HIGHFIELD South Farnham School has been recognised as one of the top-performing schools in England – just three years after rising from the ashes of its ‘inadequate’ predecessor Pilgrims Way.
Farnham schools have once again dominated the Department for Education’s annual primary school league tables based on Key Stage Two SATs results for 2017-18 – with South Farnham School, on Menin Way, again top of the pile locally.
However, it is South Farnham’s sister school Highfield’s breakout success that catches the eye, having continued its meteoric rise up the league tables to now be ranked the 155th best school in England.
Highfield was founded as part of the South Farnham Educational Trust in February 2015 after the closure of struggling Pilgrims Way School, and was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted last February having ranked in the top seven per cent of schools in England for Key Stage Two SATS results in 2016-17.
The Weydon Lane school went one step further in the past academic year, however, with 95 per cent of pupils meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, placing Highfield in the top one per cent of schools nationally.
Headteacher Gregory West said: “We are delighted to announce our extraordinary results. To be acknowledged as 155th in the country is a reflection of the dedication and devotion of our pupils and staff.
“We are very proud of the pupils’ achievements and we continue to be hugely excited about our future.
“To be recognised as one of the highest-performing schools nationally is a remarkable accolade and clearly evidences the transformational power of schools, with inclusion at their heart.
“A safe, happy environment, with the highest expectations of all pupils both socially and academically, continues to be our aim and is clearly delivering outstanding success, in all areas, of our diverse and balanced curriculum.”
The Department for Education figures also reveal Highfield pupils made “well above average” progress in reading, writing and maths between the end of Key Stage One and the end of Key Stage Two, compared to pupils across England who got similar results at the end of Key Stage One.
This was also reflected at sister school South Farnham, where an incredible 100 per cent of pupils met the expected standard in their Key Stage Two reading, writing and maths tests.
This compares to the Surrey average of just 70 per cent and the national average of 64 per cent.
Only 101 primary schools, out of the 20,861 in England, achieved 100 per cent, placing South Farnham in the top 0.5 per cent of schools nationally.
And its progress scores were equally impressive, placing South Farnham in the top ten per cent of schools in England.
South Farnham is by far the largest primary in the Farnham area, with a school roll of 811 children.
Headteacher Claire Donnachie said: “This fantastic achievement in attainment and progress is highly significant when you consider South Farnham School has one of the largest cohorts of children in the country – many schools have a single class of fewer than 30.
“It should also be seen alongside the extraordinarily rich curriculum and the children’s extensive participation and success in music, drama, sports and the arts.”
Rowledge Primary School, where 94 per cent of pupils met the expected standard, and St Polycarp’s (90 per cent) also scored highly, while Potters Gate (83 per cent), Waverley Abbey in Tilford (76 per cent) and St Peter’s in Wrecclesham (73 per cent) also exceeded the Surrey average.
Waverley Abbey did, however, record a “well below average” score for progress in writing, and “below average” for maths.
The only two Farnham schools to fall below the county average for meeting the expected standard were Hale School (62 per cent) and William Cobbett (both 62 per cent).
* Farnham’s ten nearest primary schools, ranked by percentage of pupils meeting expected standard in Key Stage Two:
1) South Farnham (100 per cent)
2) Highfield (95 per cent)
3) Rowledge (94 per cent)
4) St Polycarp’s (90 per cent)
5) St Joseph’s (87 per cent)
6) Potters Gate (83 per cent)
7) Waverley Abbey (76 per cent)
8) St Peter’s (73 per cent)
9) Hale School (62 per cent)
10) William Cobbett (62 per cent)