IT IS A place where pupils flourish.

That was how education inspectors described St Anne’s Catholic School in Southampton as they rated it ‘outstanding’ in every aspect.

In doing so St Anne’s becomes the only state funded secondary school to be ranked in the highest category by Ofsted.

It is an improvement on their last inspection where it was rated as a ‘good’ school.

Since then there have been a number of changes, including converting to an academy, and the appointment of Lyn Bourne as headteacher.

Inspectors heaped praise on the leadership and performance of staff and pupils which resulted in the improvement in results year on year.

The inspection judged the “exceptional leadership” of Mrs Bourne has led to rapid improvements in all aspects of the Carlton Road school’s work. Since her appointment two years ago, the report noted how she had worked with governors and senior leaders to “forge a dedicated and professional team who are all highly committed to achieving the best for every pupil”.

Inspectors also found: - The school is a warm and caring community where pupils flourish. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is woven through lessons and is a particular strength of the school.

- Outcomes are outstanding. There are excellent relationships between teachers and pupils, challenging teaching and highly effective systems for tracking pupil progress.

- The headteacher’s excellent leadership has improved all aspects of the school since the last inspection. Governors and senior leaders are highly effective. Together they have created a culture where staff and pupils flourish.

- Governance is first-rate. Governors effectively contribute to the school’s success because they rigorously monitor their impact on driving the school forward and challenge themselves and school leaders to do better where necessary.

Mrs Bourne said: “We are delighted with the outcome of our inspection. The report reflects the exceptional achievements of the entire St Anne’s family.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my team of staff and students. They had the confidence to show inspectors our normal routine with their usual positive, optimistic attitude. In the words of the Ofsted report, I have a “dedicated and professional team who are all highly committed to achieving the best for every pupil.”

The inspection noted that achievement at GCSE has improved every year at the girls only secondary school for the last three years and is well above the national average. It also states that the pupils’ behaviour is exemplary and their attendance is above average and improving.

The report also highly praised the sixth form, which is open to both sexes, with teaching judged to be “of the highest quality”.

You can see the full report here.