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A SOUTHAMPTON school with a history of pupil underachievement is now making big improvements according to its latest inspection report.

Inspectors from the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) found that Chamberlayne Park School had made "significant progress" during the last year.

Both teaching and learning standards were found to have improved since January 2007 when new head teacher Chris Kelly took over.

Her leadership, supported by her senior team and governors, was praised alongside a more stable staff structure.

The 701-pupil school in Tickleford Drive was graded satisfactory, Ofsted's third best grade out of four.

Inspectors re co gn i sed that the specialist performing arts school had seen standards dip in recent years because of "a long period of turbulence"

due to many staff changes.

Howe v e r, after a year of i m p r o v e - ments across the board, students in years seven and eight and those in year ten are on track to achieve their targets. Improved assessment and tracking procedures mean that standards are rising and underachievement has been eliminated Students at the school, which has a higher than average proportion of pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities, were praised for their contribution to school life and the wider community.

Many take part in different school productions, pay visits to local primary schools and act as prefects.

Head teacher Chris Kelly said she was pleased with the Ofsted report.

She said: "It is a real accolade for the staff and pupils who have all worked so hard during a time when the school has experienced a range of challenges."

Only last week the school was announced as being among the top 100 schools nationally to have the most improvement between 2004 and 2007 in key stage three exams taken by 14-year-olds in maths, English and science.