A primary school that was told to become an academy to tackle years of under-achievement has just been rated as “outstanding” by Government inspectors.

Ryecroft Primary Academy in Holme Wood was the first primary school in the district to convert to academy status in 2012 after an approach by the Government.

The Department for Education felt it would benefit from the change after years of poor performance, although the school was starting to improve by 2012.

In 2006, the school, in Kesteven Close, was deemed “inadequate” by inspectors, and two years later headteacher Jayne Clarke was appointed. She said she was “determined” to turn the school around as soon as possible.

In 2010, Ryecroft was recognised as “good” by inspectors, and last year the Government used it as an example of how converting to academies could improve schools.

With the latest inspection, which took place last month, the school completed its turnaround.

The Ofsted report, which has now been published, said Ryecroft was in one of the poorest areas of Bradford and that pupils started school with “exceptionally low” skills and knowledge.

It said: “The leadership and management of Ryecroft are outstanding. This is a happy and vibrant school. Pupils achieve extremely well.”

Mrs Clarke said: “We are still stunned. It was my vision to get an outstanding judgment right from the beginning, but I hardly dared believe it would happen. The Ofsted inspectors really understood what we do for our children and that we aspire to the very best outcomes for them.

“Throughout my time at the school we have had one common purpose, which is to improve the lives of children.

“My team is absolutely amazing and we could never have achieved this without us all pulling together. And let’s not forget the support we have had from the local community and parents. Now they can hold their heads up high and be proud.”