THE number of primary schools in Essex meeting national performance targets has risen in the last year, figures reveal.

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A total of 79% of year 6 pupils achieved Level 4 in their Key Stage 2 tests in both English and maths exams taken this summer, compared to 74% in 2011.

The league tables, which were published by the Department for Education yesterday, show Essex is in line with the national average of 79%.

Individually the results were 85% for English and 84% for maths. Essex appears approximately half way down the table, alongside Dorset and Hounslow.

Essex also outperformed neighbouring counties including Suffolk, which was ranked in the bottom three, and Norfolk which was in the bottom 11.

Only 74% of pupils in Suffolk achieved a Level 4 or above, while in Norfolk the figure was 75%.

Two schools in Colchester were among those ranked in the top 200 in the whole country, including Copford Church of England Primary, where every pupil achieved a Level 4 or above in their exams and were also placed fourth best in Essex.

At Hamilton Primary School, 98% of pupils achieved the same result and were placed 15th best in the county.

However, Frobisher Primary School in Clacton was placed among the bottom 200 schools in the country, with 39% - a 15% decline compared to last year.

Alton Park Junior School in Clacton was also placed in the bottom 200, with 57% - a 2% improvement compared to 2011.

Essex County Councillor Stephen Castle, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education praised schools for their imroved results.

He said: “I would like to congratulate all teachers, parents and pupils for their hard work and achievements in securing such an improvement in results of 11 year olds.

“It is vitally important that learning at primary school is of the highest standard to ensure children are given the best possible start in life. These results show that we are moving closer towards our aspiration of a truly world class education system in Essex.”

But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said league tables were too “narrow” and fail to take other factors into consideration.

Jerry Glazier, general secretary of the Essex branch of the NUT, said: “We need to out the results into context. The whole issue about league tables is of some concern because we don’t think it’s the best or fairest way to judge progress in schools. It’s too narrow.

“They can have a very negative impact on schools because it does not take into nconsideration the huge challenges they face.

“It’s about kids making progress and being taught in a safe and vibrant environment where the needs of the child are being addressed, not just making crude judgements about how successful a school is.

“These results wil give comfort to those reposnsible for education but that’s all it does. I am far more interested in looking at other issues - school sizes, making sure schools are recruiting the right teachers, what resources schools have and if they are able to provide a broad and balanced curriculum.”

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