PUPILS have celebrated their school achieving Portsmouth’s first ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report for a secondary school in seven years by releasing balloons into the air.
About 150 balloons were let go into the sky over St Edmund’s Catholic School in Upper Arundel Street, which has gone through a phase of dramatic improvement since getting an ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted score just five years ago.
Pupils voluntarily stayed after school for the event, and let out a jubilant cheer as the balloons scattered into the wind.
Year 8 pupil Wade Strickland, 13, said the celebration showed St Edmund’s’ positive atmosphere.
He said: ‘To be letting the balloons go is a great show of school spirit. It shows there’s a great community in the school and that we’re one big family.
‘I think it’s absolutely a great privilege to be an outstanding school.
‘I care deeply about the school and a lot of other people do too.’
Year 7 student Eloise Borrett, said: ‘Letting go of balloons is a bit of a tradition at this school and it really represents us as a whole.
‘The fact that our school is the first “outstanding” in Portsmouth makes me feel so privileged to be here.’
St Edmund’s’ head girl, Year 11 Charis Almond, 16, said: ‘It makes us standout from the rest.
‘Because we’re the first secondary school to get this outstanding achievement it makes us feel special and it really reflects the character of the school.’
Headteacher Simon Graham congratulated the pupils, saying: ‘You are outstanding students. Ofsted have come in, they’re very tough.
‘There are very few schools in the country that are outstanding and only one secondary school in Portsmouth, and that’s us.’
Mr Graham also said he hoped the result would set a long-standing precedent at the school.
He said: ‘Our goal is to ensure that future generations of students have the same opportunities.’
The Ofsted report highlighted the high number of pupils gaining A* and A grades because of ‘high expectations, excellent teaching and strong personal motivation to succeed’.
The report also praised the exemplary behaviour of all students, saying they were ‘polite and helpful’, with ‘a positive attitude to their work and a determination to improve’.
The school was given an outstanding evaluation in four areas: effectiveness of leadership and management; personal development, behaviour and welfare; quality of teaching, learning and assessment and outcomes for pupils.