Why a government minister wrote to congratulate this Hartlepool primary school

Ward Jackson Church of England VA Primary School Headteacher David Akers with his framed letter from the Secretary of State for Education. Picture by FRANK REID
Ward Jackson Church of England VA Primary School Headteacher David Akers with his framed letter from the Secretary of State for Education. Picture by FRANK REID

A high-achieving Hartlepool primary school received a welcomed surprise when government ministers wrote to them with congratulations over their pupils’ progress.

Ward Jackson Primary School, in Clark Street, was buzzing after receiving the letter in the post this week from Education Secretary Damian Hinds and Nick Gibb, the Minister for State School Standards.

Ward Jackson Primary Church of England VA Primary School assistant Head Joanne Campbell reading with pupil Loudjaine Sendid. Picture by FRANK REID

Ward Jackson Primary Church of England VA Primary School assistant Head Joanne Campbell reading with pupil Loudjaine Sendid. Picture by FRANK REID

They praised staff and pupils after they were among only the top 3% of schools in England for their results in last year’s Key Stage 2 tests.

And Ward Jackson had the greatest progress in reading of any school in the country.

The assessments measure pupils’ progress in the ‘three Rs’ of reading, writing and maths between the ages of seven and 11.

The letter reads: “We would like to congratulate you, your staff and your pupils on the very high level of progress that pupils in your school demonstrated in the reading, writing and mathematics Key Stage 2 assessments last year.”

It added: “We want to equip every child with the fluency in reading, writing and mathematics necessary to prepare them for a successful secondary school education and beyond, and your school has provided this.

“Thank you for producing such high standards through your hard work and professionalism, and congratulations again to you and your staff for all you have achieved.”

A child’s average progress is measured with a 0 points score. But Ward Jackson’s scores for writing and maths were 6.4 and 8.3 respectively.

Its reading score was the highest in the country at a very impressive 11.6.

Headteacher David Akers said: “We knew our progress measures were the best in town and one of the best in the country combined but the letter came as a complete surprise.

“It is nice to get recognition for all he hard work that has been going on and continues to go on about changing lives.

“The letter acknowledges that we are giving the children the best opportunity in life and learning, and just fulfils our vision statement we have got in school.”
Mr Akers added the pupils’ high performance in reading, writing, and maths also helps boost their learning in other areas including arts, PE, science and social activities outside of school such as regular visits to a local care home.