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Tuesday, January 27, 1998 Published at 09:09 GMT


Schools 'doing better'
image: [ A testing time in class for pupils and schools ]
A testing time in class for pupils and schools

Primary school performance tables have had a "galvanising effect" on teachers, according to senior government sources.

The BBC's Sue Littlemore explains the pros and cons of school league tables (2'04")
The tables show that more than twice as many English school pupils achieved top marks in English, maths and science tests in 1997 than in 1996.

Some of the biggest leaps were achieved by schools that in 1996 recorded the worst performances in the country.

[ image: Bottom of the table]
Bottom of the table
A senior government source said: "It is clear that the combination of targets and the publication of results have an important effect in galvanising schools to improve on their previous results."

The 1997 tables, published on Tuesday, show the results of tests in maths, English and science taken by 11-year-olds last summer.

For the first time they were published by local authorities instead of central government.

Education minister Estelle Morris says the government is looking for further improvement (2'46")
Education minister Estelle Morris said: "Parents look to local authorities for information about local schools.

"This year parents have the information two months earlier than last year and in many cases they have more information than ever before."

Figures show that schools in Rutland, Richmond-upon-Thames, Bury, and Lancashire, were the best performing.

At the bottom of the league table were the London boroughs of Newham and Hackney, and Sandwell, in the West Midlands.

In 1996, Grange Primary, in Bermondsey, southeast London, was bottom of the league in England, with an aggregate of only 16 from its English, maths and science scores. In the 1997 tests it scored 86.

This year's "worst" school was Arnhem Wharf Primary School, on the Isle of Dogs in Tower Hamlets, east London, where only six per cent of pupils achieved the expected level in English and maths, and none made the grade in science.

[ image: Head teacher Dave Dobson: school success]
Head teacher Dave Dobson: school success
Some areas, such as Hartlepool, recorded big improvements on 1996 statistics.

At Kingsley school, in Hartlepool, more than 80% of pupils reached level four, the expected grade for 11-year-olds, compared with just over 50% last year.

Head teacher Dave Dobson said: "We did it with good quality teachers. They planned very well and focused on literacy. Struggling children were given extra support."

More than 13,000 primary schools from 125 of the 132 English local education authorities appear on the published tables.

Overall, 39 schools saw 100% of their children achieve the expected grade four level in all three subjects - up from 15 last year.

Five managed the feat for the second year in succession.

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