Student progress at Babington Community College is among UK's best
A secondary school is among the 100 most improved in the country for pupil progress.
Denise Newsome, head of Babington Community College, in Leicester, has received a letter from schools minister David Laws congratulating her on the achievement of students who took GCSEs last summer.
Forty-five per cent of students at the Beaumont Leys school achieved five or more A* to C grades including English and maths in the exams – a seven percentage point on 2011.
Mr Laws said: "It gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on the excellent GCSE performance of pupils in 2012.
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"Your results show you are among the best improving schools in terms of the progress your pupils make between key stage two results at 11 years old and their GCSEs.
"I hope you are able to continue this rate of progress, so one day soon I can write to you to commend you not only for being one of the most rapidly improving schools but also one of the highest-performing schools.
"I'd like to congratulate your staff, governors and pupils for their hard work and success and thank you for your leadership in continuing the drive towards high standards of educational achievement."
The Government's benchmark is that at least 40 per cent of pupils should achieve five or more A* to C grades including English and maths. This is set to rise to 50 per cent by 2015.
Ms Newsome said: "We had no idea we were in the top 100 schools in the country in terms of progress, so to receive this letter out of the blue was a lovely surprise.
"Clearly, we knew we were making very good progress but to have such a personal letter from the minister is fantastic.
"We know our pupils do well when they come here. Some of them have low starting points, simply because they may not speak any English.
"However, we're proving that doesn't have to be a barrier to success.
"Our results are going up and while there's still a lot of hard work to do, we're very pleased with how it's going."
Councillor Vi Dempster, assistant city mayor for children, young people and schools, said: "There's no doubting the enthusiasm, commitment and hard work of Denise, her teaching staff and the pupils.
"I'm delighted the school's achievements have been recognised by the minister."