A SOUTHAMPTON school has been declared outstanding for the third time.

Redbridge Community School is the first in the city to achieve the hat-trick after getting the top mark in its latest inspection.

The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) praised the school’s outstanding leadership and teachers. Top marks were also given to the specialist sports college’s curriculum and pupils’ outstanding progress.

The school’s success for the third time comes despite serving one of the city’s more deprived catchment areas.

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Although children enter the school with attainment levels that are well below the national average, the percentage of students gaining five or more A* to C grades is in line with the national average.

Inspectors praised the school for being at “the very heart” of its community with “a strong ethos of care and respect”.

The success of each individual was described as being “paramount” with students gaining a range of academic and vocational qualifications.

Pupils were also found to gain skills, confidence and personal qualities that prepared them “superbly” for the future.

Delighted head teacher Richard Schofield, who was praised for his leadership, said: “This report is a fantastic new year message to go out to the local community. It’s a school they feel incredibly proud of and so do I.”

The 926-pupil school, which has a second specialism in applied learning, is due to expand to 1,050 pupils within the next few years.