A SCHOOL forced to close by Greenwich Council has been praised by the government for its work with disadvantaged youngsters.

Blackheath Bluecoat has received a letter from the Minister of State for Schools David Laws, congratulating them on being in the country's top 3 per cent for Pupil Premium youngsters' progress.

It follows last year's GCSEs which saw record results for the fourth year in a row - 71 per cent of pupils achieving five A* to C grades including English and maths.

Writing to headteacher Barnaby Ash, Mr Laws said: "It is clear that you and your staff have provided your disadvantaged young people with a good start in adult life and a strong springboard into the next stage of their education, and the world of work."

But despite the results, Bluecoat - whose former students include Stephen Lawrence and Rio Ferdinand - will shut in August over a financial deficit and falling pupil numbers.

A 'finale' will be held on June 21 from 2pm to 5pm, starting with  a service of thanksgiving led by the Rt Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave, Bishop of Woolwich.

To attend, call  020 8269 4300 or email bbcsthefinale@bbcs.greenwich.sch.uk