A HARTFORD school is celebrating a clutch of achievements, opportunities and a new start.

Cloughwood School, in Stones Manor Lane, has been granted a new status and is now Cloughwood Academy.

The school, for boys with behavioural, social and emotional needs, also boasts a new junior section, a multi-use games area that will open to the community after Christmas and a residential department graded ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted for the third year in a row.

In an assembly speech to pupils, principal Adrian Larkin said: “On September 1 our school name changed to become Cloughwood Academy and on top of becoming an academy we have also had a few other big changes.”

He added: “I feel sorry for those lads who were in Year 11 last year because they left with good results and were part of the school when these things were being built up but didn’t get to take advantage of the great things on offer at the school now.

“We’re an academy now which means we’re up there with the best schools in the country.”

Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans was given a tour of the school and spoke of the importance of academy status and opportunities for Cloughwood’s future.

“It’s a real privilege to be an academy, you don’t just become an academy,” she said.

“The government is trying to improve standards in education across the board and academies are a part of that.

“You have outstanding leadership and are one of the most successful schools and when the government sends in Ofsted inspectors that is recognised.

“But you don’t become an outstanding school just like that, you become an outstanding school because of lots of hard work.

“What the government wants to do with schools like this is for you not to stop – you’re the first school of your type to become an academy in Cheshire and what I would encourage you to do is become a beacon to other schools who think ‘wow, if you can do it, so can we’.”