THE transformation of The Bourne Academy must be one of the biggest changes in education in Bournemouth.

And it’s not just the colourful, state-of-the-art new buildings that are barely recognisable from the school’s previous life as Kings High School.

The whole feel of the place has changed dramatically, as has the level of attainment by its pupils.

In order to judge achievement in schools across the UK, the government compares them with similar schools in other parts of the country.

The Bourne Academy is in a group of 55 schools for such comparisons and has recently been placed sixth for the levels of progress made by the pupils.

Principal Jackie Steel knew there was a huge amount of work to be done when she took the reins just over three years ago.

She said: “I am really pleased that the pupils are making such brilliant progress and that we have such a lot of support.”

Youngsters from the school stand out from the crowd with girls in distinctive pink shirts and the boys in matching ties. The decor of the school is equally colourful.

The school is becoming more popular with parents and carers with years 7 and 8 already full and huge interest for September 2014, which is likely to see a waiting list.

Last year the school recorded its best ever GCSE results, with 59 per cent of students gaining at least five GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and maths.

In September last year The Bourne Academy opened its sixth form, which offers A-levels and vocational subjects and already has 60 students. And it has strong links with the independent Canford School, one of the academy’s sponsors.

A number of pupils have already taken up scholarship places in Canford’s sixth form and a “twinning” arrangement is allowing pupils to break down barriers and spend time in each other’s schools.