Academy emerges from ‘turbulent’ time to get perfect score in school league tables

Fishtoft Academy
Fishtoft Academy

Fishtoft Academy has emerged from a ‘turbulent time’ to come out top of the class in the latest set of school league tables.

The school is the only one in the Boston area that saw all of its pupils achieve a level four in reading, writing and maths in their year six tests.

Holly Barrett

Holly Barrett

School leaders were particularly pleased with the performance, highlighted in data released by the Government last week, after a period in which Fishtoft has had 11 head teachers in 11 years.

Current head of school Rebecca Hopwood, who joined in September, told The Standard: “There have been turbulent times in the past with changes - they say there have been 11 heads in 11 years.

“After the Ofsted in 2012 the school was ‘requires improvement’ so the fact this data shows us at 100 per cent is fantastic and completely a result of being in the Phoenix Family of Schools Academy Trust.”

The school joined the Phoenix in 2012 and has now been an academy for five terms, with inspectors returning to be impressed with what they saw.

Mrs Hopwood added: “On the back of our Ofsted of November 5, which now rates us as a ‘good’ school, this is just fantastic news for the teachers who really are dedicated.

“ Effective systems have been put in place and the data shows that with that cohort we were able to act on the needs of the individual.”

Her views are shared by Holly Barrett, the head of Fishtoft Academy when the results were achieved last year.

The post was her first job as a head and she stayed at the school for a year before moving on to start a new job helping primary schools teach PE.

Miss Barrett also took on the added responsibility of teaching the older pupils herself, something she admits was a ‘huge pressure’.

She said: “All year six teachers would know how much pressure that is but as a head as well there is a secondary pressure too but you have to take that responsibility on board.”

Miss Barrett said the school had worked hard to get to know each individual child well and the types of subject matter that inspired them to learn such as football-themed lessons for sporty students and using the character Percy Jackson to look at myths and legends.

She added: “The really important thing is to get to know the children individually and be able to create a programme specifically for them. This has proven that it has worked.”

This year schools are being measured against a new ‘floor target’ of getting 65 per cent of pupils achieving a level four or above in reading, writing and maths.

Staniland Academy and Wyberton Primary School saw 93 per cent of pupils get a level four in reading, writing and maths, while Boston West Primary School saw 90 per cent of its children achieve that goal.

New Leake Primary School appears on the tables despite only having a cohort of seven pupils. The tables say 14 per cent of its pupils achieved the target - which equates to one child.

Head teacher Rowena Thompson said: “These league tables and results can be misleading and in small schools not statistically significant when comparing very small groups of pupils with very large groups of pupils.

“They do not take into account how long the children have been in the school or the children’s starting points or difficulties they may have had to overcome. They are a measure of the attainment of just one very small group of children in one year in three subjects combined and therefore last year the outcome looked very different as it will next year.

“For instance in a very small school it could be that almost half the group joined just before they took the tests and therefore how can it be a measure of that school’s performance.

“We are a fully inclusive school and focus on the needs of each individual child and aim to develop the whole child and for all children to achieve their potential.”

She also stressed the school is graded ‘good’ by Ofsted.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said data is not published for schools where the cohort is below five. However, they added: “If there are fewer than 10 pupils in the school then they are not measured as part of the floor standards.”

They stressed that meant that New Leake will not be classed as ‘below the floor’.

FACTFILE: School league tables

Percentage of pupils achieving a level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths

○ Fishtoft Academy 100%

○ Staniland Academy 93%

○Wyberton Primary School 93%

○ Boston West Primary School 90%

○ Sibsey Free Primary School 88%

○ Donington Cowley Primary School 86%

○ S tickney Primary School 86%

○ Boston Tower Road Primary School 85%

○ Carlton Road Academy 85%

○ Wrangle Primary School 85%

○ Quadring Cowley and Brown’s Primary School 82%

○ St Thomas’ Primary School, Boston 81%

○ Boston St Mary’s Primary School 76%

○ Butterwick Pinchbeck Primary School 75%

○ Old Leake Primary School 75%

○ St Nicholas Primary School 75%

○ Gosberton Primary School 71%

○ Hawthorn Tree School 68%

○ Fourfields School, Sutterton 61%

○ Kirton Primary School 60%

○ Gipsey Bridge Primary School 57%

○ Park Primary School 53%

○ Frithville Primary School 50%

○ Swineshead St Mary’s Primary School 47%

○ New Leake Primary School 14%

Data is not supplied for other schools.

What do you think? Are the school league tables a fair measure? Email andrew.brookes@jpress.co.uk