A VALLEY'S school deemed to be failing six years ago is celebrating after a recent inspection proved it has turned things around.

In 2007 Pontllanfraith Comprehensive School was put into special measures after inspectors Estyn said it needed to make urgent improvement.

Its then head teacher resigned and three pupils were arrested during a protest over teachers being sacked.

But things are looking up for the school, which has recently been judged "good" by assessors and new head teacher Tim Williams, who took over leadership just three weeks ago, has high hopes for further success.

The Estyn report said performance at key stage three and GCSE compared well with other schools, pupils made sound or better progress in line with their abilities and attendance rates had improved.

It praised its strong leadership and said there was a well-established process of self evaluation dedicated to raising standards, which had contributed to the "considerable" progress the 554-pupil school has made in recent years.

It said pupil behaviour had got better, said youngsters felt supported and the school dealt well with bullying.

Most parents who responded to questionnaires gave positive or very positive feedback and nearly all said their children were making good progress and that teaching was good.

Mr Williams said that now that key factors like attendance and behaviour had been tackled, teachers could start pushing pupils more academically.

He said the positive report had boosted confidence and self-esteem and learners were starting to believe they could do better and said more would be done to challenge year 7 pupils to perform from day one.

He said: "The school has been through a rough six years since the last inspection and everyone, including pupils and staff, have worked really hard to turn things around.  "It's an exciting time to be in the school. It's had a hard time but it's time to put that behind us and step things up a gear and take it to the next level."