A BRADFORD academy has ambitions to be “outstanding” after Ofsted inspectors once again heaped praise on the school after a recent visit.

Bradford Academy in Bowling is an all-through school that has more than 2,000 pupils, including primary and secondary, nursery and sixth form. Following a recent visit, Ofsted inspectors have written to executive principal Tehmina Hashmi to let her know the school has maintained its “good” rating that it has held almost the entire time since it opened in 2007.

The good news comes just over a year after the “dominant force” behind the school, Gareth Dawkins, died after suffering two heart attacks while on a half-term break. Mr Dawkins had been at the helm of the academy since it opened in 2007.

Mrs Hashmi, who replaced him, said: “This is the first time inspectors have taken into account the primary school part of the academy, so we are really pleased that Ofsted still consider us to be good.

“We have a two-year-old offer and we have pupils as old as 19 here, so in that regards it is great to get a good rating. Now the Government measures progress from where pupils start to where they end up, we are pretty much in line with the national average.

“Nearly half of our students come from disadvantaged backgrounds, and many come here with below average levels of education, so for them to get to the national average is impressive. It is good for people to know that their local school is a good one, and a consistently good one.”

Talking about Mr Dawkins’ death, she said: “It has been the most difficult year in terms of where the academy has been. It is good to know we have continued on the path Mr Dawkins set the school on.

“We’re trying to keep up what we’ve been doing, and our ambition is to be outstanding. If our results continue to improve then that could happen by the next inspection.”

The letter to Mrs Hashmi by Ofsted says: “You and your team are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the school and use your analysis of a wide range of information to take action to improve the provision and outcomes for pupils. The effect of these strategies can be clearly seen in the marked improvements in, for example, pupils’ behaviour, attendance and attitudes to learning. Work to develop pupils’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural awareness is a strength of the school.

“The leadership of teaching and learning is strong. There is some very high-quality teaching in the school.”

The school replaced Bradford Cathedral Community College in 2007. It also has dedicated provision for pupils with physical disabilities and autism.