Two secondary schools in the West Midlands have been held up by government inspectors as shining examples of what can be achieved against the odds.

A report by education watchdogs Ofsted, published today, showcases 12 schools described as being in challenging circumstances which have excelled where others tend to struggle.

The study highlights 12 schools from across the country that have been rated as “outstanding” in at least two Ofsted inspections, and examines the elements that have created this success.

The schools, which include Bartley Green Technology College in Birmingham and Wood Green High in Wednesbury, are said to defy the association of disadvantage with low standards.

Authors of the report say they have excelled despite serving communities where pupils come from poorer urban backgrounds and an above average proportion receive free school meals.

Bartley Green head teacher Christine Owen OBE said: “We are very proud of our school and attribute our exceptional Ofsted results to the hard work and effort put in by our students and staff.

“Every day is a challenge, but thanks to our superb network of teachers and support staff, from curriculum leaders to admin staff, caretakers and cleaners, we have created an environment that increases confidence and shows students that working hard achieves results.

“We place great emphasis on off-site trips, creativity and activities to enrich and broaden the students’ horizons, organising over 135 free or subsidised trips a year.”

Wood Green High head teacher Pank Patel said that success was due to a “culture and ethos of rigour, hard work, high achievement, high discipline, teamwork, praise and encouragement”.

He added: “Pupils and parents realise that good behaviour and maximum effort leads to good results and that success breeds success. Pupils have a great sense of pride in belonging to Wood Green.

“We are extremely proud that the school is recognised as a centre of exemplary practice and are pleased that staff and students’ efforts in championing a whole host of initiatives and activities have been rewarded.”

Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty’s chief inspector, said: “Every child deserves an excellent education and these schools have shown a passion for providing this.”