Pupils and staff at Melton’s Long Field Academy have been praised for helping to significantly raise the average academic achievement standard there.
The school has made rapid strides in its Progress 8 rating - a measure brought in recently by the government to record the progress of pupils from the end of primary school to the end of secondary years.
Long Field’s score was a minus figure last year, which is below the average expected academic progress, but this year it has shot up and indicates pupils are achieving academically what they are projected to.
Principal Chris Haggett, who is starting his third year in the role, said: “The children here have made huge progress in the last year.
“I would put some of it down to having a more stable teaching team, and a dedicated teaching team.
“There has not been the big staff turnover we have had in the past.
“For example, when I first started there were children here who had been taught by eight different maths teachers in one year.”
Mr Haggett hopes the improved performance of pupils will result in an improved Ofsted rating, with an inspector due to visit in February.
The school’s last report concluded that it ‘requires improvement’, with one of the comments relating to some pupils not achieving as well as they should.
The recent GCSE results proved that progress is being made at Long Field, though, with history being one of the strengths.
Results showed 82 per cent passed the subject this year, with a quarter attaining A or A*. The pass rate for additional science leapt from 29 per cent to 67 per cent this year.
There have also been big improvements in core subjects such as English, maths, science and languages, through the English Baccalaureate (EBACC).
Mr Haggett said: “The national average for passing EBACC is 25 per cent but ours is 38 per cent and that has gone up from 23 per cent last year.
“Our students are very keen to do well and they are always keen to learn about new revision techniques.”
The school currently has 567 pupils which is a significant increase on recent years and the principal expects numbers to continue to rise.
“Our Year 7 intake this year is the biggest since I’ve been here, our open evenings are proving really popular, and we expect to hit our application limit this year,” he said.
Mr Haggett said he had focused on improving discipline and attendance levels in the two years he has been in charge, but he is also keen to make school an enjoyable experience.
There are lots of quirky, fun areas, such as the dining room with autographed photos of celebrities on the wall, from pupils writing to them asking for inspiration.
One corridor is lined with posters from favourite movies, the music department has vinyl discs from a range of artists fixed to the walls and the library is colourfully adorned with comic book covers hanging everywhere.
Outside in a field there is a group of four alpacas which pupils help to feed and nurture as part of the animal care course for those in Years 10 and 11.
Mr Haggett added: “I am really proud of the children and the staff here. I just think this school is a bit of a hidden gem in Melton.”
Parents have written supportive messages to the school following the recent improvements, including Sarah Town-Smith, who wrote: “We are delighted with the progress our son has made at Long Field.
“He is encouraged to fulfil his potential by inspirational teaching and dedicated staff.”
Anne Thomas wrote: “Chris Haggett has brought amazing changes to Long Field.
“The school has good discipline, the pupils work hard as well as have fun, and they enjoy being at school.”
Another parent, Lisa Duffin, commented: “Long field has become a very bright, respectful place with lots of exciting features around every part of the school.”
Alastair and Alison Sandilands sent a message describing Mr Haggett as ‘truly inspirational’, and added: “Not only is the academic side excellent but there are great opportunities available, from trips to clubs and leadership responsibilities.
“We are very lucky to have Long Field in our community.”
And Nicole Ward commented: “With absolute commitment and vision from Mr Haggett and his staff the school feels positive, forward thinking and a little bit quirky.
“I’m thrilled that my son left with fabulous GCSE results and I am sure that my other son, currently in Year 8, will also enjoy the ever growing opportunities Long Field can provide.”