEs the year before, so that took the pressure off a bit.”

*See the MBS for a special report on Plume and Ormiston GCSE results.