Ernulf Academy has been recognised for its “passionate drive” to improve standards and performance, in two glowing reports.

Just a few weeks ago, the St Neots secondary school, which is managed by the St Neots Learning Partnership, was dealt a hammer blow by the Department of Education (DfE), who made public its concerns about "unacceptably low" standards. The school was warned it could be removed from the partnership and returned to local authority control and is still waiting for the DfE to announce its decision.

But a Local Authority Review and a monitoring visit by government inspectors seem to be more in line with the school's own view of its "improvement journey".

Inspectors from Cambridgeshire County Council visited the school in January and in a letter it said: "Challenging targets for improvement, comprehensive action planning and swift evaluation of the impact are contributing to improvements.

"The use of professional development is well matched to the needs of individual staff and appropriate use of support programmes and effective performance management is also having a positive impact on outcomes."

The HMI inspection took place earlier this month and it noted: "Detailed and challenging discussions take place about pupils' progress following the half-termly assessments of pupils' progress. "These meetings allow for analysis of the performance of different groups of people. Greater discussion now takes place of subject areas regarding the progress made by individual pupils."

The school's "positive ethos", "significant pastoral support" and the "considerable efforts" made by staff to build relationships with parents and carers was also highlighted.

Head teacher. Tracy Brogan said she was "very pleased" that both reviews of the school had "recognised the improvements put in place" and this was "testament to the hard work, commitment and enthusiasm of students staff governors and the continued support of parents and carers in the wider community." She added: "We are on an improving journey and there continues to be work to do. We are committed to building on the strengths of the school, whilst ensuring that we address anything that might stand in the way."