Celebration of top class test results

Sacred Heart RC Primary School on Hart Lane is celebrating after coming top in the SATS league table. Pictured are teachers Laura O'Neill (left) and Amanda Hansford with pupils (clockwise from bottom left) Noah Hill, Gabrielle Mahoney, Oliver Walker, Lillian Larkin, William Callaghan and Faith Starling.
Sacred Heart RC Primary School on Hart Lane is celebrating after coming top in the SATS league table. Pictured are teachers Laura O'Neill (left) and Amanda Hansford with pupils (clockwise from bottom left) Noah Hill, Gabrielle Mahoney, Oliver Walker, Lillian Larkin, William Callaghan and Faith Starling.

EDUCATION chiefs in Hartlepool and east Durham are celebrating after making the grade in the latest primary school league tables.

Figures for how the region’s 11-year-olds did in their SATS tests were released by the Government yesterday.

In Hartlepool, 26 out of 29 eligible primary schools surpassed the Government-set target for the proportion of pupils reaching the expected level in reading, writing and arithmetic.

Just three town primary schools failed to achieve the 60 per cent mark, but many scored well above the national average of 74 per cent.

Sacred Heart Primary School was top in the town with 96 per cent of pupils who sat the tests achieving the required standard or better in both English and maths.

It was closely followed by Kingsley Primary School with 95 per cent and Greatham CofE Primary School at 93 per cent.

Jeff Cook, acting headteacher at Sacred Heart in Hart Lane, Hartlepool, said: “Naturally, we are delighted with the excellent results our Year 6 children achieved for Key Stage 2 SATs in July.

“The figure of 96 per cent, Level 4 and above in English and maths combined, is a reflection of the hard work by the staff, pupils and governors in our drive to raise standards of attainment and progress, not forgetting of course, the wonderful support we receive from our parents.

“Here at Sacred Heart we acknowledge that strong results are important, however, our drive to provide an education where all our children are safe, happy and making progress remains our main priority.”

Overall, Hartlepool did better than the national average with 77 per cent of pupils reaching the expected standard in the three Rs.

Councillor Chris Simmons, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I am delighted and reassured by these figures which show that the vast majority of our primary schools are performing well.

“However, we acknowledge there is no room for complacency and that there are still challenges ahead.”

Rift House, Grange and Owton Manor were the only primaries not to achieve the expected level with 38, 50, and 49 per cent respectively.

But all have had positive Ofsted reports in the last couple of years.

Jayne Laycock, Rift House headteacher, put the disappointing result down to a combination of factors including a staff restructure, illness and the small number of pupils who sat the exams.

Mrs Laycock said: “We believe that the figure for 2011 showing that only 38 per cent of our pupils reached Level 4 or above in both English and maths is a one-off and does not reflect our overall performance in recent years.

“Indeed, Department of Education statistics show that the corresponding figures for 2008 and 2009 were 67 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.

“We now have a settled and more experienced teaching staff, we have received support from Hartlepool Borough Council and we have been working in partnership with other schools that have experienced similar problems in the past.

“Our monitoring systems show that good progress is being made and we are confident that the school will continue to improve in the future.”

In east Durham, Sedgefield Primary School and Howletch Lane Primary School, Peterlee, achieved the highest scores with 89 per cent of pupils reaching the expected standard in both English and maths.

Only two schools fell below the 60 per cent target. They were Acre Rigg Junior school, in Peterlee and Cotsford Junior School, in Horden, with 54 and 55 per cent respectively.