STAFF and students at a Hampshire secondary school are celebrating after it was rated “outstanding” by government inspectors.

Priestlands School in Pennington, near Lymington, has been awarded the highest possible mark by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), which praised the “excellent” systems in place.

Ofsted’s 12-page report says: “Teaching is consistently good and has the potential to be even better.


“Where there have been weaknesses, such as students’ past achievement in mathematics and English, they have been addressed successfully. As a result, leaders have enabled the school to maintain a very strong performance over time.”

The report says the students’ performance in exams is well above average and in some cases outstanding.

It adds: “Virtually all students leave the school with five GCSEs and a high proportion leave with five top A and A* Grades.

“As a result of the high standards the school is able to ensure that virtually every student goes on to education, training or employment when they leave.”

The report praises the way staff tackle what it describes as the “very occasional” cases of bullying and disruptive behaviour.

“Students develop into well-rounded and well-behaved young people with a strong understanding of right and wrong,” it says.

In a letter to pupils the lead inspector, Emma Ing, declares: “We judged your school to be outstanding.”

David Thomas, chairman of governors, said: “This is a marvellous achievement by all staff and pupils. I would like to pay particular tribute to the excellent leadership and management provided by the senior team led by the head teacher, Chris Willsher.”

Mr Willsher added: “This is what we’ve been aiming for since our 2006 inspection.

“I am tremendously proud of staff, pupils, parents and governors. The successful partnership we have developed over the years has led to this richly deserved report and I thank everyone for their support, help and hard work in getting here.”