WE simply could not ask for a better school.

Pupils, parents and staff at a Southampton school are celebrating after being given top marks in their latest inspection.

Read Harefield Primary's Ofsted report

Ofsted officials heaped praise on Harefield Primary School, which they have graded as “outstanding”.

The report represents an incredible turnaround for a school that was formed by the merger of Harefield infant and junior schools just five years ago, a year after the latter was labelled by Ofsted as having “serious weaknesses”.

Head teacher Gary Hampton, who has overseen the dramatic change in fortunes, said he is delighted with the inspectors’ findings, which he said will “open doors” for the school.

He said Harefield could now aim to become a National Support School, working to help raise standards with other schools, while the choice of making a fasttrack application to become an academy will now be considered.

Mr Hampton said: “It’s a real record of how quickly a school can move forward if everyone is committed to it. Now we’ve that moral imperative to help the local community, it’s got to spread beyond our four walls, and we’ve already started doing some work, particularly in local schools.”

Inspector Deborah Zachary was full of praise for virtually every aspect of the school’s inspection.

She wrote: “Harefield is an outstanding school.

“Children get off to an excellent start in Reception and their excellent progress is maintained throughout Key Stages 1 and 2.

“The teaching is excellent, care is exceptional and the curriculum innovative and highly stimulating.

“As a result, pupils’ behaviour is excellent and they feel extremely safe.

“Parents and carers are very happy with the education their children receive. One wrote: ‘I couldn’t ask for a better school for my children to attend.’ “This pursuit of excellence has now been sustained over a considerable period of time and the school has an outstanding capacity to improve further.”

Attainment is usually “well below” average when children arrive at Harefield, but by the time they leave they have caught up and overtaken other children to record SATs results that are significantly better than the national average.

Mr Hampton said: “We’re improving the outcomes for children and have a real high aspiration that children do their best. We can show that over six years we have continued to improve.

“It means that they’re going to have the best possible chances when they move on to secondary schools and parents can have complete confidence in the school they’re sending their children to.”