A school in Upminster that pupils are “exceptionally proud of" has been given the highest rating by Ofsted for the second time in a row.

Hall Mead School in Marlborough Gardens was visited by inspectors on September 26 and 27 and ranked 'outstanding' overall and across all five of Ofsted's inspection criteria.

A report by the regulator said: "Pupils are exceptionally proud to be part of the Hall Mead community.

"They are safe here, and show respect to all. This includes welcoming others and celebrating a range of diverse backgrounds."

Inspectors found that older pupils are “excellent role models” for their peers and highlighted an example where senior students volunteered to support year 7 pupils with their reading.

Children with special educational needs and disabilities, they noted, follow a “broad and highly ambitious” curriculum, and enjoy their lessons.

The secondary school’s freshers fair was praised for encouraging all pupils to take part in a range of activities.

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Local visitors, like a Holocaust survivor, enhance the school's broad curriculum by sharing their stories, the report said.

The inspectors believed that the pupils are “well matched to the school values” and they included a “highly popular group” celebrating the LGBTQ community.

The curriculum of the school was considered “highly ambitious” and it  “frequently exceeds” what is expected nationally, according to Ofsted.

Teachers, the inspectors further noted, benefit from a range of subject-specific training and are thus experts in their subjects.

They also commended school leaders for supporting all pupils to read widely and having “exceptionally high” expectations of pupils’ behaviour.

The school was last inspected in 2013 when it was also rated 'outstanding'.

This Is Local London: Miss Maria Ducker, the headteacher at the schoolMiss Maria Ducker, the headteacher at the school (Image: Empower Learning Academy Trust)

Maria Ducker, headteacher at the school since September 2023, said it has taken an “incredible amount of hard work” to maintain the highest rating.  

Over the course of their two-day inspection, she said students showcased themselves to be “kind, funny, charismatic and warm” and she is “proud of each and every one of them”.

She added: “This 'outstanding' grading is a reflection of everyone here and the special community we have built together."

Simon London, the previous headteacher and now chief executive of Empower Learning Academy Trust that runs the school, said he is “delighted” that the “enduring strength” of Hall Mead School has been recognised by Ofsted.