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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 December 2006, 00:37 GMT
The best and worst results
North Cheshire's head, Norma Massel
North Cheshire's proud head, Norma Massel - constantly striving
High expectations typify the educational approaches of the stars of this year's primary school tables.

Head teacher Norma Massel said she had expected her school to do well, as the staff and pupils strove consistently to work hard.

It is an attitude that has put North Cheshire Jewish Primary School on top of the BBC News league table this year for Key Stage 2 attainment.

The school is avowedly Zionist and promotes a "traditional Jewish education" - which includes learning Hebrew.

We are trying to improve and motivate our pupils all the time
Top head teacher Norma Massel
As a result, it does not tend to appeal to children from other faiths or none.

Mrs Massel says being a faith school does have some influence, especially regarding discipline, moral teaching, family commitment and community - creating "a feeling of safety and security" for the pupils.

The school's website readily acknowledges that its location, near Cheadle in Cheshire, puts it in "a leafy suburb" of south Manchester.

The head said she was very pleased and proud of her pupils.

She feels they are well motivated and she gets a lot of support from their families and the school's governors.

But there is no resting on laurels.

"We are trying to improve and motivate our pupils all the time," she said.

North Cheshire Jewish was one of 209 schools where all the Year 6 children achieved the expected level for their age.

Not only that but almost all reached the next level, expected of 14-year-olds, and it had the highest average point score this year of 32.8.

The lowest, 20.3, was recorded by the children at Upper Horfield Primary School, Bristol.

But the school with the lowest score out of 300, landing it the label of this year's worst, was Hersden Community Primary School in Canterbury, Kent on 54.

'Delighted'

A similar striving for improvement and motivation is found at the school which showed the highest "value added" score this year - a measure of the progress children have made during their time there.

The achievement is all the more striking because when Julie Evans took over Cobourg Primary in Southwark, London, it had been placed in "special measures" - judged by Ofsted to be failing its pupils.

"I would like to say everyone at the school is absolutely delighted," she said.

"It has been a hard struggle since we were put into special measures two years ago but it has been a real team effort from both the teachers and the pupils.

"I think we have successful by raising the expectations of what the children can achieve and also raising their self-esteem."

Her recipe:

  • improving teaching quality
  • fostering a calm environment in which the teachers and pupils feel supported and valued
  • getting the children to believe in themselves, telling them that we believe in them
  • inspiring them, telling them anything is within their reach
  • stressing second best is not good enough.

Cobourg's value added score was 105.4. The lowest this year, 94.2, was at Westminster Primary School in Ellesmere, Cheshire.

Small classes

Another school with reason to celebrate as the tables are published is St Anne's RC Primary School in Ancoats, Manchester.

It headed the Department for Education and Skills list of 100 schools which had made the greatest improvement between 2003 and 2006.

Its score out of 300 went from 100 to 273, a rise of 173.

We may not have the advantages of schools in the suburbs but look what these kids can do
Head teacher Suzanne Walker
Head teacher Suzanne Walker said: "We are fortunate to have small classes at the moment.

"The staff are passionate about what they do and about the children - we can make it a fantastic time together.

"When we have a good time together, we can do anything because ultimately it is the people who have made this improvement."

Belief came into it again. The drive to change things had involved improving discipline, pride and academic standards by making the children believe they could do better.

Parents have even taken part in conflict resolution classes, where they helped draw up peaceful solutions to problems.

Ms Walker said: "We are really proud and pleased with this result. It is great for our children and our community.

"They can actually believe they do attend a good school. I hear them talking about it with great pride.

"We may not have the advantages of schools in the suburbs but look what these kids can do - and that should be the attitude, just look what these kids can do."

Ups and downs

Year-on-year comparisons are not possible for all schools. This year there were 13,500 with valid published results, of which 13,020 can be compared with last year.

Of those, 6,558 (50.4%) had better results, 293 (2.3%) the same and 6,169 (47.4%) worse.

The range of change on the aggregate score out of 300 - of the percentages of pupils attaining Level 4 in each subject - was from an improvement of 140 to a worsening of 147.

One school - Highfields Primary School, Doncaster - had results in English annulled by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority for alleged malpractice, though it has appealed.

Among local authorities, the one with the highest aggregate score was - as last year - Richmond upon Thames, albeit with a lower total of 265 (against 267 in 2005).

The worst - again - was Hackney, but with an improved 210 (up from 209).





SECONDARY SCHOOLS
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NATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS


ANALYSIS

PRIMARY SCHOOLS 2006
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NATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

ANALYSIS

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do not publish tables

SEE ALSO
More schools judged 'inadequate'
22 Nov 06 |  Education
Raise test results, councils told
03 Nov 06 |  Education
Primary school test target missed
24 Aug 06 |  Education
Test focus 'hits learning skills'
09 Aug 06 |  Education
Testing 'should be intensified'
19 Jul 06 |  Education

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