STAFF and pupils at a primary school are celebrating winning national praise.
A Government Minister has given top marks to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary RC Primary in Billingham for its work with disadvantaged children.
The Rievaulx Avenue school won the praise for being in the top 150 schools in the country for attainment reached and progress made by students from more disadvantaged backgrounds.
John Lyons, headteacher at the school, said the success was down to a lot of hard work by everyone involved with Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary.
The school was congratulated in a letter from David Laws, Minister for Schools, for the sustained performance of its disadvantaged pupils over a three-year period from 2011 to 2014.
Mr Laws said the results showed the school had been highly effective in educating disadvantaged pupils, giving them a good start in life and preparing them well for secondary school.
In his letter, he said: “I would like to congratulate your staff, governors, parents and pupils for their hard work and success, and thank you for your leadership in making such a difference to the future success of your pupils.”
Mr Lyons said they were thrilled to be given the recognition.
He said: “It was delightful to receive such an accolade which recognises the outstanding work which goes on in our school.
“The letter acknowledges that since 2011-2014 we have continued to consistently improve progress and attainment for pupils across our school.”
Mr Lyons said the school – situated just off the Seal Sands Road, which has 190 pupils plus a 26-place nursery – is in an area of mixed affluence and the recognition is for the work done to support pupils receiving the Pupil Premium.
He said: “I think it just goes back to the basic principles of working hard every day. Learning from mistakes and making improvements.”