Suffolk: League tables ‘spell end’ for middle schools

PLANS to scrap the three-tier education system in Suffolk will be stepped up after just two middle schools made it into the top of a Key Stage Two results table.

Only Stoke by Nayland Middle School and Worlingham Middle School make it into the top 30 in a league table of Key Stage Two schools in Suffolk released yesterday.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for children, schools, and young people’s services, said the findings proved the county should scrap middle schools.

“This is completely the reason why we must finish the Schools Organisation Review (SOR) as soon as we can,” he said.

“There’s nothing wrong with these schools, they are top performers, but, unfortunately, we have schools in much more difficult parts of the county doing a lot better in the two-tier system.”

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Results published in August showed the county’s 11-year-olds were falling behind the national average in English, reading, writing and maths.

A full breakdown of individual schools’ performance ranked by the percentage of pupils achieving level four in both English and maths was released by the Department of Education yesterday.

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St Mary’s Church of England Primary School in Woodbridge topped the table with 100 per cent of students achieving level four in both English and maths.

Henley Primary School also reached 100 per cent as did All Saints Primary in Laxfield, all of which were ranked in the top 200 primary schools in England.

Alton Park Junior School and Ravenscroft Primary in Clacton joined Whitton Community Primary School in Ipswich, Wix and Wrabness Primary and Sandlings Primary in Woodbridge in the country’s bottom 200 primary schools in the table.

Worlingham Middle School came in at 21st in the Suffolk chart, followed by Stoke By Nayland Middle School in 23rd place.

“There are lots of factors but this trend has been there for many years,” Mr Newman said. “People say we are causing all this upset and disturbance and it is making things worse but it’s not like that.

“These schools have done incredibly well but the three-tier schools performance hasn’t come up to scratch at all.”

Parents, staff and students across Suffolk have fought plans to scrap middle schools and move to a two-tier primary and secondary model popular across the rest of the country.

David Livingstone, headteacher at Stoke by Nayland Middle, defended his school’s performance, saying the results proved the three-tier system works.

“We are very pleased we are in the top 30,” he said. “It reflects the hard work of staff and pupils.

“The results justify keeping the three-tier system.”

Kyrsty Beattie, headteacher at Kingsfleet Primary, Felixstowe, said her school’s lowly league position of second lowest in the country had come about because of the school’s honesty in admitting it had made a slight error in the way it held one of the tests.

During the English reading test, teachers had given the pupils five minutes less than they should have had – and after Mrs Beattie told examiners, they felt the test should not count.

“It was only a slight error, not a huge one, and I could have kept hush about it and said nothing – we had given the children less time, not more, to do the test,” said Mrs Beattie.

“But I believe in honesty no matter what the consequences.

“Every school in the country is following the same guidelines and you can only compare fairly if everyone has done it correctly.”

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