A TROUBLED school is turning around its fortunes after achieving its best ever GCSE results.

The Basildon Upper Academy, in Wickford Avenue, Pitsea , saw the number of pupils getting five A* to C grades, including in English and maths, jump to 45 per cent.

In 2011, it was only 33 per cent.

It’s the school’s biggest success since £52million was spent setting it up three years ago after the merger of the Chalvedon and Barstable secondary schools. Academy headteacher Dr Rory Fox said: “We are absolutely delighted with the results – this is a complete turning point for the school. It’s a 12 per cent increase from last year.

“It has been a long and tiring year for staff, students and parents. We have had to change attitudes, expectations and habits, to get students performing and achieving at the higher levels, which we knew they could do.

“To achieve such an excellent set of results shows what can be achieved when we get the basics right.”

Dr Fox was brought in last year to try to improve the school, and he introduced tough measures like isolation and Saturday detentions for badly behaved pupils.

The school was put into special measures by Ofsted in March. But since then results have improved, with Year 10 students now performing better at the start of their GCSEs, while SATs results for Year 9 pupils are up 22 per cent.

Dr Fox added: “I don’t think I have ever seen such a happy results day. The mood has certainly lifted and many students were supported by their parents, which was lovely to see.”

Tony Ball , leader of Basildon Council, said: “It has been a tough year, but the proof is in the results. I have sent Dr Fox my congratulations.”

Stephen Castle , Essex county councillor responsible for education, added: “I am delighted Basildon Academies results show such an improvement.”