Education secretary Michael Gove heaped praise on staff and teachers at a West Yorkshire school yesterday as it celebrated moving into a new era.
Mr Gove was visiting East Garforth Primary after it became a primary academy school at the start of term.
Primary academies are publicly-funded schools but they have more freedoms to run their own affairs in areas such as staff pay, the curriculum and the lengths of terms.
East Garforth Primary Academy has joined the Schools Partnership Trust, one of the largest chains of academies in the country which started with nearby Garforth Academy.
Mr Gove took part in a ceremony marking the reopening of the school as an academy before touring classes to speak to children and staff.
And as he answered questions from pupils, he revealed his love of Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Gove said: “Even in a relatively brief visit I got the sense here of lively and engaged people who are enjoying their learning, fantastic teachers who have got a good handle on discipline and behaviour and a headteacher who knows that the school does need to improve and is dedicated to the school improving hand in hand with the academy sponsor.”
Headteacher David Eaton said: “We think this will contribute towards out improvement as a school.
“We want to be an outstanding school and we think the support of the Schools Partnership Trust will help us to do that.
“To have somebody of that standing at our opening was a great occasion for the school and we were very impressed with the way he interacted with the children.”