College goes to top of class

A Bradford secondary school has been ranked "outstanding" by Government inspectors little more than two years after being identified as failing its pupils.

In December 2004, Carlton Bolling College in Undercliffe remained in Ofsted's special measures category after inspectors noted serious weaknesses.

This week, the inner-city school learned that it had been given the Government body's top ranking - the first secondary in Bradford to achieve the accolade.

Executive head teacher Nigel Jepson said the remarkable turnaround had been due to the "effort and achievement" of staff and pupils.

"We strive to enable all our students to achieve their full potential," he said.

"Now we have one in two students achieving at least five GCSEs at grade A* to C - up from one in five two years ago."

In her report, lead Ofsted inspector Deborah Vaughan-Jenkins said the school's mission of Achievement for All' had been a "key factor in driving its exceptional progress".

She added: "A culture of high aspirations has been established which is subscribed to by staff and students alike. This is accompanied by a relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to overcoming any areas of relative weakness."

Inspectors were especially impressed by the school's achievement after noting its tough, inner-city location which contributed to "significant socio-economic deprivation" and a high proportion of students who were eligible for free school meals.

They added the "vast majority" of pupils made "exceptional progress through Years 7 to 11 and good progress in the sixth form compared to their exceptionally low starting points".

The care, guidance and support given to students and the quality of leadership and management were also highlighted in the inspectors' report, with both also ranked "outstanding".

Mr Jepson, appointed executive head at the school in October 2005, had provided "inspirational leadership" alongside "first class support from senior leaders", they said.

The report also noted an "outstanding capacity to improve provision further". John Gaskin, Education Bradford's managing director, said: "We are very proud that Carlton Bolling has become the first secondary school in the Bradford district to receive an outstanding' Ofsted report.

"To go from special measures to outstanding' in two years is a great achievement.

"It shows what clear leadership, sheer determination and hard work can do within a school.

"This now means there are ten schools in the Bradford district described as outstanding' by Ofsted."

Councillor Colin Gill (Con, Bingley), Bradford Council's executive member for services to children and young people, said: "I'm absolutely delighted to hear about Carlton Bolling College's success - it's fantastic news.

"The school has made great progress and everyone involved - staff, governors, pupils and parents - deserve to be congratulated for this wonderful report."

Acting head teacher Jackie Nellis said she believed the key to the school's turnaround had been effective pupil tracking and targeted support.

Mr Jepson is also executive head teacher at Rhodesway School in Allerton - which recently came out of special measures under his leadership.

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