Brighton and Hove schools are doing better than ever but attainment divide is still in evidence

The Argus: Sue Shanks, Brighton and Hove City Council children's and young people committee chairman Sue Shanks, Brighton and Hove City Council children's and young people committee chairman

For the second year in a row primary schools in Brighton and Hove have achieved record results.

School teachers’ “attention to details” has been cited as the key to the success.

The attainment league tables published this week look at the results of the Key Stage 2 exams – taken by pupils in the final year of primary school when they are aged 10 or 11.

They measure attainment in reading, writing and maths– in each of which, level four is seen as the benchmark.


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New hard-line Government standards state that schools with less than 60% of youngsters making the grade are judged as failing and face being taken over as academies.

In Brighton and Hove, Westdene Primary, in Bankside, was named the top performing school.

Of the 61 pupils last year 95% achieved the benchmark level four in reading, 98% in writing and 95% in maths.

Delighted headteacher Debbie Crossingham told The Argus the school encouraged children to aim high.

She said: "We are very proud of our pupils’ achievement and like all schools, we aim to provide a rich, exciting and stimulating curriculum to engage all our learners.

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“The attainment and progress of every individual pupil is carefully tracked and monitored and learning is personalised to respond to their needs. We encourage our children to aim high and make the most of every opportunity.”

Second best in the city was Balfour Primary School, in Balfour Road, where 98% or its 128 pupils achieved the benchmark in reading and writing.

Additionally 93% achieved level four in maths.

Closely following was St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary, in London Road, with 94% of pupils making the grade with reading, while 91% and 94% achieved the standard for writing and maths.

Headteacher Jacqueline Lance said: “At St Bernadette’s we strive to bring out the best in all our children.

“We are proud of our children and staff, and thankful for the support given by our parents and governors.”

At the opposite end of the city table was St Bartholomew’s Church of England Primary School in Ann Street.

Of its 30 students, just 67%, 60% and 53% gained the required grade in reading, writing and maths respectively.

Second worst was Whitehawk Primary School, which has reopened this year as an academy under the name City Academy Whitehawk.

Of its 33 youngsters, 64% gained level four in reading and writing while 58% made the grade in maths.

The school has been the subject of huge change since it converted to an academy in September.

When asked for a response to its table standing, headteacher since September David Williams said: “I can’t change history, I can only change the future.”

St Mark’s Church of England Primary School, in Manor Road, was third from the bottom with 63% of pupilsmaking the grade in reading, writing and maths. But the school was praised for improvements in reading, in which 94% of students improved by two or more levels.

Speaking yesterday Councillor Sue Shanks, chairman of the council’s children and young people committee, said: “I’m very pleased that we are continuing to improve overall performance here year on year and stay ahead of the game nationally.

“School improvement is very much about attention to detail. Our school advisers place great emphasis on the robust data analysis needed to evaluate individual pupil performance and target extra support where needed.

“Our schools are also helping each other more and more through sharing best practice and in some cases sharing expert staff through secondments.”

Councillor Shanks singled out the role of school governors for their voluntary efforts.

She said: “I’d also like to pay tribute to the very valuable work school governors do voluntarily to support our schools and help them improve.

“It really is a team effort and our strategies are working.”

Just five Brighton and Hove schools fell below the Government standards of 60% of students achieving level four in reading, writing and maths.

They were West Blatchington Primary, in Hangleton Way, St Mary Magdalen Catholic Primary, in Spring Street, St Mark’s, Whitehawk Primary School and St Bartholomew’s.

Results were mixed across East and West Sussex, with youngsters attaining vastly different grades depending on their schools.

Beckley Church of England, in Rye, came out on top in East Sussex with 100% of pupils gaining the required level four across all subjects.

Firle Church of England Primary School and Park Mead Primary School in Hailsham also gained 100%.

Bottom of the pile was White House Primary School in Hailsham with just 23% of students making the grade, followed by Chiddingly Primary School in Lewes and Rodmell Church of England Primary, with 25% and 44% respectively.

Responding to the result, a spokeswoman for East Sussex County Council, said: “These Key Stage 2 results are confirmation of the provisional figures that came out in September.

“East Sussex County Council has a range of strategies in place to raise standards at a faster rate across all key stages.

