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Resurrection of success;Primary school results;News;News and opinion

TONY BLAIR cannot have failed this week to glimpse the run-down council estates of Beswick on the outer rim of Manchester as he crossed the divide between affluence and deprivation.

Just yards from the precinct where the Prime Minister halted briefly for photographs lies the School of the Resurrection, a primary getting results that could be the envy of others in more prosperous areas.

In this Church of England school many pupils have unemployed fathers and 60 per cent of the intake - three times the national average - qualify for free meals.

However, this year more than 80 per cent of 11-year-olds achieved the standard required in English and more than 90 per cent did so in maths and science.

Test results have improved dramatically since 1996, when scores were among the worst in the country. According to the head, Maureen Hogarth, the key to success has been encouraging parents to take a share in the work.

"We have got the parents on board and have been able to boost their confidence as well as the children's," she says.

Much of the improvement has been achieved, she says, through sheer hard work by the teachers. Children are required to do homework and after-school lessons were held for the class about to take the tests. The school has also invested in classroom assistants and nursery nurses.

There is a strong emphasis on English and maths, but Miss Hogarth also supports dance, music and high-quality art work.

Above all, no one is allowed to suggest that a disadvantaged background is any excuse for not getting good results.

"It is going to be hard for these children when they go on to high school. We have to make sure they get a secure foundation here."

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