Schools celebrate, but improvement is needed

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Education in Bedford Borough is improving, but schools are still bottom of the class when it comes to high achieving students.

Figures, which were discussed by Bedford Borough Council’s children’s services overview and scrutiny committee on Monday night, show that Key Stage 2 results for English and Maths are improving.

But while there is a definite rise in pupil attainment, the percentage of pupils achieving level 4 and above in English and maths combined, and those achieving level four in maths is below the national average, and the results achieved by statistical neighbours.

The percentage of students achieving level five in English and maths is also improving but is still behind statistical neighbours and the national average.

However, the percentage of pupils achieving level four in English has risen from below average and has now overtaken all comparable figures.

And for one school the findings are a cause for celebration. St Gregory’s Middle School, in Biddenham has achieved its best results ever outperforming both the statistical and national average.

Headteacher Frances Topa, said: “Staff and pupils have worked extremely hard this year to ensure that all achieved or exceeded their targets.

“Quality first teaching, alongside creative approaches to reading skills and a highly successful transition project have been the keys to the school’s terrific achievements.”

And this week councillor David Sawyer, portfolio holder for education at Bedford Borough Council, claimed that although the improvements are encouraging, work is still necessary to keep it up.

He said: “I am delighted with the Key Stage 2 results in 2012 which represented a substantial improvement in standards across the Borough.

“At the end of Key Stage 2, the percentage of pupils achieving Level 4 and/or above in both English and Maths has increased by nine per cent. Looking forward, these significant improvements will help this cohort achieve high standards at GCSE and A-Levels.”

And Mr Sawyer claimed that the council will continue to work with schools to ensure standards continue to improve.

He said: “Following the improvements in GCSE grades in recent years, these have been affected this year by the national issue relating to English GCSE grade boundaries.

“The Borough Council is actively taking up action to address this issue on behalf of schools and students. The council works closely with schools to support pupils to achieve the best possible results at GCSE and A-Levels; providing schools in most need with targeted support.”

What do you think needs to be done to improve education in Bedford Borough?