Primary schools score top marks in league tables

PRIMARY schools in Huntingdonshire have met tough new Government targets for pupil attainment.

League tables published by the Department for Education on Thursday (December 13) show schools in the district – and those in South Cambridgeshire – have performed well against the new requirements that require 60 per cent of each school’s pupils to achieve Level Four in English and maths.

Almost all schools passed the new test, with Holywell getting 95 per cent of its children through and Houghton and Offord schools scoring 92 per cent.

Only three schools failed to make the grade, with Ramsey Community Junior falling nine percentage points short, the Round House Primary in St Neots missing out by one percentage point and St Mary’s in St Neots getting a score of 56 per cent.

However, its headteacher, Jenny Overs, pointed to her school’s high value added score, which shows how well pupils have progressed, of 99.1 – higher than some of the best achieving schools.

“I hope that anyone looking at the league tables looks at the progress measures and not just attainment,” she said. “If you do so, you get a very different picture.

“Those with the best attainment aren’t always those whose pupils have made the best progress.

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“Children come into school at very different starting points. For example, some start with English as a second language. We need to make sure all children get to where they need to be.

“Progress starts from the bottom up. If children aren’t achieving in the early years, they’re going to be playing catch up in the future.”

Jacky McCay, headteacher at Ramsey Community Junior School, said: “Obviously we recognise that some of these results are below our aims and expectations but these issues are already being addressed in school with robust plans to impact on the learning outcomes.

“The school is actively involved in our community.

“Fortunately, parents realise there is more to a school than its position in league tables - and that is very much the case at Ramsey Junior.”

Holywell Primary School topped the Huntingdonshire league table.

Its value added score was 101.1 and 47 per cent of its 11-year-olds were classed as high-achieving by getting Level Five in their SATs.

Headteacher Julie Branch said the results were down to a partnership between teachers, parents and the pupils.

“We have worked really closely with pupils and families, targeting individual progress as much as we can, and it seems to have paid off,” she said.

The school may even consider entering pupils for Level Six tests next year, which it didn’t do in 2012, she added.

Kate Fox, headteacher of Hemingford Grey Primary School, said her school’s results were down to a “consistent focus on evaluating the quality of teaching and learning”.

Ninety four per cent of its pupils achieved Level Four in English and maths and the school’s value-added score was 100.

“We have worked really hard at creating a climate where children want to come and learn,” Mrs Fox said.

“It is not always about teaching in isolation but being creative in thinking about the curriculum so children are actively participating and it is more hands-on”.

The district’s results were in line with national figures, where the number of primary schools not meeting the Government’s targets fell dramatically.

Just 521 schools nationally fell below the expectation for English and maths.