St Joseph’s Catholic College, which is in special measures, has still managed to come in the top three highest performing schools in the town in recently published league tables.

The secondary school was highlighted as not being fit for purpose last September after an Ofsted inspection.

As a result the former chairman of governors, Stephen Lake, resigned and been replaced by Canon John Cunningham.

But, despite that, the league tables show that last year 67 per cent of students achieved five A* to C grades, well above the national average of 59.2 per cent.

It puts the college in the top three secondary schools in Swindon and represents a 12 per cent increase on attainment in 2012.

Kathryn Sanders the assistant principal said: “These results are the best in the history of the college, and are due in no small part to the hard work and dedication of both students and staff.

“We did expect performance improvements because we implemented a carefully devised strategy of well-attended bespoke tutoring, including hot-housing in English and maths, and revision sessions across all GCSE subjects, which has led to exceptional achievements for our students.

“We are delighted for our students’ enhanced opportunities as a result of this hard work.”

Principal Paul Hughes said: “I would like to congratulate all those concerned with this achievement.

“The Ofsted grading given in July 2013 was a blow to the confidence of everyone associated with the college, but this remarkable set of results is a positive landmark based on the hard work of staff and students.”

The most recent Ofsted report, published after inspectors visited in November 2013, said: “The 2013 GCSE examination results show significant improvements, particularly in English and mathematics.

“There is a relentless focus on improving the quality of teaching.

“Staff have received training on aspects of teaching, including the formative use of marking.

“Teachers identified as not following expectations are placed on a support programme delivered through coaches in the academy.”

The school will continue to be monitored by the inspectorate until they feel satisfied problems previously identified have been resolved.