“We are committed to improving education in every school in the county.”

In West Sussex, St Mary’s Church of England in Horsham, Boxgrove Church of England and Ashurst Church of England in Steyning were joint top with all of their students making the grade.

Bottom was Broadfield East Junior School in Crawley with just 35% reaching level four across all subjects.

Slindon Church of England in Arundel was next with 44%.

The Argus approached West Sussex County Council for a comment but it was unable to reply by the time the paper went to press.

Doctor Michael Davies, headteacher of high performing Little Horsted Church of England School, told The Argus that success was down to three elements.

He said: “I often talk about it as a triangle. You need to have the hard work and dedication of the children, the support of the parents and commitment of the teaching staff.

“If those three are all working together then the pupil can fulfil their potential.”

He added: “Within the school it is very much a team effort. It is not only the teachers and support staff but also the governors.Aschool has to be working together as a team to achieve.”

Brighton and Hove

Top ten:

Westdene Primary School, Brighton 93% 1
Balfour Primary School, Brighton 92% 2
St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary 91% 3
Rudyard Kipling Primary School 90% 4
Cottesmore St Mary’s Catholic Primary 89% 5
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School 88% 6
Downs Junior School, Brighton 87% 7
Middle Street Primary School, Brighton 87% 8
Our Lady of Lourdes RC School, Brighton 87% 9
Middle Street Primary School, Brighton 86% 10

Bottom ten:

Coombe Road Primary School, Brighton 69% 35
Hertford Junior School, Brighton 69% 36
St Martin’s CofE Primary School 69% 37
Moulsecoomb Primary School, Brighton 68% 38
Woodingdean Primary School, Brighton 64% 39
West Blatchington Primary and Nursery 56% 40
St Mary Magdalen Catholic Primary 56% 41
St Mark’s CofE Primary School, Brighton 50% 42
Whitehawk Primary School, Brighton 39% 43
St Bartholomew’s CofE Primary School 37% 44

West Sussex

Top ten:

St Mary’s CofE (Aided) Primary School 100% 1
Boxgrove CofE Primary School 100% 2
Ashurst CofE Primary School, Steyning 100% 3
All Saints CofE Primary School, Horsham 97% 4
Loxwood Primary School, Billingshurst 96% 5
St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School 95% 6
Bosham Primary School, Chichester 95% 7
The Windmills Junior School, Hassocks 94% 8
Turners Hill CofE Primary School 94% 9
Summerlea Community Primary School 93% 10

Bottom ten:

Tangmere Primary Academy, Chichester 52% 178
The Meads Primary School East 51% 179
St Augustine’s CofE Primary School 50% 180
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School 48% 181
The Mill Primary School, Crawley 48% 182
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School 47% 183
South Bersted CofE Primary School 46% 184
Rake CofE Primary School 45% 185
Slindon CofE Primary School, Arundel 44% 186
Broadfield East Junior School, Crawley 35% 187

East Sussex

Top ten:

Beckley Church of England Primary 100% 1
Firle Church of England Primary School 100% 2
Park Mead Primary School, Hailsham 100% 3
Groombridge St Thomas’ CofE 96% 4
Burwash CofE School, Etchingham 96% 5
Newick Church of England Primary 94% 6
Bodiam Church of England Primary 94% 7
Little Horsted Church of England 94% 8
Maynards Green Community Primary 93% 9
Blackboys Church of England Primary 93% 10

Bottom ten:

Meridian Community Primary School 53% 132
Fletching Church of England Primary 50% 133
St Thomas’ Church of England Aided 48% 134
Western Road Community Primary School 47% 135
Langney Primary School, Eastbourne 44% 136
Heron Park Academy, Eastbourne 44% 137
Pells Church of England Primary School 44% 138
Rodmell Church of England Primary 44% 139
Chiddingly Primary School, Lewes 25% 140
White House Primary School, Hailsham 23% 141

Comments (6)

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6:04pm Fri 13 Dec 13

rayellerton says...

I think it may also reflect parents differing values regarding home reading and study....
I think it may also reflect parents differing values regarding home reading and study.... rayellerton

8:02pm Fri 13 Dec 13

pwlr1966 says...

