ONE Barnsley school says it scored its ‘best ever’ GCSE results yesterday while another school deemed ‘failing’ just two years ago was praised by a government minister for its astonishing turnaround.

Astrea Academy Dearne was once languishing at the bottom of Barnsley’s league table with only 37 per cent of students achieving a grade C or better in maths. But last year this figure rocketed to 72 per cent on the new equivalent grading measure of grade 4 to 9, and yesterday's results marked an even further improvement to its best ever grades.

Principal Joanne Wilson said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have achieved the best results in the school’s history.

“This means that more young people from our community than ever before are moving on to ambitious and exciting next steps.”

Meanwhile schools minister Lord Agnew paid tribute to Darton Academy and Delta Academies Trust which took over Darton College just over a year ago.

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The school had previously rated inadequate and placed in special measures following a damning Ofsted report.

Last year its GCSE results were described by the government as ‘below average’ with each pupil getting on average half a grade less per subject than they had been expected to when they joined the school aged 11.

But after yesterday’s GCSE results the provisional Progress 8 score - the government’s main GCSE measure - has swung in the opposite direction, equating to each pupil’s results improving by a whole grade per subject than a year ago.

Almost three-quarters of pupils achieved at least a grade 4 (or pass) in both English and maths, and well over half achieved at least a grade 5 (or ‘strong pass’) in both subjects.

Lord Agnew said: “I want to congratulate all those involved in the exceptional results at Darton Academy, and the wider team at Delta Academies Trust. GCSE results can be the springboard for a whole career, so whether young people choose further study through A levels, an apprenticeship or a vocational qualification, they should be full of excitement about the next stage in their lives.”

Full coverage: pages 12 and 13 of today’s Barnsley Chronicle.