Essex schools vie with nation's best

ESSEX is home to some of the best schools in the country, official league tables released today reveal.Pupils are performing above the national average in English, maths and science in Key Stage 3 curriculum tests for 14-year-olds, while a number of the county's schools were also rated in the top 200 nationwide.

ESSEX is home to some of the best schools in the country, official league tables released today reveal.

Pupils are performing above the national average in English, maths and science in Key Stage 3 curriculum tests for 14-year-olds, while a number of the county's schools were also rated in the top 200 nationwide.

And the school at the top of the county's list, King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford, was again named as one of the best in England.

Also on the leading national list were the county's three other selective schools - Chelmsford County High School, which came second in Essex, Colchester Royal Grammar, the third placed school in the county, and Colchester County High School for Girls - which dropped from second last year to fourth this time.


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Dr Mike Walker, headteacher at King Edward VI Grammar, said the results confirmed his belief in the standard of teaching and the attitude of the pupils.

He said: “It only confirms what I believe - that we have some outstanding teaching going on and the students are responding.

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“Progress at Key Stage 3 is exceptional and it's very, very gratifying to have feedback. It is about exceptional staff and also the students working with them and being so responsive.”

The results are from tests taken in May 2006 in English, maths and science, and show that overall standards in Essex schools at Key Stage 3 have steadily risen to above the national average in all three core subjects.

Stephen Castle, Essex County Council's cabinet member for education, said: “I am extremely pleased with these results, which show there are some significant areas of strength. The quality of teaching and learning at Key Stage 3 continues to improve across the county.

“I am delighted by the progress that many of our schools have shown and these results are testament to the outstanding efforts of the pupils, teachers and parents of Essex, and I would like to congratulate them for all their hard work.”

However, there were mixed fortunes for other schools in the county.

While some continued to climb the table and continue their success, others showed signs of a lack of improvement and results that were well below the national average.

Chelmer Valley High School has been identified as one of the 200 most improved schools at this level in the country.

A rise from 36th to 15th place in Essex was great news for the school, and headteacher David Franklin said: “It is a combination of hard work on behalf of the students, support from the parents and the determination of the staff to do their very best for every child.”

Paul Sharpe, deputy headteacher at Colchester County High School for Girls, said: “We're really pleased with our results, but we tend to focus rather more on the exams that are important for careers - A levels and GCSEs.

“We're much more concerned with the results of which standards will be judged when pupils go into the world of work.”

Notley High School in Braintree climbed ten places up the rankings to 24th place.

Headmaster Simon Thompson said: “I would like to particularly congratulate the current year 10 students who took the tests last year. We do have a particular work ethos in that year group, reflected in the table.”

He said it was a valuable check on the progress made by children in their first three years at secondary school, but their progress over five years remained more important.

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