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Hopes for another bumper crop of results

Goldsworth primary in Woking, Surrey, is among the top schools in the country at teaching English.

And for Pauline Alexander, headteacher, next week's tests are particularly important. The 11-year-olds taking Sats are the children who started at Goldsworth when she did.

She took over at the futuristic purpose-built school after leaving the now-closed Barnwood primary, which served a deprived area of Guildford.

Results for the 400-pupil school put it among the top 5 per cent of schools in the country: 97 per cent of 11-year-olds achieved level 4 or better in English last year. Even so, Mrs Alexander does not believe league tables should be published.

"At my previous school, we opened champagne when we got the Sats results as we were so chuffed that the pupils had out-performed everything they or we expected, but in the league tables it looked awful." What is important to Mrs Alexander is that by Year 6, most pupils do as well or better than expected given their starting point. Teachers have carefully planned targets for each child for each part of the curriculum. Children also set their own targets, using their own words.

Kareen O'Brien, a reception teacher who is also an assistant head, head of key stage 1 and literacy co-ordinator, gave an example: "One pupil said, 'Can I have leaving finger spaces between words as my target, because you do them and I want to do them too'."

There is also an emphasis on making sure children have practical lessons and a real reason for writing.

Miss O'Brien said: "In Year 2 science, we were interested to see if flowers really did survive longer with flower food. They didn't.

"So we wrote to the supermarket to inform them of our findings. It replied and said next time try putting the flowers in lukewarm water."

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