EDUCATION bosses have hailed the latest Sats results as the best in a decade.
The number of 11-year-olds reaching the standards expected of them in English and maths has risen across Hartlepool, County Durham and Stockton, according to figures released by the Department for Education (DfE).
All the area’s authorities have seen a higher percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard (level 4) or above in the national curriculum.
The percentage of youngsters in Hartlepool making the grade in the two subjects, which are seen together as a key indicator of performance, rose from 77 to 81.
But Government chiefs say the Key Stage 2 figures are hard to compare to 2011 results due to changes in the arrangements for recording writing standards, as they are now based on teacher assesments rather than tests.
Councillor Cath Hill, the council’s children’s services portfolio holder, said: “This is a stunning achievement by our primary schools and I’d like to offer my congratulations to everyone who has played a part in making this possible: pupils, teachers and other school staff, parents, governors and support staff in the council’s children’s services department.
“Given the challenges facing many of our children as they set out on their lives, the rate of progress they are making in school is nothing short of phenomenal.
“It is clear that Hartlepool’s primary schools are going from strength-to-strength and they are providing a very good start in life to all of their pupils.
“However, it is now vital that we do not become complacent, and we aim to build on this tremendous achievement by continuing to strive for the best possible results in the future.”
Durham saw a three per cent rise in pupils achieving level 4 in English and maths, moving up from 77 to 80 per cent, while results for Stockton, which includes Billingham, Wolviston and parts of Wynyard, improved slightly from 79 to 80 per cent.
The rate of those passing level 4 maths and English nationally was 80 per cent, six per cent higher than the previous year.
Caroline O’Neill, head of education at Durham County Council, said: “We’re very pleased with this year’s Key Stage 2 results, which demonstrate the continuing trend of improvement in levels of achievement in County Durham’s primary schools.
“The results reflect the efforts of pupils, staff, parents and governors and all those involved are to be congratulated.”
This year, schools were no longer required to administer a writing test and submit it for external marking. As a result, measures based on teacher assessments were introduced for the first time.”
A DfE spokesman said: “There is evidence to support a real increase in the percentage of pupils achieving the expected level this year. However, as no information on writing teacher assessment is available for previous years and the writing sample test results are not directly comparable to test arrangements in previous years, the evidence for a real increase in attainment in writing is less strong.”
Elizabeth Truss, Minister for Education and Childcare, said: “The Government is committed to driving up standards by giving teachers more freedom, strengthening discipline and improving teacher quality.”