Islington school among the best in the country

A CHURCH school in Islington has been named among the best in the country.

St Peter and St Paul Roman Catholic Primary School is one of just 289 primary schools across the country where every 11-year-old reached the Government target in English and Maths.

The small one-form entry school in Compton Street, Finsbury, has long been among Islington’s best performing primaries and was rated outstanding in its most recent Ofsted inspection in 2007.

But the latest results, which show that every Year Six pupil achieved the required Level Four in both English and maths SATs, is even better than in 2009, when 88 per cent of Year Six pupils reached the target in both subjects.

Headteacher Daniel Keane said: “We are very pleased with the hard work of pupils and teachers. It’s a real achievement for both the school and for Islington. It’s down to excellent teaching and to the school, pupils and parents working together.”

Another top performer was St Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Primary School in Northolme Road, Highbury.

This year, 93 per cent of Year Six pupils at the fellow church school reached Level Four in both maths and English – a vast improvement on last year, when 71 per cent reached the target.

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And in terms of average point score, which takes into account pupils’ performance in all their SATs, St Joan of Arc came out at the top of the Islington league table.

The school, which was rated “good” by Ofsted inspectors in 2009, attributed its success to supportive parents and the good relationship between staff and students. Headteacher Clare Campbell said: “We are delighted.”

But perhaps Islington’s happiest school was Winton Primary School in Killick Street, King’s Cross.

Last year, Winton – which serves one of Islington’s most deprived areas – saw only 39 per cent of Year Six pupils reach Level Four in both English and maths. This year, it saw a massive improvement with 69 per cent reaching the target - the biggest increase in the borough.

It is the second piece of good news for the school, where 70 per cent of pupils have English as a second language and 60 per cent are on free school meals. In October, Ofsted inspectors also upped their rating from “satisfactory” to “good”.

Headteacher Penny Spencer said: “This is the beginning of our future. These results are what we are going to be expecting every year.

“We really concentrated on English and maths. We used our topics to inspire our English teaching and with maths, we went right back to basics.

“This proves that schools in deprived areas can do well with a real focus on what the children need.

Overall, Islington saw 79 per cent of Year Six pupils reach the Government target in English, 80 per cent in maths, and 72 per cent in both.

This is only just short of the national average and a slight improvement on last year, when 71 per cent reached Level Four in both subjects.

Councillor Richard Watts, the council’s executive member for children, said: “All of Islington’s primary schools took part in this year’s SATs and some of them have done particularly well. A good number of our schools achieved an impressive 80 per cent or over for the number of pupils reaching Level Four or above in both English and maths.”

But it was not celebrations all round. Robert Blair Primary School in Brewery Road, Holloway, saw the number of Year Six pupils getting Level Four in both maths and English drop from 88 per cent to 56 per cent.

Headteacher Mark Miller said: “Our English scores were disappointing this year though a very pleasing 78 per cent of children achieved Level Four or above in maths. We are a solid school that’s oversubscribed. We have a good Ofsted, refurbishments are underway and we are confidently looking forward to the year ahead.”