" Just five Brighton and Hove schools fell below the Government standards of 60% of students achieving level four in reading, writing and maths.

They were West Blatchington Primary, in Hangleton Way, St Mary Magdalen Catholic Primary, in Spring Street, St Mark’s, Whitehawk Primary School and St Bartholomew’s. "

I can only count four not five establishments listed, go back to school Argus!!!
" Just five Brighton and Hove schools fell below the Government standards of 60% of students achieving level four in reading, writing and maths. They were West Blatchington Primary, in Hangleton Way, St Mary Magdalen Catholic Primary, in Spring Street, St Mark’s, Whitehawk Primary School and St Bartholomew’s. " I can only count four not five establishments listed, go back to school Argus!!! pwlr1966

10:43pm Fri 13 Dec 13

ourcoalition says...

pwlr1966 wrote:
" Just five Brighton and Hove schools fell below the Government standards of 60% of students achieving level four in reading, writing and maths.

They were West Blatchington Primary, in Hangleton Way, St Mary Magdalen Catholic Primary, in Spring Street, St Mark’s, Whitehawk Primary School and St Bartholomew’s. "

I can only count four not five establishments listed, go back to school Argus!!!
Much as it grieves me to defend the Argus.......

West Blatch
St Mary Mag
St Marks
Whitehawk Primary (correction: Whitehawk Academy)
St Barts

I think you will find that's five, in any language!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!
[quote][p][bold]pwlr1966[/bold] wrote: " Just five Brighton and Hove schools fell below the Government standards of 60% of students achieving level four in reading, writing and maths. They were West Blatchington Primary, in Hangleton Way, St Mary Magdalen Catholic Primary, in Spring Street, St Mark’s, Whitehawk Primary School and St Bartholomew’s. " I can only count four not five establishments listed, go back to school Argus!!![/p][/quote]Much as it grieves me to defend the Argus....... West Blatch St Mary Mag St Marks Whitehawk Primary (correction: Whitehawk Academy) St Barts I think you will find that's five, in any language!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!! ourcoalition

8:14am Sat 14 Dec 13

Quiterie says...

These pure attainment figures are very misleading. Westdene may be top of the tree on that basis, but it's because it's the only primary school in Brighton and Hove that doesn't take any children from social housing.

In actual fact they have just been downgraded in their latest Ofsted inspection, and their children perform less well than those in similar schools according to the Ofsted data dashboard.

Whereas lower down the 'League Table' there are schools which ARE Outstanding and where their children are performing much better then children at similar schools.

It just depends how you look at things. These League Tables are very misleading unless you take prior attainment/intake into account.
These pure attainment figures are very misleading. Westdene may be top of the tree on that basis, but it's because it's the only primary school in Brighton and Hove that doesn't take any children from social housing. In actual fact they have just been downgraded in their latest Ofsted inspection, and their children perform less well than those in similar schools according to the Ofsted data dashboard. Whereas lower down the 'League Table' there are schools which ARE Outstanding and where their children are performing much better then children at similar schools. It just depends how you look at things. These League Tables are very misleading unless you take prior attainment/intake into account. Quiterie

8:59am Sat 14 Dec 13

GeorgeBTN says...

Yes I agree league tables are misleading. I think it is quite negative of the argus to print the bottom ten schools. If I had to name the schools that would have the best test results I probably would have come up with most of those named in the league table. They are mostly schools in 'good' areas with parents who are really keen for their children to do well in the tests many of them will be doing extra homework and have private tutors.
Yes I agree league tables are misleading. I think it is quite negative of the argus to print the bottom ten schools. If I had to name the schools that would have the best test results I probably would have come up with most of those named in the league table. They are mostly schools in 'good' areas with parents who are really keen for their children to do well in the tests many of them will be doing extra homework and have private tutors. GeorgeBTN

8:40pm Sat 14 Dec 13

john newman says...

How sad to see our education system reduced to this league table idea. What next ? Promotion and relegation? Headteachers sold like footballers? Pupils transferred and bought by richer schools to raise performance levels? Where will it end?
How sad to see our education system reduced to this league table idea. What next ? Promotion and relegation? Headteachers sold like footballers? Pupils transferred and bought by richer schools to raise performance levels? Where will it end? john newman

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