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Concern over pupils' achievement at two Darwen schools
8:00pm Saturday 16th March 2013 in News
CONCERN has been expressed over the achievement of pupils at two Darwen primary schools.
At a meeting at Blackburn Town Hall, councillors discussed the Government-set ‘national floor’ target which states 60 per cent of pupils should reach Level Four in English and maths by the time they leave for secondary school.
Members of the children and health overview and scrutiny committee said despite an improvement across the board, they were worried about St Joseph’s RC Primary School and St Barnabas Primary School.
Robert Arrowsmith, the council’s research and planning manager, said: “A school is expected to get 60 per cent of pupils to a Level Four in English and maths.
“We have actually only got one school below the ‘national floor’, which is our best ever performance.
“In previous years we have had eight or nine beneath it.”
Mr Arrowsmith said overall the authority’s schools were outperforming similar areas, which was something to celebrate.
But he said St Joseph’s was between 40 and 45 per cent, while St Barnabas was just on the 60 per cent mark.
Headteacher of St Joseph’s in Limes Avenue, Anne O’Brien, said: “We didn’t hit our floor targets last year.
“We had a challenging group of children last year, a high number of whom had special needs.
“Every group of children is different but they all worked really hard.
“We are on track this year. It was just a blip.”
Sunnyhurst councillor Dave Smith said: “That should set alarm bells ringing I would think.
“Can we do anything to help them?”
Lisa Bibby, director of schools and learning, said: “It was a surprise to the school and to some extent to the local authority that they performed to that level.
“For schools such as St Joseph’s the local authority has a targeted response and they get additional support.
“There’s some good progress being made.”
St Barnabas did not respond to a request for a comment before going to press.