"ALL of Burnley's schools can succeed, just give us time". That's the message from the head of the town's only school created under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project to be praised by Ofsted.

And Elaine Dawson, head of Sir John Thursby Community College, urged residents to get behind the town and "stop talking Burnley down".

Mrs Dawson was speaking after Government inspectors' first report on the Eastern Avenue school described it as satisfactory with good features, and praised Mrs Dawson's "outstanding" leadership.

Sir John Thursby was created in September 2006, along with four other new "superschools" in Burnley, as part of Lancashire County Council's £250million BSF scheme.

It was created by merging the all boys Barden and all girls Walshaw High Schools.

The scheme has come under repeated fire - earlier this week it emerged that Shuttleworth College is to join Hameldon Community College in special measures, and in November, Unity College was given a "notice to improve" by Ofsted.

Mrs Dawson said she was not in a position to comment on the other schools, but believes that they could all succeed if they were given time and support by the community.

"Although I work closely with the other heads as part of the Burnley Learning Partnership," said Mrs Dawson, "We've made good progress because we're totally focused on what we're doing. We have the vision of where we want to be and we're relentless in pushing to get there.

"I know that all the other Burnley heads have that vision too, but there have been some things that have gone against some of the other schools.

"I think that we are an example of how BSF can work, and it will work with the others but you have to give it time, and get behind Burnley. It shocks me how much people talk the town down."

Ofsted said the school's strengths included care and support of pupils, attendance, and strong links with primary schools.

The report also pointed out that "racial harmony prevails".

Sir John Thursby has children from 16 different nationalities, and also has pupils from some of the most deprived areas.

Mrs Dawson said: "I'm probably most proud of the racial harmony, and that the image of Sir John Thursby is now so positive, whereas the perception of Barden was extremely negative, that's all forgotten now, in only 16 months."