A LEADING York private school has been rated excellent - the highest grade attainable - by a team of inspectors.

The Mount School received the rating from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) - the equivalent of OFSTED for the independent sector.

The school - former pupils of which include Dame Judi Dench and writer A S Byatt - was inspected by the ISI in November for regulatory compliance and educational quality.

Published this week, the educational quality report focuses on the quality of pupils’ academic achievements and personal development - rating both "excellent".

The report said: “Pupils self-esteem is high and pupils show excellent self-understanding. Pupils display excellent social skills and awareness of others. They support and encourage each other, creating particularly open and friendly relationships.” The inspectors said pupils’ attainment was above national age-related expectations.

They said: “Pupils show strong knowledge and understanding across subjects, particularly in the sixth form. Communication skills are a particular strength of pupils and are evident across many subjects and ages. High expectations in teaching mean that pupils strive for and achieve high standards in their learning.”

Adrienne Richmond, school principal, said: “We are delighted with the report, to be graded ‘excellent’ for both areas of the educational quality is extremely pleasing. It is a very proud moment for everyone involved to receive such an excellent report and endorsement of the school. I am very happy that the inspectors remarked on the confidence and high self-esteem of pupils. Our all-girl focus provides a culture where girls are encouraged to believe in themselves and that nothing is beyond their reach."

The school met all regulatory requirements within the compliance section.

Last year The Press reported how the school had applied for planning permission to build a new dance and drama studio as part of plans for a multi-million pound performing arts hub.

The plans were unveiled after it was revealed that the school was experiencing financial difficulties and had lost more than a quarter of a million pounds in 2017.

Principal Ms Richmond said at the time that she was confident the school had a “carefully thought through strategic plan that allows the Mount a secure and flourishing future at the heart of the York community”.