A Birmingham school which was given a notice to improve four years ago is celebrating after being handed an “outstanding” rating by national education inspectors.
The Yardleys School in Tyseley, which is currently among the top four per cent of schools nationally for the progress made by its pupils, was praised by education watchdog Ofsted for its outstanding quality of education.
Yardleys’ glowing report comes four years after it was among eight Birmingham schools which Ofsted inspectors deemed to require “significant improvement”.
Inspectors judged eight out of 10 lessons as good, with a quarter judged as outstanding. The 900-pupil school, which is a specialist science college, was also described as having a “delightful working ethos”.
The report read: “This outstanding school exemplifies the very best in educational provision, showing that young people can achieve exceptionally well, irrespective of circumstances that for many would put them at risk of failure.
“Excellent leadership from the head teacher has developed outstanding teaching and learning, and created an exuberant learning ethos.
“Users cherish the relatively new building, which contains wonderful examples of how to celebrate and display students work in every nook and cranny. The quality of student work in the main atrium is impressive, reinforced by the lively, friendly and enthusiastic attitudes of the students who congregate there in their hundreds.”
Overall progress was deemed to be outstanding for all students at the school, where pupils come from mostly ethnic minority backgrounds and about half are of Pakistani heritage.
The report added: “Boys, including those from minority heritage backgrounds, attained much better than the national picture.”
Students with learning difficulties or disabilities at the school, where around half the pupils are on the schools register of special educational needs, also made “excellent” progress.
Head teacher Rose Hughes said she was delighted with the outcome of the inspection at the school, where the proportion of pupils for whom English is a second language is well above the national average and more than half are eligible for free school meals.
She said: “There has been a huge commitment from the staff and pupils – the staff really do care about the pupils and they make sure they are well supported. The happy family atmosphere allied with high expectations within the school has resulted in excellent academic results. Everyone within the school community is delighted with the hard work and success being recognised in a formal inspection.”
Mrs Hughes added that turning around the school’s fortunes around had taken a “lot of hard work.”
She said: “It was a school in very challenging circumstances when I started here six years ago.
“We had a lovely new building but academically we were not achieving.”
Student behaviour and commitment to learning was also singled out by inspectors as impressive.
The report said: “Students are cheerful, considerate, very hard working and thoroughly enjoy school. They throw themselves into learning in and outside of the classroom because teachers have captured their interest of study.”
The outstanding rating is in addition to numerous awards the school has received, including the International Schools Award.
Yardleys was the first school in Birmingham to win the Healthy Schools Award and in May became the first city secondary school to win the prestigiously Green Flag – an award given by environmental charity ENCAMS, which runs Eco Schools.