County makes the grade in league tables

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The majority of primary schools in the area have met or beaten government expectations in reading, writing and maths.

The final primary school league tables of 2015 for Key Stage 2 were published today (Thursday, December 10) and East Sussex as a local authority matched the national average for the second year running.

The results mean 80 per cent of 10/11-year-olds in the county achieved the expected level of competence or higher in the three Rs.

Nine schools saw every single one of their Year 6 students make the grade, a feat two of them were repeating for the second year in a row.

The nine were: Barcombe Primary, in Lewes, Blackboys Primary, in Uckfield, East Hoathly Primary, in Lewes, Framfield Primary, in Uckfield, Herstmonceux Primary, in Hailsham, Newick Primary, in Lewes, Punnetts Town Primary, in Heathfield, Rotherfield Primary, in Crowborough, and St Mark’s Primary, in Uckfield. Barcombe and Blackboys were the two-time winners.

At the other end of the table, White House Academy and Marshlands Academy, in Hailsham, achieved 44 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.

Pells CE Primary, in Lewes, saw only 50 per cent of their Year 6 pupils achieve the expected level.

But, like every other small school, so few children took the Key Stage 2 tests that each child’s performance accounted for a large percentage of the score. An absence or a child having an ‘off’ day meant a large change in the final percentage.

One of the smaller schools which recorded a particularly impressive improvement was High Hurstwood CE Primary, in Uckfield, which saw 94 per cent of its Year 6 children meet or beat the expected level of attainment.

The score was a huge increase on the 58 per cent of 2014.

Another Uckfield school – Fletching Primary – more than quadrupled its 2014 score, rising from 22 per cent to 89 per cent. The feat was matched by Chiddingly Primary, in Lewes, which went from 20 per cent to 83 per cent.

According to figures from the Department for Education, High Hurstwood had 16 pupils eligible to Key Stage 2 assessment, while Fletching had nine and Chiddingly had six.

Fletching headteacher Lorraine Kirkwood said: “We’re obviouosly delighted with them. The teachers worked hard, the pupils worked hard and were pleased with the difference in the results.”

Speaking about the relevance of league tables, Mrs Kirkwood said: “I think league tables have their place but I don’t think they are the be all and end all because the influence of the number of pupils has a huge impact.

“If I had had two children miss a test, I’d have been down in the 70 per cent area.”

Nationally, boys were seen to be gaining ground on girls when it came to the number achieving the average level of attainment in reading, writing and maths.

In East Sussex, though, that trend was reversed, with 83 per cent of girls making the grade and only 77 per cent of boys, compared to 80 per cent and 76 per cent respectively last year.

It was a different story when it came to the higher achievers.

While the girls still out-performed the boys at all levels, the gap was reduced among those primary school children who had achieved a level of competency expected from young teenagers.

As for East Sussex’s performance as a whole, the local authority matched the national average for the second year running – 78 per cent in 2014 and 80 per cent in 2015.

The figures showed the authority had improved by 9 per cent since 2012, when it failed to reach the target.

A county council spokesman said: “We are pleased to see a really strong performance by the children of East Sussex in their Key Stage 2 tests once again this year.”

Explaining that the high standards achieved stood the children in good stead as they started their secondary school education, he added: “It’s particularly pleasing to see that there have been improvements across the board in the number of pupils achieving level four, the benchmark standard, or above, in reading, writing and maths.

“The improvement we’ve seen shows that the East Sussex school improvement strategy, Excellence For All, is working and supporting the improvement in outcomes for youngsters across the county.

“I’d like to thank head teachers, governing bodies and all staff for the hard work and dedication they’ve put in over the past year.”

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