A SCHOOL which was threatened with closure has been rated good for the first time in its history.

Thomas, Lord Audley School in Colchester faced closure in 2008 under the proposed re-organisation of Colchester secondary schools.

However, it survived and has now been assessed as being good by Ofsted inspectors.

Head teacher Helena Boast - who told Essex County Council leader Lord Hanningfield he was wrong to look to close the school - said the school was delighted by the achievement.

She said: "We are extremely happy our positive work has been recognised and it is an affirmation of the work we are doing.

"The success is down to working together as a team and being resilient. We have never given up."

Thomas, Lord Audley School was previously rated as satisfactory and requiring improvement and in 2005 was in special measures.

Ms Boast, who took over as head teacher three years ago, said: "We have looked closely at what we were doing and reflected on that.

"We have self-evaluated and worked with partners, including Essex County Council and Stanway School, and have strengthen our senior leadership team.

"We have effective professional development and the inspectors praised our teachers' level of expertise."

Last summer, the school, which is part of the Stanway Federation, recorded only 35 per cent of its students gaining five or more A* to C grades in GCSE including Maths and English.

However, the inspectors described the school as "rapidly improving" and said said pupils were achieving well in a range of subjects including Maths and English and foreign languages.

They also said pupils behaved well, developed positive attitudes to learning and were well prepared for the next stage of their education or employment.

The report also noted the school had worked effectively to improve attendance.

And it said achievement was improving because school leaders and governors focussed effectively on strengthening the quality of teaching.

Ms Boast was described by the inspectors as "determined and dedicated" and they said her "effective leadership" and that of the senior team was valued by pupils, staff and parents.

The Monkwick school has 751 students and was oversubscribed by pupils looking to join the school in September.

Ms Boast said: "The inspectors can see we have rapidly improved standards.

"We have worked really hard. We have been determined and are really excited about the next steps of our journey.

"We have a lot of loyal members of staff who are absolutely committed to the school and that is recognised."

She added: "I do feel vindicated for standing up to Lord Hanningfield.

"We are proud of our school."

To become an outstanding school, Thomas, Lord Audley must improve teaching, learning and assessment so outcomes for pupils are high compared to the national average.