A PRIMARY school has been judged outstanding by Government inspectors following a massive turnaround.

Merlin Top was told it "requires improvement" after its last Ofsted inspection in November, 2016.

But now the Braithwaite Avenue school, a Northern Education Trust academy, has received top marks across the board.

Inspectors, who visited the school in March, have praised the quality of leadership and the "impeccable" behaviour of pupils.

"Leaders – supported by the trust – have established the school as a beacon of aspiration and achievement," says the just-published inspection report.

"They have a ‘no excuses’ attitude and approach.

"The unwavering determination and purpose of the principal and deputy principal, strengthened by trust leaders' support, has created a school climate which enables pupils to excel.

"Leaders focus relentlessly on pupils’ outcomes – and teachers’ expectations of what the pupils should achieve are consistently high.

"A curriculum has been put in place which enables pupils to be challenged and to succeed in a range of subjects across all years. And the wide and varied extra-curricular provision offers pupils a plethora of opportunities."

The inspection team said relationships between staff and pupils were strong, and as a result the children displayed a high level of self-discipline.

Pupil attendance rates had improved and were now in line with the national average.

There was also glowing praise for early years provision.

Inspectors said the children benefited from high-quality teaching, with phonics and handwriting being very strong.

And the youngsters made "strong progress" across early years learning goals, including literacy and mathematics.

The report noted "substantial" improvements in outcomes, with progress and attainment exceeding national averages.

Principal, Lesley Heathcote, said she was delighted with the report.

"It recognises the commitment of the whole school community and the progress that has been made," she added.

"The children and wider community of Braithwaite should be equally proud of their hard work, which has seen better-than-average results and a deeper understanding about aiming high for children from an early age.

"We know that our curriculum is a strength and that the children of Braithwaite benefit from a wide range of exciting and stimulating learning opportunities.

"I hope this report can go on to inspire the residents of Braithwaite to expect the very best and know that with hard work, respect and resilience, everyone can have the highest possible aspirations for their children."

Her delight is shared by Jane Wilson, deputy chief executive of the Northern Education Trust.

She said: "The 'outstanding' judgement rightly recognises the unswerving aim of leaders and staff to create resilient, enthusiastic learners who are active and engaged in their own learning.

"The trust supports all its academies to achieve excellent outcomes for children, and the judgement is testimony to the efforts and commitment of all the youngsters, staff and parents, which has resulted in pupils who are consistently inspired to want to learn, and of whom we are very proud."