PRIMARY schools in South Tyneside have fallen below the national average at Key Stage 2 – but council bosses say they are remaining positive.
Throughout the borough, 75 per cent of youngsters gained a Level 4 in reading, writing and maths in their end-of-primary-school exams, compared with a national average of 79 per cent, and just ust 19 per cent achieved a Level 5 or higher, compared to 24 per cent of youngsters achieving the grades nationally.
Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and schools at South Tyneside Council, said: “While we are understandably disappointed to be slightly below the national average, these results show that our young people are continuing to work hard and they are to be congratulated for their efforts and commitment.
“Behind the headline figures there will be very many individual success stories and our young people, their parents and carers as well as our school staff are to be commended.
“We want to see all our children achieve well at school and this includes at crucial learning stages, like Key Stage 2.
“We will continue to work in partnership with schools to help them achieve better results year on year and in particular with those schools where results have dipped and expect to be back at our normal high level next year.”
She added: “It is in all our interests to see children across the borough do well and this remains a priority. We are not complacent and continue to work with our primary schools to ensure every child in South Tyneside has the very highest standards in primary education.”
East Boldon Junior School, in Front Street, was one of the best performing schools in the borough.
Pupils achieved a 95 per cent pass rate at Level 4 in maths, reading and writing, and 41 per cent of pupils passed with a Level 5 or higher. Both figures are above the national average.
Acting head-teacher Ellen Johnson said: “We are very proud of our children. These results are down to the hard work of the pupils and staff, and we hope that it has given them a good start to their secondary education. We wish them all the best for the future.”
Pupils at Fellgate Primary School, in Oxford Way, Fellgate Estate, Jarrow, recorded the lowest pass rate in the borough.
Children gained a 46 per cent pass rate at Level 4 in maths, reading and writing, and an eight per cent pass rate in Level 5 or above.
Headteacher Carol Wilson said: “Only 31 per cent of our pupils last year could sit the exams.
“People who know the school know that we have the Fellgate Autistic Unit here and will understand the figure, but I don’t want other people to read the tables and think we’re not a good school.
“Our pass rate at Level 4 for non-special needs children was 92 per cent. Each year is different because the cohort is different.”
Miss Wilson added: “The units at most schools are very small, and children are only in there because of behavioural problems.
“The only other school like ours in the borough is Jarrow School. Our Autistic Unit is in the top three per cent in the country.”