HURLINGHAM and Chelsea School is toasting an 'outstanding' Ofsted inspection four years after the council was defeated in its bid to shut it down.
The Peterborough Road school was placed in special measures in 2004 after plummeting grades but was praised 18 months later for its improvements.
But that failed to impress the new Tory-led Hammersmith and Fulham Council who, after election in 2007, planned to close it down.
A large-scale community campaign forced the council to change its mind and it lauded praise on the Fulham comprehensive this week after its glowing report.
Councillor Helen Binmore, cabinet member for education, said: “It is an inspirational turnaround for a school that was in special measures seven years ago, and helps meet the council's goal of ensuring all young students in the borough have access to the highest quality of secondary education.”
But Dennis Charman, chairman of the H&F branch of the National Union of Teachers, said the council can take little credit for the turnaround.
He told the Chronicle: “By 2007, most dispassionate people could see the school was turning the corner.
“The talk of closure was a distraction and could've held back the progress of the school. In the end it was balanced by a coming together of the community and the subsequent victory energised people.
“This is a fantastic result for Hurlingham and Chelsea and is despite what the council did and not because of what it did.”
Inspectors visited the school, which sees 50 per cent of pupils speaking English as a second language, in July this year.
The report said: “The school provides its students with an outstanding quality of education. Students entering the school embark on a journey which secures outstanding achievement for them, because of the remarkable progress they make along the way.
“Under the headteacher's outstanding leadership, the school operates as a strongly cohesive commnity, underpinned by a firm commitment to equality of opportunity.”
GCSE results have risen for the past seven years with 96 per cent of students getting five or more A* to C grades in August.
Headteacher Phil Cross was thrilled with the inspection but said he remains determined to see it continue to improve.
He said: “Naturally we are delighted that independent inspectors have recognised the work we are doing at Hurlingham and Chelsea.
“Our success is the direct result of staff, students and parents working hard together to generate the current high standards.
“However, our remarkable journey is not complete. There is still much hard work to done if we are to achieve our aim of being the best school in London.”