Oak View Academy hit the headlines again when the school was featured on Granada Reports.
Broadcaster Andy Bonner visited school to talk to pupils, parents and teachers about the extended school day’s positive effect on soaring progress results.
Headteacher Fiona Rimmer spoke about the decision to implement an 8.30am start and compulsory after school clubs and how it was the catalyst for its transformation from a failing primary school on the brink of closure into one of the country’s most improved.
The school’s future was in severe doubt when it was placed in Special Measures in 2012. Three years ago it was ranked second worst in the country.
But a relaunch in 2014, backed by North West Academies Trust, sparked a remarkable journey to recovery.
Now Oak View is ranked in the nation’s top 5% for progress in reading and writing.
Mrs Rimmer said: “Having an extended school day was a risk because we knew it might not be popular with everyone.
“It requires an extra commitment from parents, staff and pupils – but we were determined to do whatever it took to get better results in the classroom.
“I’m very grateful that everyone has bought into the idea. We’ve had lots of positive feedback, and the outcomes are there for all to see.
“Equally importantly, we now regularly take pupils on educational excursions because we feel it’s key to explore and discover new things away from the confines of the classroom.
“And we have made sport, which includes inter-school competitions, an integral part of the programme too.
“The success we have seen has made us even more determined to continue to be courageous and innovative in our thinking – we have more exciting plans in the pipeline.”
Oak View, also now in the country’s top 10% for progress in maths according to analysis based on Year 6 SATs results, has also been boosted by a bursary fund from the Timpson Foundation.
CEO of NWAT, Steve Docking, said: “We had to make tough decisions at Oak View because their very existence was in doubt.
“We knew children needed more time in the classroom, so the only way to ensure they were getting additional opportunities was to extend the school day.
“It’s a completely different school in every way, and we are seeing that pay off in the children’s behaviour and attitude to learning.”