The University of Bradford says its actions have turned round the formerly “failing” Greenhead High School.

University bosses spoke after the school, now University Academy Keighley, recorded a dramatic increase in top-grade GCSE passes. Last month's GCSE results revealed a 20 per cent rise in the number of pupils gaining A* to C grades.

The University of Bradford became the lead sponsor when Greenhead was transformed into an academy in September 2010. The decision was taken after Greenhead received an “inadequate” grade in a damning Ofsted report in 2008.

The school is now run by the three-strong leadership team of Gareth Dawkins, behavioural specialist Phil Allen, and Beckfoot School assistant principal Linda Wallsgrove.

The University of Bradford said it had a history of achievement in widening access and participation with students from diverse backgrounds. It sponsored University Academy Keighley (UAK) to improve the quality of education and exam results and prepare students for higher education.

The university's project leader, Nadira Mirza, started by reviewing the school’s staffing structure and student needs.

All year 11 students were profiled and placed into groups, lessons were given university-style plans with clear learning objectives, and governors and staff were all held accountable for reaching targets.

A buddy system was created between the academy and university in order to share best practice with the school. There was also a Saturday homework club, extra revision classes and summer schools at both UAK and university campuses.

Ms Mirza said: “We engaged the academy and the community to raise standards and widen participation.

“Our understanding and belief that university preparation starts from childhood is fundamental to the way we work.

“In this challenging time, it’s more important than ever for students to get the absolute most out of their time in higher education, gaining a good degree to prepare them for the job market.

“We can change all the external factors, but without the focus on teaching, lesson planning, staff development and an emphasis on boosting the morale of the students and staff, this transformation would not have been possible.

"The results are a testament to partnership working which includes the University of Bradford, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Bradford Schools Partnership and the governing body of UAK.”

The next step will include a review of the sixth form at UAK to help make A-level students ready to study at university.