STUDENTS and staff at Swindon Academy are celebrating after receiving national recognition for achieving some of the fastest improving GCSE results in the country.

Every school in the country has been ranked according to how much progress they made in improving their GCSE results in 2011 in new rankings released by the SSAT – the representative body for schools.

The school, which was formerly Headlands, qualified in the top 10 per cent of schools in England for improving its GCSE results year-on-year from 2008 to 2011 by 28 percentage points overall.

Last year, 37 per cent of students achieved five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths compared to nine per cent in 2008.

Ruth Robinson, principal of Swindon Academy, said: “Everyone at the academy is delighted with the award which reflects how far the academy has come in four years. Staff have worked tirelessly to raise educational standards and this recognition is a fitting reward.

“What this award shows is that the academy has made positive and sustained progress every year and has put the right foundations in place on which to build further successes.”

The news comes seven years after Headlands School was ranked as one of the worst in the country, with only nine per cent of its 148 GCSE pupils achieving five A* to C grades in 2005.

Mrs Robinson replaced former principal, Jan Shadick, in January.

Ms Shadick joined as headteacher of Headlands School in 2004 before it became Swindon Academy in 2007.

Sue Williamson, chief executive of SSAT, said: “Swindon Academy should be congratulated for their stunning achievement in improving their GCSE results.

“Swindon Academy has proved itself to be one of the best schools in the country at improving GCSE outcomes for their students. There is plenty that other schools could learn from Swindon Academy’s success.

“These results are testament to the commitment and hard work of the students, teachers and leadership team at Swindon Academy and a vindication of their belief in high expectations, good teaching and ambition for every young person.Successful schools like Swindon Academy understand the value of data, such as these progress measures, in helping to ensure all young people perform to the very best of their ability.

“The progress measures show how schools make a difference and raise achievement above expectations.”