Havant Academy is in high spirits after being nationally recognised for its outstanding progress over the past five years.
The secondary school was nominated by a government minister to receive the Education Business Awards Accolade.
And it beat six other schools from across the country to win.
Following a visit by schools standards minister Nick Gibb, the academy was put forward for the award.
But it wasn’t until principal Helen Cassady received a phone call that staff found out they’d been nominated.
Helen, who has worked at the school since 2013, said: ‘I found out we’d not only been nominated, but also short-listed by a panel of judges for the title of Outstanding Progress – Secondary School.
‘I and governor Romy Jones attended the Education Business Awards ceremony in London. When it was revealed we had won I was shocked but incredibly proud.
‘To be recognised nationally as a secondary school making outstanding progress is a huge achievement.
‘It’s happened because we’ve moved from Ofsted’s special measures rating to good, and we’re well on our way to outstanding, with many of our youngsters exceeding expectations.’
The school became an academy in 2010, changing its name from Staunton Community Sports College.
It had been earmarked for closure over poor pupil achievements but a community campaign was fought to keep it open.
The academy is funded by the government but also receives support from sponsor Tkat. Helen added: ‘Being an academy is all about driving success and improving the education of all students.
‘We have greater freedom in regards to the curriculum and how we structure it.
‘Our staff are superb and genuinely go above and beyond for the pupils, who all have a thirst for learning. I hope winning this award will motivate them even further.’
Mr Gibb said: ‘Havant Academy has seen dramatic improvement over the last five years, which is down to the hard work and determination of staff and pupils, and I was lucky to see and hear first-hand how they’ve achieved it.
‘It’s a good example of how good leadership, empowered by the freedoms the academy programme provides can transform a school. Havant’s latest achievement, winning this award, is well deserved.’
The Education Business Awards recognise the ‘sterling’ work of schools.
Angela Pisanu, editor of the Education Business magazine, which is behind the awards, said: ‘Havant Academy impressed judges for its remarkable improvement over five years. It has received praise from local and central government and is seen as a blueprint for how schools can be transformed by great leadership and hard work.’