Parson Street acclaimed

11th February 2000 at 00:00

XANDRA MCCARTHY, head-teacher of Bristol's Parson Street primary, may profess not to be interested in league tables, but she does take pride in being selected by the chief inspector as an improving school.

Four years ago inspectors highlighted a number of problems from teachers' lack of subject knowledge to poor pupil progress.

Mrs McCarthy took over three-and-a-half years ago and began to set in place the building blocks of improvement.

She said: "We took a whole-school approach - pupils, staff and the community had to be committed to raising standards."

The 493-pupil school and nursery is near inner-city Bristol. More than a quarter of pupils in the main school can claim free school meals and 8 per cent have nglish as an additional language.

The school piloted the literacy and numeracy strategies. These brought confidence to teachers, had positive knock-on effects on other subjects and encouraged professional discussion.

Parents, grandparents and local employees helped open a new chapter in the school's fortunes by helping their children in a reading programme.

As a result, key stage 2 national curriculum test results rocketed. In English, the proportion reaching Level 4 has more than doubled from 34 per cent in 1997 to 79 per cent last year.

The percentage achieving this level in maths has jumped from 45 to 72 per cent and improvements in science meant that 83 per cent of pupils make the grade this year, compared to 61 two years ago.

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