A SCHOOL that was once one of the worst in the country is now one of the best after top exam results and a glowing inspection report.

The Oxford Academy in Littlemore has been ranked 14th out of 6,382 secondary schools in England based on exam results and has been handed a good rating by Ofsted – the second-highest possible.

In January 2013 it was the 25th worst school in the country and was placed in special measures after an inadequate rating from the school standards watchdog.

Headteacher Niall McWilliams, who took the helm in March 2014, praised staff, parents and pupils for the amazing turnaround.

He said: "For a school like us to come 14th out of 6,382 is just a fantastic achievement.

"It shows you how far we have come in such a short period of time.

"It is a result of the hard work of staff and parents and students.

“I am not surprised by our Ofsted because before I even got here there were some really good staff in place that were doing some really good things.”

After an inspection at the end of September Ofsted said the school was good overall and outstanding in the ‘effectiveness of leadership and management’ category.

It praised Mr McWilliams’ vision and leadership and said the school prepared pupils well for life after education.

Mr McWilliams said: “Hard work is how we have done it.

“It is a really simple school improvement formula that focuses on high standards and a curriculum that has a heavy emphasis on English and maths.

“It is also about appointing really good staff and keeping them.

“I am really proud and pleased of what we have achieved.

“There is no question that we will go on to get an outstanding rating from Ofsted.

“A good school is one that never rests on its laurels.

“We know that this is just a basis for success and we know that the school still has the capacity to improve.”

The academy was ranked 14th based on its Progress 8 score – the new Government performance measure which assesses pupils’ progress in up to eight subjects based on the level at which they left primary school.

Year 12 pupil Isis Parrott said there had been a huge transformation in the school since she started.

In the summer she gained 11 GCSEs at grades A* to C and is now studying English literature, maths and art and design at A-Level.

The 17-year-old from Rose Hill said: “It is amazing how the school has changed.

“A lot of my teachers stay until 6pm or 7pm and stay to help us during their own holidays.

“Even the sixth form has got a lot better, it is so supportive. It is amazing.

“When I started my GCSEs I thought I would not stay but going through to year 11 completely changed my views.”

The 1,600-pupil academy in Sandy Lane West was formerly known as Peers School and largely caters for youngsters from Littlemore, Rose Hill and the Leys.

Oxford city councillor for Littlemore John Tanner said: “I am head over heels with delight, the teachers and the other staff at the school have worked fantastically hard.

“It is a fantastic impact on the wider community in Blackbird Leys and Littlemore to know that the local secondary school is worth going to and will get the best out of young people.

“I am sure the school will go from strength to strength.”