Help pledged to primary schools

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DONCASTER’s top education boss has pledged more support for schools after pupils’ results dipped below national averages.

Government figures for the borough’s key stage two exams taken in primary schools revealed the borough was now two per cent behind the national average, with 72 per cent of its pupils achieving passes at English and maths at the benchmark level four.

It represents a fall from 2008, when the borough matched the national average of 73 per cent and has sparked a call for questions to be asked of the borough’s education leaders.

Now Chris Pratt, Doncaster’s director of children and young people’s services, has confirmed there will be action.

He said: “Attainment at key stage two in 2011 has broadly remained the same as in 2010. The main national measure used of level fours in both English and Mathematics is at 72 per cent, the same as 2011, although disappointingly there has been a slight decline in English, from 79 per cent to 78 per cent.

“Doncaster is just below the national average but our ambition is to achieve far better results than this. We will be providing stronger support to schools, particularly those where attainment is especially low, in order to deliver improved results in future.”

Details of what is to be done have yet to be released.

He also praised the youngsters and teachers involved in the tests in the borough, adding: “I would like to congratulate and thank children and staff for the good results that have been achieved. Our teachers and support staff in Doncaster work very hard to get the best outcomes for young people.”

This week’s primary school league tables saw Doncaster fall from its position as the top performing area of South Yorkshire, a position it had held for the past five years.

But this year Barnsley overtook it in the county’s rankings, with 73 per cent of its youngsters passing the tests at level four.