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Eleven Croydon schools fail to meet exam target

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ELEVEN primary schools in Croydon fell below the minimum expected results in this summer's SATs exams.

Each failed to meet the government's increased floor standard of at least 65 per cent of pupils achieving Level 4 in English and maths. Children who do not meet this benchmark are said to have fallen behind.

The results would not usually have been released until early next year but were published in Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell's election manifesto.

The data has yet to be fully validated as some schools are appealing individual results.

While some schools appear to have struggled, the figures suggest the overall picture in Croydon may have improved from 2013, when 74 per cent of pupils left Year 6 with Level 4 grades in the two core subjects.

Those that fell below expectations told the Advertiser they are making every effort to improve.

Ryelands Primary School, in South Norwood, posted the worst results in Croydon, with only 39 per cent of pupils meeting the required standard.

The school has since become part of Oasis Community Learning group and has a new executive head, Diana Morgan.

She said the renamed Oasis Academy Ryelands is an entirely different school from the one she took over in March.

"It's a completely different place," she said. "When you walk around the kids are quiet and learning – it's great."

Ms Morgan, an Ofsted inspector and local leader of education (LLE), said she has a track record of improving struggling primaries.

She said her main challenge since arriving at Ryelands has been restoring the school's shattered confidence.

"The staff here had, understandably, totally lost confidence. As a result the children had lost their way," she said.

"When I came here I had to win hearts and minds, particularly with the parents, who didn't trust anyone."

South Norwood Primary, whose 2013 results were annulled due to an admin error, is among the schools to have appealed some of this year's scores. The table published in Mr Barwell's manifesto put its benchmark figure at 56 per cent. Head teacher Della Williams expects that to rise to 59 per cent because three children arrived in the UK from a non-English speaking country and should be "discounted".

She explained the school's results were reflected by the departure of the Year 6 coordinator midway through the year and the higher proportion of pupils who had either learning, medical or emotional difficulties.

"This year's results were due to extenuating circumstances and we do not expect a repeat of this in the future," said Mrs Williams.

Croydon's top-performing primary was New Valley where every pupil achieved at least a Level 4 in English and maths. The school – previously called Wattenden Primary – has significantly improved since being placed in special measures in May 2013.

New Valley was also the borough's most-improved school, with results up 42 per cent on 2013. Other schools on that list include Harris Primary Academy Kenley (+29 per cent), Wolsey Junior Academy (+24), Selsdon Primary (+21) and Kingsley Primary (+19 per cent).

FAILING SCHOOLS PROMISE TO GET BETTER

THE schools that failed to achieve the minimum requirements have vowed to make improvements.

Only 58 per cent of pupils at All Saints CofE Primary, in Upper Norwood, achieved Level 4 in English and maths.

Head teacher Jane Elliott said: "We have analysed carefully the factors that might have contributed to these results and have put robust measures in place to ensure 2015's SATs reach the targets set."

Another school to have struggled was Winterbourne Junior Girls' in Thornton Heath, where less than half of pupils made the grade.

Head teacher Mary Berkeley-Agyepong, appointed in September, said the school was "extremely disappointed" by the results but was now endeavouring to make rapid improvements in training and learning.

"I am personally looking forward to the challenges and have every confidence in the school's ability to meet and conquer them," she said.

Alex Lundie, head teacher at Broadmead Primary, said that while results for Level 4 in reading, writing and maths combined were lower than the target, taken individually each subject was higher.

"Although disappointing, the results represent very good progress made during the year in each subject, as a result of really good teaching in Year 6, although the progress in previous years for some had been limited," she explained.

Ann Cooksley, Davidson Primary's head teacher, said the "dip" in SATs results (the school fell by 23 per cent) had been predicted and that data suggests the school will be above the floor target next year.

Anne Pindry, the head of St Mary's Roman Catholic Junior School, said her staff are working hard to improve on this year's score of 52 per cent.

"As the results refer to one cohort of children, it would be inappropriate and insensitive to comment in any more depth about this matter," she added.

Norbury Manor's new head teacher Iffat Fariduddin said pupils had shown very good progress and that the school would strive to make "every moment count".

Simon Wood, executive head from Reach2 Academy Trust, said it came as no surprise that Castle Hill Primary School's results would, "for the last time", be below the floor standard.

The school, which became an academy in November 2013, needed to be "wholly rejuvenated" upon being taken over by Reach2, he said, and significant improvements are now being made.

The results published in the Conservative manifesto suggested Ark Oval Primary Academy, in East Croydon, also fell below the minimum standard, with 64 per cent achieving Level 4 in English and maths. When contacted by the Advertiser, head teacher Sonia Rutherford said an appeal had lifted the score to 66 per cent – above the floor target.

MUST DO BETTER

Schools that fell below government's floor target of at least 65 per cent of pupils achieving Level 4 in English and maths (% difference from 2013)

Norbury Manor Primary

64 per cent (-8)

St Mark's Church of England Primary (CofE)

61 per cent (+2)

All Saints CofE Primary

58 per cent (-15)

South Norwood Primary

56 per cent

Winterbourne Junior Boys

54 per cent (+18)

St Mary's Roman Catholic Junior

52 per cent (-32)

Broadmead Primary

51 per cent

Davidson Primary

51 per cent (-23)

Castle Hill Primary

49 per cent (+5)

Winterbourne Junior Girls

49 per cent (-23)

Ryelands Primary School

39 per cent (-20)

*Data yet to be fully validated 

Eleven Croydon schools fail to meet exam target


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