Students proved they could be counted on for a strong performance after vying for honours in a national maths challenge.

A four-strong team from Emmanuel College, Gateshead, represented the North East in the Northern semi-finals of the Maths Challenge after winning the regional heat from 22 schools.

However, they just missed out on a place in the national finals after a last round battle in the Northern semi-final, which was staged at the National Railway Museum in York and attracted 13 schools from as far away as Sheffield.

Team members Tilly Softly, James Cummins, Jonathan Brent and Olivia Moran, all 15, were equal first going into the final round but slipped to third missing out on the win by just eight marks.

“One of the rounds covered topics you would study at A level,” said Milly. “Sadly we only had an average last round which dropped us to a disappointing third.”

Maths teacher Dr Steve Parkhurst said: “The maths challenge is a real test of students’ knowledge of numbers and their ability to work under pressure.

“Our students did incredibly well to reach the Northern semi-final and came so close to securing a place in the national final. I’m sure the experience will have inspired them to continue with their maths.”

The Maths Challenge is organised by the Further Maths Support Programme.