Calne’s Kingsbury Green Academy has been cited as a “leading school” in the country for the way it has continued implementing its improvement strategies throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was the first secondary school to take part in a virtual pilot scheme run by charity Challenge Partners.

It reported that “the headteacher has established a strong, cohesive and dynamic leadership team, which has demonstrated a dogged determination to raise standards by offering the best education to all the pupils”.

The academy’s approach to teaching and learning during the pandemic was found to have been carefully planned and successfully executed. The school’s leadership team were commended for being particularly effective at anticipating pressures around maintaining safe distancing, and putting measures in place to mitigate them. Hard work by all staff ensured a safe return to school by those students who were studying remotely, which meant the school’s attendance levels have remained high.

The charity also said the school’s leaders are relentlessly driven and have high expectations of students, while maintaining an inclusive culture in which “everyone cares about everyone”.

Kingsbury Green Academy gives the education of disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and disabilities very high priority, noted Challenge Partners, and also runs a well-structured programme of professional development for colleagues at each stage of their career.

One particular highlight of the Challenge Partners report was provision of careers education. The organisation awarded Kingsbury Green Academy an Area of Excellence badge – an accolade only given to schools with outstanding provision in a particular area.

Principal Jason Tudor said he and his colleagues were delighted with the report.

“We were the first secondary school to take part in the virtual pilot scheme and are thrilled with the outcomes,” said Mr Tudor.

“To be recognised as a ‘leading’ school in relation to school improvement strategies shows the impact of the work we are doing at Kingsbury Green. I am particularly proud that we were able to show that the Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped our improvement strategies and that the review team were impressed with our strategies to raise the standard of lessons to such a level.

“We are also delighted to be accredited with an ‘Area of Excellence’ for our careers education. Careers leader Cath Young has established a programme involving local businesses and community groups that has been rightly recognised as exceptional.

“The leading grade descriptor in this report is the equivalent to Ofsted ‘outstanding’, so to be recognised in this way is a huge honour, and I am proud of all my fantastic colleagues who, even under the most trying circumstances this year, have made it happen.”