THREE cheers for one Hampshire secondary school, which is celebrating a hat-trick of “outstanding” Ofsted reports.

Bitterne Park School in Southampton, has just received its third top grading from inspectors in four years.

The specialist Arts school, which also has a secondary applied learning specialism, was praised for its “can-do culture”, teaching, curriculum and academic guidance.

Inspectors heaped glowing praise on the attitudes of staff and students, saying: “the vibrancy and highly motivating ethos of the school strike you as soon as you enter the grounds”.

That is something that particularly pleases head teacher Susan Trigger.

“I just thought that was so marvellous because that isn’t something you can just fix,” she said.

“We often talk about the Bitterne Park buzz.

“Our visitors always comment on it and how friendly and happy, and incredibly wellbehaved our students are, but you need an inspection team to come in and see that as well.”

Mrs Trigger believes the third outstanding report is a reflection of work put in by everyone associated with the 1,410-pupil school, which is Southampton’s largest mixed comprehensive secondary.

“As far as the school’s concerned it’s an absolutely fantastic achievement,” she said.

“We’ve been working very hard over many, many years, because something like a third outstanding is a culmination I feel of years of hard work – it doesn’t happen overnight.

“I’m particularly pleased that the Ofsted reflected that we’ve had seven years of continuous improvement.

The head teacher added that she is determined that the school does not rest on its laurels.

The number of students gaining five good passes, including maths and English, has risen 15 percentage points in the last three years, to 61 per cent.

But inspectors suggested that the proportion of pupils gaining five or more A* to C grade GCSE passes should be built on further.

“We never sit back and think let’s ease off a bit because that’s not the way you run an outstanding school,”

said Mrs Trigger.

“You’ve got to keep pushing it and actually the competitive nature of my students means they always want to do that little bit more.”

Mrs Trigger added that the next step for the school is to work towards providing sixth-form facilities.

“We’re doing an awful lot of work with the Learning Skills Council and the city on developing plans for that, allowing lots of our learners to carry on with us,” she said.

“We also hope we’ll be part of the Building Schools for Future programme, which will hopefully make us very much a pioneering centre of excellence for Southampton.”