A SCHOOL which has struggled for more than a decade with a poor reputation and damning Ofsted reports has come out of special measures.

And Joseph Rubba, headteacher of Thameside Primary School, Abingdon, said it was the first step on a road to becoming a good school.

Mr Rubba, who took up the post in September, said: “We are pleased the inspectors have recognised our hard work.”

He said he had an “inkling” the school would be removed from special measures following the inspection in March, the result of which has just been made public.

But he said: “This is part of a long-term plan.We’re not concentrating on staying out of special measures, but moving to a good rating.”

The school was given a satisfactory rating overall, but was rated good for behaviour and safety, and leadership and management.

Inspector Christopher Russell said: “The school is improving rapidly and is well placed to maintain and continue this improvement.”

He said the headteacher had already achieved a great deal and had formed a strong and highly effective team with the assistant headteacher.

The school went into special measures in 1999, came out in 2002, but returned in 2008.

It moved briefly into the notice to improve category in 2009, before returning to special measures in 2010.

Mr Rubba said: “There were reasons why the school was in special measures.

“It’s not going to turn around in a year or two, it’s going to be a long haul.

“I am confident I will be head of a good school, but it’s going to take some more work.”

The news comes as some parents in Abingdon complained about being allocated places at the school for next September.

Mr Rubba said: “When you are thinking about choices for your children, you want to go to a school that is always improving and we have demonstrated that very quickly.

“I would say to parents ‘come to the school’. I will show them around and they will be pleasantly surprised.”

Oxfordshire County Council schools improvement cabinet member Melinda Tilley said: “Thameside is doing a fabulous job and we will continue to do everything we can to support them.

“To parents allocated places there, I would say ‘give it a chance and support the school for everything you’re worth’.”

Paul Vanstone, 35, from Midget Close, has an eight-year-old daughter, Grace, at the school.

He said: “Since the new headteacher has been there, you can see significant changes.

“I think it’s fantastic stuff. Let’s hope he stays put for a while.”