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Deprived pupils show how it's done

AN analysis of the most effective ways of improving exam and test results in some of the toughest inner-city schools is due to be published next week by the Office for Standards in Education.

The report will detail for the first time the reasons why some schools in deprived areas manage to achieve the same results as those with more affluent intakes.

Much of the research has been drawn from visits by HM inspectors to around 40 secondary and primary schools, but the report also includes information gathered from routine inspections.

Likely to have provided much of the information for the report are schools such as Mulberry girls' secondary in Tower Hamlets, London - where nearly half the children obtained five higher- grade GCSEs last year despite the fact that the majority of pupils are eligible for free school meals.

The primaries include St Hughes Roman Catholic school in Liverpool - where two-thirds of pupils are eligible for free meals. Most of its 11-year-olds meet the required standard in English, mahs and science.

Inspectors have attempted to identify key factors that can lift the results of schools in inner-city areas. The report, Improving city schools, will be available in draft form next week and published later in the month.

Among those visited was Hague primary in Tower Hamlets, where 96 per cent of pupils are Bangladeshi. The head, Yvonne Hargreaves, stresses the role of phonics in teaching literacy to five to seven-year-olds.

She said: "We have a whole-staff approach to literacy which includes bilingual classroom assistants."

Maureen Hogarth, the head of the Church of England School of the Resurrection in Beswick, Manchester, believes the involvement of parents is crucial. She said: "We have high expectations and strong discipline. There is also very high-quality teaching."

All the schools in the study had a high proportion of pupils - more than 35 per cent wjo were eligible for free meals and all achieved better results than comparable institutions.

Full story, next week

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