A SECONDARY school has been painted as a 'stimulating' place where pupils' confidence can 'blossom'.

An impressed inspector has written up a hugely positive report after visiting Larkmead School in Abingdon, and has re-awarded the academy a rating of 'good'.

A letter sent to headteacher Chris Harris, following a short one-day inspection in January, said: "Your approach to leadership is characterised by your principled and determined pursuit of high standards in all areas of school life.

"The stimulating and caring ethos in the school enables pupils to make strong progress and achieve well.

"Morale is high and everyone shares your determination to provide the best for each pupil."

Larkmead teaches about 740 pupils from its base in Faringdon Road.

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The inspector described pupils as 'well-behaved, kind and respectful' and said a dedicated team of staff work with 'determination and sensitivity' to ensure more vulnerable learners are supported.

One parent quoted in Ofsted's report said: "My child has blossomed at this school, and her confidence in her own ability to be successful has dramatically improved."

It was the first inspection since Larkmead converted to become an academy under the Vale Academy Trust, which runs several other Oxfordshire schools including King Alfred's Academy in Wantage.

Larkmead converted in 2017 and had previously been inspected in 2015, when it was also rated 'good' - the regulator's second-best standard below 'outstanding.'

The new report states: "Pupils are helped to make choices that ensure that they are prepared for a wide range of further or higher education and training.

"Pupils who spoke to inspectors were able to explain their career plans with confidence."

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Mr Harris said he was 'delighted' to maintain the 'good' rating. He added: "More importantly, we are delighted that the letter strongly reflects the progress being made.

"We had exceptionally strong support from parents, students and staff."

In a letter sent to parents, Mr Harris added: "We have a fantastic opportunity to push our school forward and to build on this strong position. There should be no limit to our ambition.

"I see the school building on this strong letter and continuing forward with an open mind, creating powerful and socially responsible students who will contribute to society."