A FLINTSHIRE high school once requiring 'significant improvement' has undergone a complete transformation in the last two years.

St. David’s High School in Saltney has gone from being poorly rated to one of the county's top performing schools in the space of just two years.

Under the leadership of Headteacher Craig Burns, an ex-pupil of the school has gone from being in the bottom 25% of schools for GCSE performance and being judged by Estyn to require ‘significant improvement’ in December 2016 to now being one of the top schools in Wales and one of the most improved secondary schools in Flintshire.

The Headteacher and his newly appointed Senior Leadership Team took quick and effective action to put essential plans in place to ensure students’ learning experiences improved rapidly. The school has just received its monitoring inspection from Estyn in June 2018 and Inspectors judged that the school no longer requires significant improvement because it has made ‘good progress’ in just eighteen months.

A team of three Inspectors visited St. David’s and praised the ‘improvements in pupils’ standards and progress’; furthermore, since the inspection in 2016, ‘performance in the majority of indicators has improved and now compares more favourably with that in similar schools’.

And Craig Burns, who has been recently nominated for Headteacher of the Year, is proud of the school’s achievements.

He said: “This has been a real team effort, one that has seen the whole school community come together to improve the whole learning experience.

''We have seen nearly every subject make rapid progress and to go from being in the bottom 25% of schools to the top in such a short space of time is something we are all very proud of. It was great to have the Inspection team in to confirm this last month too.''

Even more pleasing are the comments made about students’ positive attitudes towards their learning with Inspectors saying that students ''behave well, show respect towards adults and are polite.''

In a recent questionnaire sent out to parents, around 90% said that they feel that St. David’s has improved over the past eighteen months with particular praise for more effective communication between home and school.

In addition to a successful inspection, as well as outstanding examination results in the summer, the school has made many changes. It has opened a new Fitness Suite sponsored by the National Lottery; new ICT equipment; new changing rooms, as well as an investment in the general fabric of the building, including a new entrance that is safer for everyone.

The school is also looking forward to opening its new Student Support Centre in September, a place where students can go for additional support or guidance should they need it. They have recently opened a Literacy Garden with sheltered quiet study areas for students to use during their lunchtimes.

Sophie Cheers, Year 10 student, said: ''The school has been transformed and it is really great place to come to every day. We get opportunities to express our opinions and views about what needs to be improved and recommend next steps for the school.''

Craig Burns, Headteacher, added: “Although we are really proud of everything we have achieved, we are far from complacent. There is still much to do, particularly with regards to improving the current school uniform and the need to increase the school’s role in the local community and beyond. We are, however, well on the way to becoming a first choice outstanding community school for all.''

The school actively encourages parents to visit and to come and see first-hand how well the school is now doing at any time during the year. Their Open Days are on the 19th and 20th September, with Open Evening being on Thursday 20th September 2018.