ST MARGARET’s C of E Primary School in Toppesfield, Essex — a Victorian village school with just 63 pupils — was ranked first in this year’s primary-school league tables, announced on Thursday of last week. The tables are compiled from the results of the annual Year 6 attainment tests.
One in four of all primaries are C of E foundations, and a total of 88 C of E schools were among the 194 primaries in England where all Year 6 children (aged ten and 11) achieved the expected Level 4 in English and maths. Six were among the top ten. As well as St Margaret’s, they were: Clatford, Hampshire; Orchard Primary, Broughton Astley; Bladon Primary, Oxfordshire; St Mary’s Primary, York; and Ashhurst Primary, West Sussex.
At St Margaret’s, the six pupils in Year 6 achieved level 5, the standard aimed at by 14-year-olds. The head teacher, Kim Hall, said that the secret of the voluntary aided school’s success was its strong Christian values and the strong support received from the local community. “We all — pupils and staff — care for each other, and we’re very much part of the community.”
Fifty-six C of E schools were among the 199 primaries with the lowest results, where fewer than 38 per cent of Year 6 children achieved Level 4. Two of these, Barrington, Cambridgshire, and Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire, were among the ten lowest achievers: only 14 per cent of Year 6 pupils achieved Level 4.
The director of education for Ely diocese, Canon Tim Elbourne, said: “Schools in Ely diocese scored near the top and near the bottom of the league tables. A significant factor is that these are very small schools, with Year 6 cohorts of eight or fewer; so the performance and circumstances of a handful of children can have a huge bearing on the statistics from year to year. We are confident that Barrington is, and will remain, a good school.”
Barrington had recently received a Healthy School Award.
The director of education for Oxford diocese, Anne Davey, said that, while pupils at Sutton Courtenay had made good progress in English, some had failed to reach the required standard in maths. The school was working with advisers to improve in maths. OFSTED inspectors had praised pupils’ spiritual and moral understanding, she said.