The Sheffield primaries making the grade

Headteacher Donna Faley with pupils at St Thomas More RC School in Grenoside which has been praised by Ofsted
Headteacher Donna Faley with pupils at St Thomas More RC School in Grenoside which has been praised by Ofsted

Sheffield’s best three performing primaries are to be found in Millhouses and Totley, according to the latest Government performance tables.

St Wilfrid’s RC Primary is in pole position, followed by Totley Primary and Totley All Saints CE.

But not all the high performers are in the better-off suburbs.

Reignhead in Beighton, St Thomas More in Grenoside and Oughtibridge Primary are all in the top 10, while Oughtibridge has one of the best points scores in the country.

Overall Sheffield’s 11-year-olds have slipped back slightly in the tables.

The city came 123rd out of 150 English local authorities, down from 121st last year.

A total of 72 per cent of youngsters managed to make expected progress in all three key subject areas – reading, writing and maths.

Individual subject pass rates were, of course, higher – 82 per cent passed reading, 81 per cent writing and 82 per cent maths.

But the rankings cannot be compared too closely with last year’s as once again the Government has moved the academic goalposts.

Previous figures were based purely on test results in English and maths.

This year’s include a new measure of how good a child’s writing is, a judgement made solely by his or her teacher.

Ministers believe pupils who reach the expected level in all three subjects are ready for education at secondary school.

They have also conjured up a new minimum target which primary schools should be reaching – 60 per cent of youngsters should be passing all three subjects.

In Sheffield, 19 schools have failed to reach this new so-called ‘floor target’, up from just six schools last year.

But Ofsted has held up St Thomas More as a shining example to others – after it turned itself around in the space of just 18 months.

The school was found to be failing when it was checked by an inspection team early in 2012.

But on their return last summer the school was instead rated good.

The primary was the only city school singled out for special attention in the Ofsted’s first annual regional report, covering Yorkshire and the North East.

Headteacher Donna Faley said the school had succeeded in making rapid progress through a rapid overhaul of existing practices.

“The staff received training for their professional development and we brought in a really rigorous monitoring process to improve teaching and learning,” she added.