FIVE ALIVE: Abbey College had a double celebration at the start of term – not only did the school mark its fifth birthday, but also gained academy status.

The school was created in September 2006 following a merger between Ailwyn School and Ramsey Abbey School.

"There has been a complete transformation," said headteacher Wayne Birks, who was appointed to steer the merger and lead the new school five-and-a-half years ago. "The staff and students have been brilliant in helping to build a school with high levels of achievement, excellent student behaviour and high aspirations for all.

"Parents and the local community have also been hugely supportive and we enjoy excellent relations with our partner primary schools. There is a culture of achievement, respect for each other and mutual support and the successful introduction of a vertical house system at the beginning of this term is already helping staff and students to strive for even better outcomes.

"There is real sense of optimism and pride in the school and this was reflected in the excellent Ofsted rating only a few months ago which graded the school as "good" with outstanding features. As a new academy we intend to use the freedoms it brings to build on the successes of the last five years."

The honour of cutting the birthday cake was given to new head girl and boy, Zara Hull, 18, and Robert Glover, 17.