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Outstanding Progress - Secondary School

Presented to the UK Secondary School that has made outstanding progress in the management of its facilities, finances and human resources and can demonstrate an increase in the educational performance of the school.

2024 Winner: Wright Robinson College

Despite a challenging socio-economic background in a deprived area of Manchester, Wright Robinson College was one of the first in the country to be graded Outstanding in 2021 under Ofsted’s new framework. Eight years building the ‘Team Wright Robinson’ culture has generated improvements in behaviour and attendance, whilst cultivating a true sense of belonging. Allowing staff to focus on developing their own pedagogy has led to excellent outcomes for students. It sits as one of the top performing state-funded secondary schools in the country.


Watling Academy, Buckinghamshire
Bentley Wood High School, Middlesex
Denbigh High School, Bedfordshire
St. George Catholic College, Southampton
Rickmansworth School, Hertfordshire

2023 Winner: St Damian’s RC Science College

Celebrating its 60th Anniversary this year, St Damian’s incredible improvement journey started in 2010 whilst in special measures. Since being rated as ‘outstanding’ in 2017, the school has continued to deliver an exceptional education for all students, who consistently perform above the National average - the direct result of quality teaching and a rich, ambitious curriculum.

St. Andrew’s Catholic School, Surrey
Kendrick School, Reading
Redden Court School, Essex
Manchester Academy

2022 Winner
St Bartholomew's School

Harris City Academy, Crystal Palace
Haughton Academy, Darlington
Campion School & Language College, Northampton
Dyke House Sports & Technology College, Hartlepool

2021 Winner
City of Norwich School

Established in 1920, City of Norwich School, part of the Ormiston Academies Trust since 2014, puts its students at the heart of everything it does. Two awards from SSAT’s Framework for Exceptional Education - for Curriculum Design and Professional Learning - indicate that the school is amongst the most exceptional in the country, with particularl attention paid to the professional development of staff CNS works in partnership with the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is home to the Norfolk Centre for Young Musicians (NCYM).

Twickenham School, Middlesex
Heartlands Academy, Birmingham
Carleton High School, West Yorkshire
Kingsley Academy, London

2020 Winner
Kearsley Academy, Bolton

Part of the Northern Education Trust, Kearsley Academy’s GCSE results for 2019 stood at 65.3 per cent, a rise of 23.3 per cent since 2017. Despite being located in a disadvantaged area where the percentage of students drawing pupil premium is around double that of the national average, over the past two years the number of students who pass English and Maths has risen by well over 20%, with 52% of students achieving a strong pass - far higher than national average figures. This has placed the Academy in the top 20 most improved schools.


Heathfield Community School, Somerset
Wykham Park Academy, Oxfordshire
Meden School, Nottinghamshire
Darton Academy, South Yorkshire

2019 Winner

Pleckgate High School, Blackburn

Pleckgate High School, Blackburn

A rapid rise for Pleckgate which in 2013, was judged ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted. After converting to Academy status and winning an Educational Outcomes Award in 2017, the school has been hailed as a ‘Beacon of Success’ by the DoE. Maths GCSE results put Pleckgate’s high achievers in the top one per cent in the country under the new Progress 8 measures. The school was rated Outstanding in its latest inspection report published in January this year.


Wembley High Technology College, Middlesex
2018 saw the introduction of the more rigorous and challenging GCSE (9 –1) qualifications in most subjects. With all these changes, pupils at Wembley High continued to perform exceptionally well. 90 per cent of pupils achieved grades 9-4 in English and maths. With a Progress 8 Score of +1.90, the value added score of pupils at Wembley High from primary school to GCSE is the joint highest in the country.

Wrenn School, Wellingborough
A swift transformation at the Wrenn School has seen it become a top 20 per cent performing school in the UK and in 18 months has improved its Ofsted rating from Inadequate to Good. 2018 saw a further six per cent rise in students gaining a pass in both English and Maths. With the latest set of results, Wrenn’s Sixth Form occupies top spot of the district league tables. An EPQ qualification offered to pupils is designed to teach independent research and project management skills.

Phoenix Academy, London
Despite an increased level of challenge to the GCSE exams this year, continued improvements at the Phoenix Academy were evidenced by Year 11 students achieving outstanding results in their GCSE and BTEC courses. Results in computing were, on average, 30 per cent above national figures; 18 per cent of all grades awarded 7-9, over double the previous year. Its first Ofsted inspection ranked the school Good, and reported that Staff morale is high.

Spalding Academy, Lincolnshire
Part of the South Lincolnshire Academies Trust, Spalding Academy made a remarkable achievement of a 20 per cent jump in its average A* to C GCSE grades last summer. Three years after being placed in special measures, the former Sir John Gleed School the school has made a remarkable transition over a very short space of time. It is ranked amongst the top 15 schools overall, for progress from primary to secondary education.

2018 Winner

Acklam Grange School

With a history of strong community values and equality, in September 2017 Acklam Grange was designated a National Teaching School and has to date supported over 40 schools. Technology aids learning and is one of many contributory factors to its students’ academic success. Welfare provision improved markedly from 2015-17 with the alignment of all student welfare services.



Derby Moor Academy and Sixth Form, Derby
Davenant Foundation School, Essex
Harris Academy Battersea, London
Kensington Aldridge Academy, London
Boldon School, South Tyneside

2017 Winner

Havant Academy

Havant Academy is thought to be the most improved state secondary school in England over the last five years. Advances since joining the government’s academies programme are a blueprint for how schools can be transformed by great leadership and hard work from staff and pupils.



Acklam Grange School
Ormiston Chadwick Academy
St Peter's School
Tauheedul Islam Boys' High School
Matravers School
Thomas Lord Audley School, Essex

2016 Winner

St Matthias School, Deansfield

St Matthias School was placed into special measures two years ago following a poor Ofsted inspection. However, under head teacher Dean Coombes, the school has been praised for its rapid progress, gaining a ‘Good’ Ofsted grading and improved outcomes for its 475 pupils. St Matthias is now in the top 10 nationally for the proportion of lower ability pupils who gain five or more GCSEs at grades C and above.



Ashcroft High School, Bedfordshire
Matravers, Wiltshire
Prendergast School, London
Attleborough Academy, Norfolk

2015 Winner

Charter Academy

Charter Academy was ranked as the best school in the city and the most-improved school in the whole country for GCSE results. Its work in providing a high quality education for students from low income backgrounds was recognised at the DfE’s Pupil Premium Awards.


Matravers School, Wiltshire
Parkwood Academy, Sheffield
Prendergast School, London
Sandy Upper School, Bedfordshire