A SCHOOL which was failing to give pupils an acceptable education two years ago has won high marks in a new government report.

St Edward's RC Primary School, Darwen, was placed under "special measures" - which included the introduction of a dedicated "improvement" teacher - after a visit by Ofsted inspectors in March 2000.

They criticised many aspects of the work going on at the Blackburn Road school.

Standards in English, maths and science were too low; the overall quality of teaching, particularly medium and shorter-term planning, was not good enough; and school leadership, including the monitoring of teaching and the curriculum, had to improve.

Ofsted said the setting up of a management team and the tracking of pupils' progress had improved standards. Now, following two days of visits last November, inspectors have decided the school no longer requires the special measures. Standards had risen and reflected a clear upward trend in the pupils' attainment, they said. Since the school was inspected in March 2000, there had been exceptional improvement in the quality of teaching. The teaching was good.

The report said:

Pupils have a positive approach to their learning and have developed good collaborative skills.

They are well mannered and polite. They move about school sensibly, play well together in the playground and have good relationships with each other and adults.

The headteacher has successfully led the school in overcoming some of the weaknesses identified in the inspection report of March 2000.

The governing body is well led and meetings are conducted efficiently. The governors play an important part in monitoring the work of the school and are firmly committed to its continued improvement.

Blackburn with Darwen education authority has provided the school with good support.

A strong Catholic ethos pervades the school, promoting care, tolerance and a mutual respect of others in a multi-cultural society.

The inspectors said the turnaround was a result of a significant improvement in the quality of teaching, particularly in planning, class discussions and the imaginative use of resources. Newly-developed procedures for assessment and the tracking of pupils' progress had also contributed, and the headteacher had set up an effective management team.

The school improvement teacher provided by the local education authority had also played an important role.

The inspectors added that a much-improved attitude among pupils to their work was a significant factor in the learning trend.

The school now provided satisfactory value for money, they concluded.

St Edward's is the last of eight schools in Blackburn with Darwen which were in "special measures" to be removed.