A SOUTHAMPTON school was today back from the brink of closure following drastic measures to drive up standards after it was found to be failing its pupils.

Hightown Primary School was given the all-clear by school inspectors after 18 months of special measures triggered when it failed an inspection.

The school was given two years to turn itself around or face the threat of closure after inspectors gave it a damning report pinpointing low standards in English, maths and science, weak management and lack of progress in addressing its problems.

An action plan was drawn up with Southampton City Council to improve teaching and children's behaviour and boost standards in the three subjects, and inspectors from the Office for Standards in education visited once a term to monitor progress.

Headteacher Terry Rollings was appointed in January after a period under acting head Alexa Kowalski following the resignation of former head Val Down on health grounds just before the report came out. The Rev Geoff Annas was appointed chairman of governors.

Mr Rollings said: "This is a very pleasing and proud moment for the school.

"It reflects the tremendous amount of work put in by all of the staff, governors, parents and children, along with the valuable support provided by the education authority.

"Behaviour has improved considerably and is now not considered to be a problem, and standards are improving. Over the last two inspections, 100 per cent of teaching was found to be satisfactory.

"This is a beginning, not an end. We are now determined Hightown should build on this and become a very successful school."

An Ofsted spokeswoman said: "The school has done very well to turn itself around in 18 months. The quickest a school has ever come off special measures is one year and the average is about two years."

June Bridle, council leader and executive member for education, said: "Ofsted told us that special measures were needed and special measures were taken. The city's education authority has assisted Hightown in every way and we are delighted to see the school is now back on track."

An Ofsted report on the school's improvements will be issued in several weeks' time.