A south Norfolk school says it is “delighted” by its high place in the recent national Key Stage 2 league tables - becoming one of the few bright spots in a county that is otherwise among the UK’s lowest performing areas.
Figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) last week show Norfolk as one of the bottom ten local authorities for attainment in Level 4 reading, writing and mathematics at Key Stage 2, ranking 143rd of 152 with only 76 per cent of pupils achieving this standard.
But certain schools bucked this trend and recorded positive results, like Dickleburgh Primary School, which earned one of the top average points scores nationwide.
The Year 6 children at the Harvey Lane-based school, which has more than doubled its pupil intake over the last five years, managed 100 per cent Level 4 and 60 per cent Level 5 literacy and numeracy attainment, well above the national average of 24 per cent for obtaining a Level 5.
James Richards, the headteacher for Dickleburgh Primary School, told the Diss Express: “I am very proud of what we do here. The keys to our success are hard work and consistency throughout the school. We have very high expectations.
“The teachers work hard and the children really enjoy learning. One of the reasons we do so well here is the subject leaders work very hard to make sure the children do well in their subject and there is a constant cycle of evaluation.
“We are really fortunate to have this degree of partnership with our parents. They fully sign up to what we are trying to do.
“There is always scope for improvement. Our whole philosophy is about continuous improvement. The job is never done. It’s there to be built on.”
Mr Richards, who is in his twelfth year as head of the school, added he felt county-wide, there was “a lot of initiative being shown”, but there may have been “too many partial fixes” in recent years.
Other high achievers throughout south Norfolk this year include the primary schools in Garboldisham, Pulham Market, Spooner Row and Tacolneston.
However, Norfolk’s overall proportion of Key Stage 2 pupils reaching Level 4, despite a two per cent year-on-year rise, still fell short of the 80 per cent national average.
This has prompted Education Minister Nick Gibb to schedule meetings with Norfolk County Council before the year’s end to discuss how to move forward.
James Joyce, Chairman of the Children’s Services Committee at Norfolk County Council, stated they had requested clear targets from all junior and primary schools and would collect data from each one every term to track their progress.
He said: “Despite moving in the right direction, schools have not yet made the significant in-roads needed at Key Stage 2.
“For this reason, working closely with the primary heads’ association, we have made Key Stage 2 a key focus for this academic year.
“We have carried out thorough analysis to see which schools are under performing in this area so that we can hold them to account more fully.
“Our role is to support and challenge headteachers and governors to ensure that they are focused on improving performance at Key Stage 2 and we know that there is the collective ambition in the county to ensure all of Norfolk’s 11-year-olds are achieving their potential.”
Suffolk did not fare much better, placing 139th in the England league table, with just 77 per cent of its Year 6 pupils acquiring a Level 4.
The figure is, however, a three per cent increase on last year, and there were strong performances in north Suffolk from the likes of Mellis, Stonham Aspal, Wetheringsett and the All Saints Primary School in Laxfield.
Gordon Jones, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Childrens Services, Education and Skills, said: “These results provide further proof that education standards in Suffolk are continually improving as a result of our Raising the Bar programme and, most importantly, the efforts of the teaching staff, students and parents.
“We have also seen a significant improvement in the performance of Suffolk’s disadvantaged pupils with the gap to national narrowing by five per cent.
“Also encouraging is the rise in the expected levels of progress in our core subjects of reading, writing and maths.
“We remain determined to do even better in the future to ensure that all our pupils have the best opportunities in life.”