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Tuesday, 14 March, 2000, 14:51 GMT
Blair honours improved schools
class at Calverton Primary School
The schools have made huge improvements in just four years
The UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has paid tribute to the work of 36 schools identified as the most improved in England.

Representatives from the schools, which have achieved their improvements in just four years, were invited to Downing Street for a reception in honour of their achievements.

Mr Blair gave particular praise to what he described as the "truly remarkable" progress at three schools - Calverton Primary in Newham, east London, St Clement's Secondary in King's Lynn, and Linwood Special School in Bournemouth.

Sharon Hollows talking to a pupil
Sharon Hollows has worked hard at driving up standards
Calverton Primary School has seen its score across the three subjects in the national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds rise from 45 in 1996 to 269 last year.

Last summer, 93% of the pupils achieved the expected level in maths, up from only 8% in 1996. In English, 78% of pupils reached the target level, compared with 16% four years ago.

St Clement's Secondary School has more than doubled the number of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C, from 27% in 1996, to 58% last year.

The head teachers of the two schools, Sharon Hollows and Richard Wealthall, received awards from Mr Blair before a seminar on raising education achievement.

Linwood Special School head teacher Stephen Brown also received an award in recognition of the school's "outstanding achievement" in special education.

Entrepreneurs

Mr Blair presented all the head teachers at the reception with awards, and told them they were the entrepreneurs of the new century, maximising the human capital in the nation's children.

"During the 1980s, there used to be great receptions here for people in business and entrepreneurs," he said.

"I would like to think today that we are able to congratulate people who are entrepreneurs and risk-takers in the education field.

"That's what all of you have done in your different ways.

"The work that you do for your schools and for the country is every bit as important as what happens in business.

Before the reception, the heads of the three schools singled out by the prime minister gave presentations on school improvement.

Ms Hollows commented on what she described as "initiative overload" from the government, and said she "threw a lot of paperwork in the bin".

"If my management team don't think something will improve standards in our school, we disregard it," she said.

But she said she was "delighted" to receive the award, and was pleased that it had gone to an inner city school "where people didn't used to have high expectations for children. We have proved they can do better."

Full list of schools

The schools honoured at the reception were:

Primary:

Calverton Primary School, Newham
St Paul's Catholic Primary School, Prenton, Wirral
The Deans Primary School, Salford
St Brigid's Primary School, Knowsley
Woodingdean Primary School, Brighton and Hove
Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School, Sefton
All Saints CE VA Junior, Infant and Nursery School, Wakefield
Friars Primary School, Southwark
St Patrick's RC School, Maryport, Cumbria
Roman Road Primary School, Blackburn
Seacroft Grange Primary School, :Leeds
Pearson Primary School, City of Kingston upon Hull
St Pius X RC Primary School, Bristol
The Grove Primary School, Durham
Old Palace Primary School, Tower Hamlets
Bishop Bilsborrow Memorial RC Primary School, Manchester


Secondary:

St Clement's Secondary School, King's Lynn
The Maplesden Noakes School, Maidstone, Kent
The Magna Carta School, Staines, Surrey
Gordon's School, Woking, Surrey
St Joseph's RC High School. Rochdale
Enfield County School, Enfield
The Nobel School, Stevenage, Herts
Perins Community School, Alresford, Hants
Colmers Farm School, Birmingham
Northfleet School for Girls, Gravesend, Kent
The Leigh City Technology College, Dartford, Kent
Hyde Technology School, Tameside
Katharine Lady Berkeley School, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire
Thomas Telford School, Telford
St Bonaventure's RC School, Newham


Special:

Linwood School, Bournemouth
Children's Hospital School, Leicester
Westlands School, Stockton on Tees
West Oaks School, Leeds
Cambridge School, Hammersmith and Fulham


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08 Dec 99 | Education
School just keeps getting better
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