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New data places a number of West Norfolk schools among country's 'strugglers'

By Lynn News Reporter

New league tables have named 11 primary schools in our area that did not meet the Government’s floor standard for performance in 2017-18.

The data from the Department of Education places these schools among the 364 state-funded mainstream primary schools in England that missed the measure.

The standard expects pupils to achieve scores of at least 100 in their Key Stage 2 exams.

Male Pupil At Desk Taking School Exam. (6061166)
Male Pupil At Desk Taking School Exam. (6061166)

The Government’s performance threshold is missed if pupils do not make enough progress across eight subjects, and particular weight is given to English and mathematics.

On the flip side, three primary schools in West Norfolk have been named among the top 10 in Norfolk, according to progress scores.

These were Eastgate Academy at number eight, Upwell Academy at nine and St Martin At Shouldham Church of England Primary Academy at joint 10th.

Linda Hothersall, principal at Eastgate Academy, said: “We are very pleased to be in the top 10 schools in Norfolk for progress.

“It is extremely important to us as a school that we continue to strive for excellence, having been graded as Outstanding in 2017, and these results show that the pupils, staff, parents and all other stakeholders are still working to achieve the very best outcomes.

“I am so proud of what the children have achieved and their hard work is an excellent example for the younger children in the school to follow.”

Elementary School Pupils Sitting Examination In Classroom. (6061183)
Elementary School Pupils Sitting Examination In Classroom. (6061183)

Haidee Norman, principal at Upwell Academy, said: “I am incredibly proud of the achievements at Upwell Academy, which has been a joint effort between children, staff and parents, not only in year 6 but the whole academy too.

“We all work hard but we have fun and enjoy our learning, and have made Upwell Academy a wonderful place to be.

“Since we joined the Eastern Multi Academy Trust in March 2017, we have gone from strength to strength and have really benefited from the support and expertise they provide us with. I look forward to an exciting year ahead.”

Despite the good news for these schools, the data shows that pupils across Norfolk achieved below average Key Stage 2 results for England.

Average scores of 104 in reading, 104 in grammar, punctuation and spelling and 103 in mathematics meant the local authority ranked 150th of England’s 152 authorities. This was a drop from 149th in 2016-17.

The 11 schools in our area named as not having met the government’s floor standard for performance in 2017-18 are Fakenham Junior School, Great Dunham Primary School, Heacham Junior School, Hunstanton Primary School, Middleton Church of England Primary Academy, Reffley Academy, Snettisham Primary School, St Edmund’s Academy, Walpole Highway Primary School, Watlington Community Primary School and Wimbotsham and Stow Community School.

The Lynn News contacted these schools for comment, but just two responses have been received at the time of going to press.

A spokeswoman for Middleton Church of England Primary Academy said the data may look poor, but for many of the pupils it “was not a disaster by any means”.

“For those children, I’m not concerned about league tables. For some of them, sitting the test and completing the test was an achievement,” she said.

“And they have had a successful transition to secondary school.

“This is a picture of a rapidly improving school.”

She said the school has had good results in a number of other areas and has recently come out of special measures.

“It’s not all about the data,” she added.

Leanne Jarrett, school business manager at Great Dunham Primary School, said: “Reading and writing results for Year 6 in 2017-18 were broadly in line with national standards.

“Unfortunately, maths results weren’t – a small number of children missed the 100 by one scaled score point.

“We have identified key focus areas for teaching and learning and have joined a Maths Hub programme which brings together mathematics education professionals in a collaborative national network, to develop and spread excellent practice.

“Adopting this mastery approach will help to ensure better outcomes in 2019 for the benefit of all pupils.”

The progress scores from the Department of Education found the East of England and the East Midlands to have the highest percentage of negatively performing schools.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said although improvement at Key Stage 2 continues to be a challenge in the county, the authority is offering extra support to schools where needed to further improve performance.

He said the results released show an improvement at Key Stage 2, as 72 per cent of Norfolk pupils have reached the expected standard in reading and 71 per cent in mathematics, compared to 69 per cent in both subjects in 2017.

In writing 75 per cent of pupils achieved the expected standard, the same as in 2017.

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