Smiles shone around Wales High School as students and staff heard that the school has been deemed ‘good’ by Ofsted.
Inspectors visited the school last month and have raised its rating up one level.
In 2012 Ofsted said that Wales High ‘required improvement’ after a disappointing set of GCSE results.
But things are looking up following last year’s best ever GCSE and A Level results and the latest surprise inspection.
Ofsted said most students are making good progress to reach standards well above average by the end of year 11, and that achievement in the sixth form is good.
They said the curriculum is ‘extremely well matched to the needs of all students’. And the quality of teaching is mostly good with some that is outstanding.
‘Exceptional’ progress has been made in history, geography and religious studies since the last inspection, with good progress in English and maths.
Students are asked probing questions to deepen their understanding of what they are learning, inspectors said.
Pupils were said to be ‘keen to learn’ and ‘very proud of their school’. It was recognised that they ‘treat each other with great respect’, ‘feel safe, bullying is extremely rare’, and that sixth form students make an ‘exceptional contribution to the life of the school’.
Headteacher Pepe Di’Iasio was praised for having developed a strong sense of purpose amongst staff which is driving improvements in students’ achievements.
The report said he has taken ‘decisive action’ to improve teaching and that he and governors are ‘aspirational’ for all students’.
“Leaders and managers drive forward sustained improvement,” said the report.
In a letter to parents Mr Di’Iasio said the school community should be ‘proud’.
“I must also share with you the pride that we all feel in the way that our staff and your children have responded so swiftly to the challenges of the last 18 months,” he said.
“It is now recognised that much of what we do at Wales is of an exceptional standard. You need to know that it is my intention for Wales to be recognised as an ‘outstanding’ school.”