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The sixth best primary school in the country
8:00am Sunday 15th December 2013 in News
A COLCHESTER primary school where teachers focus on keeping their pupils interested and motivated has been named the sixth best in the country.
League tables published by the Department for Education show every pupil at Hamilton Primary School reached the required standard in reading, writing and maths.
The Constantine Road school was joined in the top 100 by Millfields Primary in Wivenhee and St Thomas More Primary in Priory Street.
Hamilton Primary headteacher Clive Reynolds insisted his staff did not focus on coming top of the league tables.
He said: As teachers, we are thinking ‘we have a set of children in front of us and we have to be mindful of what they need and what they want’.
“We set high standards in the hope it will enable children to flourish.
“It’s not just our job to teach, it is to make sure the curriculum in its broadest sense is interesting to the children.
“We can’t just focus on English and maths, you have to keep motivating the children.”
Bridget Harris, headteacher of St Thomas More’s, ranked 76th in the country, said: “There is no big secret. It is just about hard work.”
She added: “We are very pleased with the results, especially because it shows how hard the children have worked.
“When it comes to schools, it cannot just be about sitting down and doing your English, maths and science.
“We are very creative. The children love the performing arts, but it doesn’t stop there.
“If they are sporty, we push that really hard, with football, cross county and netball.
“That gives them a love of learning and a love of school.”
Janet Meacock, headteacher at Millfields Primary School, ranked 62nd in the country, said children must be at the centre of the curriculum teachers follow.
She added: “Of course we have to follow the national curriculum, but in that, every term we have a theme which goes right through the school.
“Every child and teacher buys into it and I think that helps children stay interested in what they are learning.”
She added: “League tables do not really enter our minds, but our expectations are high, starting at reception right through to year six.”
According to Government ideals, when 11-year-olds enter secondary school, they should have achieved a minimum of level four.
The tables were published a day after it emerged three out of ten Essex primary schools were in special measures or require improvement, according to an Ofsted annual report.
Gosbecks Primary School, in Owen Ward Close, was named one of the worst in the country.
Forty Nine per cent of pupils there were meeting the expected level in reading, writing and maths by the time they left primary school.
In its last Ofsted report, in 2012, the school was told it required improvement. Since then, inspectors have visited the school and reported it was improving.
The Gazette contacted the school, but no one was available for interview.
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