TWO Darwen primary schools have been praised by education watchdog Ofsted.

St Barnabas CE Primary Academy in Knowlesly Road and Ashleigh Primary School in Ross Street were both rated 'good' following inspections.

Andrew Morley, lead inspector, said St Barnabas, which converted to an academy two years ago and has 186 pupils on its roll, is a very happy and caring school with good teaching.

He said: "Pupils thrive within a calm and purposeful learning environment.

"The headteacher Helen Thomas provides strong leadership. Her drive and determination have led to better teaching and improvements in pupils' achievement over the past two years.

"The school is well placed to improve further."

Following a short inspection of Ashleigh Primary School, inspector Julie Kynaston said in a letter to headteacher Ian Matthews that the leadership team has maintained the good quality of education.

She said: "You and your deputy headteacher work effectively as a team. Together you have galvanised teaching and driven improvements across the school.

"Pupils receive a broad range of experiences, which help them to enjoy their time at school." The school has 238 children on its roll.