GOVERNMENT inspectors said a previously failing Cowley primary school deserves “great credit” for turning itself around.

Ofsted confirmed that St Christopher’s C of E Primary School, in Temple Road, has been taken out of special measures, and praised the “very effective leadership” of headteacher Alison Holden.

Mrs Holden refused to leave the 390-pupil school when it was failed by inspectors in June 2009.

The Oxford Mail reported last month that Ofsted inspectors had found the school had improved and no longer needed specialist outside help from the local authority.

Now their detailed findings have been made public.

Inspector Chris Nye rated the school as ‘satisfactory’ with ‘good’ features.

Mr Nye said: “Under the very effective leadership of the headteacher and acting deputy headteacher, well-considered changes have been put in place to address the weaknesses identified in the last inspection report.

“As a result, there is a strong whole-school commitment to build upon the school’s strengths and pupils’ achievement is starting to improve rapidly. The school is now providing a satisfactory, and improving, standard of education for all its pupils.”

He added: “It is a great credit to all who work in, and support, St Christopher’s that during the past two years a successful and increasingly secure start has been made in reversing its previous history of under-achievement.”

He said that although attainment remained low, there had been “considerable” progress this year. Pupils with special needs, disabilities, and those from Pakistani families now make good progress in English and maths compared to low starting points, he added.

Year Six pupils are set to achieve far better in their Key Stage Two exams than previous year groups, according to the report.

Inspectors judged the school inadequate in 2009, after finding pupils’ achievement was inadequate and Pakistani children were underachieving.

Under ‘special measures’, the governing body was axed and replaced with an interim executive board, and local authority consultants were called in to help drive up standards.

Now a new set of governors will take over responsibility for overseeing the school.

Mrs Holden, who has led the school for six years, said: “I think the inspection report reads so well and notes all the improvements that have taken place here in the last two years.

“It is a true reflection of all the ‘satisfactory’ things that have been done, but also the ‘good’ elements, and our aim is to get ‘good’ across the board next time round.

“The big thing for us is that is that it says we can sustain what we are doing, so it is a springboard for the future.”