THE number of Worcestershire primary schools failing to give pupils a good grounding in the three Rs has dropped from 13 to three over the past year, following the news that official figures suggest that nationally the number has halved.
Less than 60 per cent of year six pupils at Great Malvern Primary School and St Matthias CE Primary School, both in Malvern, and Birchen Coppice Primary School, Kidderminster, achieved a level four in both English and maths, according to key stage 2 SATS results.
Under the Government's current target, schools are considered failing if less than 60 per cent of 11-year-olds gain level four in English and maths SATs tests and fewer youngsters make two levels of progress in these subjects than the national average.
The national average for English progress this year is 92 per cent and 90 per cent for maths. Schools that fail to reach this threshold are at risk of being closed and turned into academies.
At Great Malvern Primary School in Malvern, 62 per cent of pupils achieved level four in English, 62 per cent in maths and 47 per cent in both – a fall from 53 per cent last year. Headteacher Paul Jackson-Read said: “All our pupils made good progress but unfortunately we weren’t able to topple over into the combined score.
“It was just a unique year with strange combinations of needs and children.”
At St Matthias CE Primary School, Malvern Link, 60 per cent achieved the benchmark in English, 60 per cent in maths, but only 45 per cent in both.
Headteacher Claire Davies said: “We’re really proud of all our children and what they have achieved.
“When you have got small year groups, it does make it very difficult.
“The percentages work against us, they don’t reflect the progress and achievement the children made. We have got lots of programmes in place and we’re going from strength to strength.”
At Birchen Coppice Primary School, Kidderminster, 76 per cent of pupils achieved level four in English, 61 per cent in maths and 58 per cent in both English and maths – a huge improvement compared with last year when just 22 per cent of pupils achieved the benchmark in both English and maths.
Headteacher Liane Billingsley said the school had received its highest ever reading level.
She said: “All the agencies at the school are very happy with that improvement. The children, staff and parents have all worked very hard to get there.
"Our reading result is our best ever, that then has an impact on everything else. We’ve had a massive push on reading.
“We’ve just got to keep this going and hopefully this year we’ll get over that floor target.”
Overall in Worcestershire, 83 per cent of pupils achieved level four in English, 81 per cent in maths and 77 per cent in both.
Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for education and skills, Councillor Jane Potter, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that primary attainment at level four in English and maths have increased by four per cent, from 73 per cent to 77 per cent across Worcestershire as a whole between 2011 and 2012.
“We are also delighted to see excellent progress has been recorded individually for English and maths, which reflects the hard work of teachers and pupils in the county. This is the best performance in the last four years.”
...and we're tops as well!
A WORCESTER primary school is among the top 200 schools in the country thanks to its high key stage 2 SATS results.
Pupils at our Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Primary School in St John’s, Worcester, scored an average point score of 31.2. Headteacher Gwen Fennell said: “We were thrilled with the results in July and all our school staff work collaboratively to ensure all our pupils have access to a varied and exciting curriculum. I would also like to thank parents for their help and support. The pupils and staff are to be congratulated.”
There was also great news for Cranham Primary School, Warndon, Worcester, which was named among the most improved primary schools in the country. The school has seen the number of pupils achieving level four in both English and maths improve continuously since 2009.
Between 2009 and 2012 the percentage has improved by 24 per cent, from 58 per cent to 82 per cent.
Headteacher Gareth Morgan said: “I think the two key drivers have been curriculum innovation and more focused tracking of pupil attainment. It’s a recognition of how hard our children work and how capable they are.
“Five children out of 38 – that’s 13 per cent – of our year six got a level six in maths, which is something like you should get at the end of year 10. We’ve never had that before.”