A BOURNEMOUTH primary school, deemed to be failing five years ago, has undergone a “phenomenal” transfor-mation to be declared “outstanding” in all areas.

The Elm Academy, formerly Elmrise Primary, has been turned around since its lowest point in 2009, when it was placed in special measures following a damning Ofsted inspection.

Six months later inspectors returned and said the progress being made was ‘inadequate’. The school was then brought under the sponsorship of the then Oakmead Technology College and taken out of special measures in 2011.

In December 2012, the school joined forces with Oakmead and the LeAF Studio to form the Learning and Achievement Federation (LeAF) and Ofsted has now confirmed the school is “outstanding” in all areas.

A glowing Ofsted report released after a two-day inspection said pupils make rapid progress across a range of subjects, are provided with an exciting range of activities in a caring setting and are constantly challenged to improve.

It also praised the quality of teaching and pupils’ behaviour and said the executive principal and head of school “led by example” to inspire staff. Senior leaders are also praised for their “relentless and successful” focus on raising pupils’ achievement.

Executive principal of LeAF, Dr Annetta Minard said: “This has been a huge turnaround for the school and it’s testament to the drive and determination of all the staff and pupils.

“We’re absolutely delighted their hard work has been recognised in this way and I am enormously proud of the school and everyone in it. I know they are all outstanding – and now it’s official.”

Head of the Elm Academy Helen Janda said: “The inspector described what the school has achieved as simply phenomenal.

“Our ethos is to develop children as people, both socially and morally, and this is embedded in everything we do.”