A Leeds school where 28 languages are spoken outperforms 15,000 others across the country.
At St Bartholomew’s CE Primary School teachers educate children who speak 28 different languages.
The proportion of pupils who qualify for free school meals is well above the national average and the school serves some travelling communities which means that it in many cases it is not able to work with a child throughout their primary education.
Despite these challenging circumstances the school in Strawberry Lane, Tong Road, Armley, has been ranked as outstanding by Ofsted and yesterday it emerged as the best in the entire country in league tables measuring how much “value” a school adds to its pupils’ performance.
The Value Added Tables for 11-year-olds attempt to level the playing field for schools across the country by showing how well its pupils have performed against what is expected of them.
It uses each child’s past performance as a seven-year-old and the performance of pupils from similar backgrounds to predict how well a school should do and then measures its actual performance against this.
Using this formula St Bartholomew’s is ranked as the best performing school in England in the latest tables produced from data published by the Department for Education yesterday.
Head teacher Pauline Gavin, who has led the school for 25 years, said its success was down to hard work and high expectations.
She said: “There has been a lot of hard work by everybody working together as a team. We work to improve every pupil and identify those who need extra support.”
The school operates a non exclusion policy and has seen the number of pupils on its roll increase from 300 to 500 in under three years. Mrs Gavin said: “We welcome everyone through the doors at this school. We serve a very deprived community here and we are very pro-active about supporting pupils. We have a minibus which collects pupils who might have difficulty getting in.
“One of the most important things is that we have high expectations of all our pupils.”