An academy once labelled one of London's worst comprehensives has been judged outstanding in all four categories by Ofsted.
Burlington Danes Academy, in Shepherd’s Bush, was this week celebrating its exceptional journey to success since being placed in special measures in 2004.
Ofsted inspector Linda Austin visited the school last month and reported: “The mission to provide the very best education for every pupil within a caring and safe environment has become a reality in this outstanding academy.”
Principal Dame Sally Coates and senior vice principal Michael Ribton joined five years ago after the struggling state school joined academy group ARK Schools - and has since seen a remarkable transformation.
In a major education speech in 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron praised the academy for setting an example for other failing schools across the country. The school has seen soaring GCSE and A-level results, and Dame Sally was knighted in the New Year’s Honours List in January for her great leadership.
She said: “It is a stunning achievement for the school and the ARK School’s network. I am so proud of my staff.”
Ken Bromfield, governor and former pupil, said ARK Schools was central in turning it around.
“Burlington Danes is now established as an outstanding school, serving the community in which I was born and raised,” he said. “So my gratitude to all staff regarding their role in what has been achieved is heartfelt.
“There is no question in my mind that the decision to bring Burlington Danes under ARK’s wing was the vital step on the hard road to success via Sally and her fantastic team.”
In the report, published this week, inspectors commented: “Given their starting points, students make outstanding progress resulting in above average attainment, especially in English and mathematics.”
The report noted that the number of students eligible for free schools meals and who speak English as a second language are both well above average, children come from a range of ethnic backgrounds and the school has an on-site unit to support students with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.
Under new rules set out by Michael Gove, tougher inspections mean that just around five per cent of schools will now be awarded the highest outstanding grade.
Burlington Danes’ journey continues when it opens a new primary school on its Wood Lane site in September next year.