DAVID Cameron has heaped praise on Burlington Danes Academy and said they are setting an example for schools across the country in an major education speech today.
The Prime Minister was officially opening the new Norwich Free School, in Norfolk, to give a keynote speech on the Coalition government's education vision.
In it he used the Shepherd's Bush ARK Academy, which was placed in special measures seven years ago and has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround, to highlight how schools need to push themselves to succeed.
The Wood Lane school, which recently opened a sixth-form provision, has seen the percentage of pupils gaining at least five GCSEs in grade A* to C double in the past four years from 35 per cent in 2007 to 75 per cent last month.
Mr Cameron said: “It is not just failing schools we need to tackle. It's coasting schools too – the ones whose results have either flat-lined, or where they haven't improved as much as they could have.
“Just take this one fact. Take two schools – Burlington Danes Academy and Walworth Academy. They are both in relatively deprived parts of inner-London with high proportions of pupils on free school meals.
“But you know what? Last year, 70 per cent of Walworth pupils and 75 per cent of Burlington Danes pupils got five or more good GCSEs including English and maths.
“Compare that with Surrey and Oxfordshire – the counties that Michael and I represent. Only 16 state secondary schools in these two relatively affluent counties did better than these two inner-state schools.
“Put that another way, more than four our of five state schools in Surrey and Oxfordshire are doing worse than two state schools in relatively deprived parts of inner-London. That must be a wake-up call.”
Sally Coates, Burlington Danes headteacher, was thrilled with the recognition and said she was unaware the Prime Minister would focus on her school as an example of good practice.
She told the Chronicle: "We had no idea but myself, my staff and students are very proud about being recognised in this way. I agree with Mr Cameron's sentiments about coasting schools and many can do more. If we can turn it around then anyone can.
"It is a fitting tribute to our success and continued improvement."
Read my recent feature on Burlington Danes' progress here .