THE woman at the helm of Westlands School has said it has turned a corner after 'challenging times' and poor results.
Acting head teacher Lyndsey Kane (pictured) said the January GCSE results show a major improvement in performance.
It shows 47 per cent of students in early entry English and maths GCSE achieved C or above, with 80 per cent of the year group achieving C or above in English. The combined results show at least nine per cent of students performed better than last year.
Government figures released for GCSE results in 2013 showed Westlands was at the bottom of the league in Torbay with just 38 per cent of students achieving grade C or above.
Mrs Kane said the news of last year's results was devastating, but the effect on the whole school morale of these new, improved results has been magical.
She said: "We received the formal notification of the latest results on Friday and none of us slept the night before.
"Both staff and students have risen to the challenge and that positive affirmation from an external examination body has been a huge boost to our morale.
"The students can see they can achieve and we are not the school people thought we once were."
Westlands has been in special measures since a damning Ofsted report in October. Former headteacher Dr Colin Kirkman left the school in December after a period of compassionate leave.
Mrs Kane said the whole team has looked inwards to make improvements.
It has been working with 'Outstanding' Ivybridge Community College.
The school has made a formal request that Ivybridge college becomes its sponsor as a sponsored academy.
Mrs Kane said the school has a strong leadership team which is working with the supportive governing body, dedicated teachers and support staff.
She said: "This revitalised team has been working hard to make significant changes to the school which are already reaping dividends."
She claims the Year 11 students are now on target for strong results this summer.
She said: "There are still many students who have not yet sat their maths exam and we are confident our summer 2014 results will reflect further improvements.
"We are pmaths grade A* to C results will exceed our target of 54 per cent."
Mrs Kane said her approach 'heralds a new era of trust and openness for Westlands'.
The improvements were acknowledged in the official report by the HMI who visited the School at the beginning of December.
Mrs Kane said: "Westlands has been through some challenging times but we now have a clear strategy in place to ensure that our students achieve their true potential."