A RURAL secondary school has been given a clean bill of health by Ofsted.

As a result, governors and staff at Teesdale School, Barnard Castle have been told they will not face another inspection until the summer of 2014 at the earliest.

A letter was received from Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted's chief inspector, confirming an interim assessment had again judged Teesdale School to be a good school with outstanding achievement.

Interim assessments are conducted by Ofsted to decide whether a school graded 'Good' in an inspection should be re-inspected.

In Teesdale School's case, Oftsed concluded its performance had been sustained and the next inspection was deferred until summer 2014 at the earliest.

In reaching its conclusion, Ofsted looked at students' attainment, especially in core subjects, progress and attendance to ensure that the standards witnessed in the previous inspection, carried out in 2010, had been maintained.

Teesdale School co-principal John Southeran said: “We are obviously delighted with this letter in which Sir Michael recognises that our journey of improvement over recent years has continued since our last inspection.

“We would like to thank our fantastic staff, governors and parents for their hard work and support, and our students for their tireless efforts every day.

“Along with our local community, we are very proud of everything Teesdale School has achieved and this letter represents another milestone on our journey.”

Stuart Metcalf, chairman of the governors, said he was delighted with Ofsted's latest judgement on school standards.

“This letter serves as an outstanding endorsement of our unique distributed leadership model.

“We look forward to making even greater progress over the coming months. I would also echo John's sentiments in thanking both the staff and wider community for their continued support.”

Teesdale School caters for more than 700 pupils aged 11-18, which includes about 150 in the sixth form.

In the 2010, the school was rated 'good' by Ofsted, with inspectors saying it had made significant improvements in many areas, from the quality to teaching to pupils' attendance.

However, inspectors said standards in the sixth form – which was deemed 'satisfactory' - were not quite as good as those in the main school.