Finally, city primaries start to close the gap

Wybourn Primary School Discovery Centre'Megan Moangassa, Cade Taylor and Connor Smith using a laptop in the centre
Wybourn Primary School Discovery Centre'Megan Moangassa, Cade Taylor and Connor Smith using a laptop in the centre

SHEFFIELD’S 11-year-olds did the city proud in their 2012 SATs tests - with results up by a healthy 6% over the year before.

It is the biggest increase in recent years, with 77% of pupils finishing their primary education having reached the expected levels in English and maths.

Their scores mean Sheffield is now within touching difference of this year’s national pass rate of 80% - achieving that target has long been an elusive goal for the city’s education chiefs.

The city’s advance up the national local authority league table remains modest - up from 130th to 121st.

But that is still progress compared with the situation in the middle of the last decade when Sheffield’s primary schools were producing some of the worst results in the country.

Many individual schools can also be proud of their efforts.

Stocksbridge Juniors is now one of the top 200 primaries in the country with a 97% pass rate, while Arbourthorne, Hinde House, Wybourn, Greenlands Juniors in Darnall and St Marie’s RC in Broomhill are all recognised as being among the most improved schools nationally.

Arbourthorne’s pass rate has shot up by 41% in just four years, up to 76%, while at Hinde House in Shiregreen there has been a 40% improvement.

But some Sheffield schools are still struggling. Lower Meadow, Mansel. Shortbrook, Springfield, Walkley and Netherthorpe all failed to reach the so-called floor target as set by the Government.

As a result they face being forced out of local authority control to become sponsored academies by the end of 2013, under a pledge made recently by David Cameron.

The 2012 results cannot be compared directly with last year’s as the method of assessing pupils’ writing skills has changed.

But Coun Jackie Drayton, Cabinet member for children, young people and families, said there had been “some fantastic individual school achievements. Parents, teachers and pupils have been working tirelessly to improve standards and we now have a solid foundation to build on. A lot of hard work has taken place behind the scenes, including more of a focus on assessment and giving vulnerable groups the right help or support. I think it is fair to say schools and the authority are united in their desire to close the gap and finally get up to the national average and beyond.”

l A new Discovery Centre at Wybourn Primary has four multi-touch interactive screens linked to the internet and a wide range of the latest software. Tthere are 10 iPads, 16 laptops, a fully stocked science lab and even a wet zone for practical water-based experiments and activities.

Staff believe the complex is the first of its kind in the city, and possibly in the north of England.

Pictured are pupils Megan Moangassa, Cade Taylor and Conor Smith.