The best and worst performing primary school in Eastbourne have been revealed in newly released figures.
The data, released by the Department of Education (DoE) on Thursday (December 13), reflects pupils’ performances in their end of primary exams, called SATS, in 2018.
Among the highest achievers was West Rise School, with 74 per cent of pupils reaching the expected standard – 10 per cent higher than the national average.
Reacting to the news, head teacher Mike Fairclough said, “We are very proud of our children and their achievements. We believe the school’s creative curriculum, outdoor learning, high expectations and skilled staff are the basis for this success.
“We do however feel the league tables are not the whole picture of a school. There are hundreds of schools, in challenging circumstances, which are lower down on the tables.
“Many of these schools are working incredibly hard and changing pupils’ lives for the better. The league tables are only a small snapshot of a specific area of the school and can be misleading.”
The Haven Voluntary Aided Church of England/Methodist Primary School was well above average with its writing results and also did well in reading and maths.
Seventy per cent of its pupils reached the expected standard, and an impressive 13 per cent achieved a higher standard.
Deputy Head Jeanette Fuller said, “We were really chuffed, we’ve worked really hard.”
She said the school had been focusing on maths and invested in more teachers, with Year 6 classes having the ‘magic number’ of 20 pupils each.
“The children were really focused and each child knew exactly what they needed to do to get better,” she said, “They work so hard.”
Also performing well were Heron Park Primary Academy and Tollgate Community Junior School.
Heron Park was found to be well above average for reading and above average for maths, while 71 per cent of Tollgate pupils met the expected standard.
Tim McCarthy, CEO of Aurora Academies Trust which runs Heron Park school, said, “We are thrilled with the improvements this year. The really pleasing thing is the phenomenal progress scores.
“For writing and maths we are in the top 10 per cent of schools nationally.”
However, schools which were deemed below average included Parkland Junior School, Willingdon Primary School, Langney Primary School, and St John’s Meads Church of England Primary School.
Parkland was found to have 38 per cent of pupils reaching the expected standard, with reading and maths results ‘well below’ the average.
A spokesperson for the school said, “The 2018 SATS results were disappointing but not unexpected as a result of historic underachievement and frequent interim leadership. As a result of recent academisation, leadership has stabilised and the school now receives intensive support and significant investment from Swale Academies Trust.
“Many positive changes have been made and the current Year 6 pupils are already outperforming last year’s results. We are confident that next year we will be one of the most improved schools.”
Thirty nine per cent of Langney pupils met expected standards, though reading and maths performances were at the average.
A spokesperson for the school said, ““Langney Primary School has consistently met and exceeded national averages in recent years. The 2018 Key Stage 2 results do not fit in with the school’s upward trend however results are very specific to this cohort of pupils.
“In 2017, the school was one of the highest performing primary schools in Eastbourne and East Sussex for overall attainment and progress. Early indicators signify very good progress from current pupils and it is predicted the school will continue to achieve well.”
While Willingdon pupils’ results for reading, writing, and maths were all ‘well below’ average, and at St John’s 48 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard.
This newspaper has contacted these schools for comment.
The list of overall performances at the end of key stage 2 in 2018 for a number of Eastbourne schools can be viewed on the DoE website.