Four west Suffolk primary schools in league table bottom ten while none feature at the top


- Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

League tables for primary schools in west Suffolk have shown many are failing to achieve national standards.

With four inside the worst performing ten in Suffolk, none in top ten and just two in the top 15, some headteachers have claimed the data does not give the full picture.

Houldsworth Valley Primary School in Newmarket, Tudor CofE School, Sudbury, St Christopher’s CofE Primary School in Red Lodge and Haverhill’s Clements Community Primary came 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 9th from bottom respectively.

Headteachers have told the EADT that the data is not the “be all and end all”, with small pupil numbers, extra year groups from the organisational review and other factors causing fluctuations.

Martin James is headteacher at Tudor CofE, which has been placed in special measures by Ofsted since November 2013. He said: “We are working very hard to make improvements. We have already come a long way since last year.

“The feedback from HMIs (Her Majesty’s Inspectors) has been positive. They [the league tables] are a measure, there are lots of different ways of measuring schools.

“They are part and parcel of modern 21st century education. Lots of people I know, particularly when choosing a primary school, are looking for the right environment, the ecology of the school. Results and tables come second to this.”

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The four lowest performing west Suffolk schools all have pupil numbers between 20 and 35.

Duncan Reed is acting head at St Christopher’s, who were put into special measures in November this year. He said: “We are already making improvements. We have support from the authority and the diocese. We have clear direction from Ofsted and we know what we need to work on.

“We have made small steps already, we have a long way to go I know, but we are working very hard towards our targets.”

Mr Reed, who has been acting head since the headteacher started sick leave in November, did agree that small pupil numbers meant one or two pupils had a larger impact on how a school ranks.

“They are not the be all and end all. We are a growing school, in a growing community, things can fluctuate massively,” he said.

“If you have one child who is above average, they leave and that has a big impact on the data. But I can’t honestly think of a fairer way.”

Clare Community Primary School was the highest ranked school in west Suffolk, coming 11th in the table.

Headteacher Joan Horner, despite being thrilled by the achievement, did also point to small pupil numbers meaning the data did not give the full picture.

She echoed the sentiments of Mr James, saying that a happy and healthy ethos at the school was her priority, while the league table position would hopefully follow.