STAFF and students at a Sunderland school are celebrating top praise.
Southmoor Academy was ranked first within its group of similar schools for the progress made by its pupils between primary and the end of secondary education.
The official Department for Education measure takes into account schools with similar primary results.
The Ryhope Road school also ranked 56th out of all schools which places it near the top two per cent for the progress made by students.
Dr John Brown, chairman of Southmoor Academy, said: “We were told in a personal letter from Schools Minister David Laws who also said that our pupils were achieving 10 per cent higher in the all-important five good GCSEs with English and maths than the average for a school with our intake.”
In his letter, the minister said: “This is a fantastic achievement that you should be very proud of.
“Please try to think about how you can work with other schools, in your area or further away, so that all children get the chance to go to a school which is as good as yours.”
Dr Phil Ingram, principal at the academy, said: “These comments are about our 2012 results, but we matched this high performance once again in 2013 and because we allow our pupils to take exams a year early, our results for the current Year 11 look even more impressive.”