Mike Tomlinson named 281 successful schools in his annual report - the most ever. Lee Winter talked to the heads of six to find their winning formula. The complete list of schools is available at www.tes.co.uk
Bob Verecken, head of Addison primary, in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, said the school had a "winning culture".
"It is a very mixed school socially and academically but everyone is made to feel mportant and given every support they need."
Bernadette Jenkins, head at John F Kennedy RC school, Hemel Hempstead, said dynamic teaching and a focus on student welfare had inspired pupils.
"Pastoral care is a core part of our pupils' moral and social development."
Peter Campbell, deputy head, Northgate middle, Crawley, West Sussex, said: "It's teamwork between the management team and teachers helping to empower the children with what they need to succeed.
"I am not sure what difference being on this the list makes although it wil definitely boost morale. It's important that the list doesn't have the usual divisive effects of a league table."
Maureen Smith, head at Devonport school for girls, Plymouth pointed to its 98.1per cent A-level pass rate. "It is all to do with nature of a selective school and the expectations the staff impress upon the students, the ethos that they are here to work."
It is the second time Florence Melly infant and nursery school, Liverpool has appeared on the successful list. Head Catherine Bell said: "I don't think there are many schools that can boast that, especially an inner-city school like us. We're delighted that the hard work by everyone at the school has been recognised again."
Sheila Yates, head of Birchwood community high school, Warrington, said: "I have very good staff who will appreciate having their hard work and enthusiasm recognised. The secret is to constantly strive for improvement and that is something we pride ourselves on."