A SECOND South Tyneside school has been named as one of the 250 top-performing primary schools in the country.
Marine Park Primary, in Hatfield Square, South Shields, has been praised by Schools Minister David Laws for giving children a “strong springboard into secondary education”.
The school is located in one of the most deprived areas of the borough, with a well-above average proportion of pupils eligible for the pupil premium – extra funding to support disadvantaged children.
It also has a well-above average proportion of disabled pupils and those with special educational needs, and 82 per cent of pupils speak English as an additional language.
Despite this, every Year 6 pupil gained level four – the average for a typical 11-year-old – or higher in reading and maths in their Key Stage 2 SATs last year, and 96 per cent achieved level four or above for writing.
Their “excellent performance” has now been recognised by Mr Laws, who wrote to headteacher Alison Burden, and she is delighted to see her school in the top 250 in terms of the progress pupils make.
She said: “Our results were second to Simonside Primary in the local authority area, so we knew we had done really well, but we hadn’t realised how well.
“To make it to the top 250 out of 21,400 schools is phenomenal for a school where children come in at such a low starting point.
“I’m delighted for the children, the staff and the community. It is a fantastic achievement.”
The school was praised by Ofsted in October 2012, moving up a grade from satisfactory to good, for helping pupils make “good and sometimes outstanding progress”.
In his letter, Mr Laws said: “It gives me great pleasure to congratulate you on the excellent performance of your pupils in the 2013 national Key Stage 2 tests.
“Your results show that you are among the 250 top performing schools in terms of the progress your pupils make between Key Stage 1 and the end of Key Stage 2.
“Your school is exceptionally effective in educating its pupils. It is clear that you and your staff have provided your pupils with a good start in life and a strong springboard into secondary education.
“I would like to congratulate your staff, governors and pupils for their hard work and success, and thank you for your leadership in continuing the drive towards high standards of educational achievement.”
Hadrian Primary School, in Baring Street, South Shields, was also included in the list, as reported by the Gazette last week.