STAFF in eight Worcester schools were celebrating their success today after being rewarded for improving the performance of thousands of city children.

Between them, the teachers and support staff are responsible for boosting the achievements of more than 2,500 youngsters over the past three years.

Each school is set to receive between £5,000 and £10,000 to share between the staff as a cash bonus for good work.

The School Achievement Award rewards staff where pupil performance in 2000 was substantially better than in 1997.

Awards have also gone to schools which have seen Special Measures lifted.

Dines Green and Elbury Mount are two primary schools which have benefited for improving standards following poor inspections.

"It's great news," said Phil Evans, acting head of Dines Green Primary, speaking this morning.

"Dines Green has had a difficult time and, if this is an acknowledgement of the hard work by all people, then all should benefit."

Other schools celebrating the windfall are Cranham Primary, in Warndon, Northwick Manor Junior School, based in Northwick Road, Ronkswood Junior and Ronkswood Infant Schools, St Barnabas CE Primary, in Green Lane, and St George's CE Primary, in St George's Lane North.

Val Howard, headteacher of Cranham Primary, said the news was a wonderful surprise.

"It's great that we've got an award and that we and other Worcester schools have been recognised," said Mrs Howard.

The value of each award ranges from between £5,180 to £10,140 and is based on the number of pupils in the school. Cranham Primary has around 450 youngsters on its roll.

"I'm delighted for the teaching staff at these schools and the support staff who will all be eligible for a pay bonus," said Worcester MP Mr Foster, a member of the Commons' cross-party Education Select Committee.

"We're determined to drive up standards and reward these people who help drive up the standards."