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REVEALED - The best and worst performing primary schools in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 08:58 20 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:21 20 December 2018

Bethany Havers with some of her students from top performing All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Bethany Havers with some of her students from top performing All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

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New data has shown the primary schools with the best and worst 'progress' scores in Suffolk for 2017/18.

Bethany Havers from All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield near Framlingham Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYBethany Havers from All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield near Framlingham Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

New data has shown the primary schools with the best and worst ‘progress’ scores in Suffolk for 2017/18.

The most recent Key Stage 2 results show many Suffolk schools are falling far short of government standards – while the county as a whole lags behind the national average.

The data is based on scores reflecting pupils’ progress between KS1 and KS2 exams in three key subjects, taken at the ages of seven and 11.

On average, Suffolk schools scored below the national average for progress in reading, writing and maths – while the percentage of pupils meeting the expected standard also fell short of minimum government expectations (65%).

The primary school with the best progress scores in Suffolk was All Saints Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School in Laxfield, with scores of 8.1 in reading, 6.6 in writing and 6.5 in maths – putting it “well above average” in every category.

Handford Hall Primary School in Ipswich was ranked second, while Eyke Church of England Primary School in Woodbridge came in third.

Meanwhile, the school with the lowest progress scores in the county was Howard Community Primary School in Bury St Edmunds – with negative scores of -3.5 in reading, -11.3 in writing and -7.6 in maths.

These numbers were far below the national average, and both the writing and maths scores fell short of the minimum government standards.

What do ‘progress’ scores actually mean?

According to the official Government website, progress scores are calculated by comparing the key stage 2 results of pupils at one school with those of students across England who started with similar results at the end of key stage 1.

A score above zero means pupils made more progress, on average, than pupils across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 1.

A score below zero means pupils made less progress, on average, than pupils across England who got similar results at the end of key stage 1.

A negative progress score does not mean pupils have made no progress, or the school has failed, rather that pupils in the school made less progress than other pupils across England with similar results at the end of key stage 1.

The majority of schools have progress scores between -5 and +5.

This year, the minimum expected progress scores, set by the Department for Education, are -5 in reading, -5 in maths and -7 in writing.

Miss Havers with students (L-R) Tiggy, Olivia, Charlie and Edward from All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYMiss Havers with students (L-R) Tiggy, Olivia, Charlie and Edward from All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

What do the schools have to say?

Melanie Barrow, headteacher at All Saints CEVA Primary School, said was “absolutely delighted” to come top of the table.

“Our Year 6 pupils, their teacher Bethany Havers and teaching assistants worked incredibly hard last year,” she said

Bethany Havers with her class at All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield who have made the best progress of all primary schools in Suffolk Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYBethany Havers with her class at All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield who have made the best progress of all primary schools in Suffolk Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

“We are so proud of their achievement.”

Helena Marsh, executive principal of Chilford Hundred Education Trust, which took control of struggling Howard Community Primary School in September, said: “The school has experienced a number of significant challenges over the last few years. Our priority is to support the school to make significant and sustainable improvements, the impact of which will be reflected in future SATs scores and more broadly in the quality of children’s educational experiences.

“It is a shame that schools are judged, ranked and compared in such crude and misleading ways.”

A spokeswoman for REAch2, which runs Sprites Primary Academy, said the trust realised the school needs to improve, and has already put in place a number of significant changes.

Bethany Havers from All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYBethany Havers from All Saints CofE Primary School in Laxfield Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

“These are already having an impact and are setting Sprites on the right track to deliver the high-quality education that local families deserve,” the spokeswoman said.

“REAch2 is providing intensive support to help drive the changes that are needed, and we are confident that the improvements in teaching and learning will be reflected in the pupils’ results at the end of this academic year.”

Andrew Aalders-Dunthorne, principal and CEO of Consortium Academy Trust, which manages St Edmund’s Primary School, said while the end of KS2 results are an important measure for a school, he wished to emphasise the data is “‘a’ measure rather than ‘the’ measure” of good performance.

“A school is more than just SATs results,” he explained. “Saying that, it is our duty to ensure that children get the very best outcomes possible from their primary school.

“The results at St Edmund’s when compared nationally are poor, we must always be careful with relatively small cohorts of children about the conclusions that are drawn from these.

“The outcome was not a surprise to the school or the trust as we work closely in partnership to monitor progress, we are seeing last year’s result as an anomaly and a cumulation of a number of factors to create a perfect storm.

“I am confident that the school does and will continue to serve its community and children well. We are always striving to be better in what we do and continue to look at how we can create a positive learning environment for all our children on matter of ability.”

Martile Sills, acting headteacher at Bedfield CEVC Primary School, said the data may not reflect the true strengths of the school.

‘We are a very small school and this data was based on the results of a small sample group of only eight children,” she said.

“Although the calculated progress scores this year are lower than we would like them to be, in terms of attainment 63% of our pupils achieved at least the expected level across reading, writing and maths, which places us above the average for attainment in Suffolk, and close to national average.

“We have a dedicated team who are constantly working to achieve the best outcomes for our pupils. We have been very pleased with our success in the wider curriculum this year, particularly in sports and art.”

What does the Government have to say?

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said: “We want all children in Suffolk to get a high quality education, and it’s great to see that just under four out of five schools in the region are good or outstanding.

“However, we monitor school performance very closely and where schools are not delivering a sufficient education we will not hesitate to intervene.”

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