East Ham primary school tops England league tables

Headteacher Neena Lall with some of her pupils at St. Stephen's Primary School

Headteacher Neena Lall with some of her pupils at St. Stephen's Primary School - Credit: St. Stephen's Primary School

Bright pupils at a East Ham state primary school have scored the highest marks in England for reading, grammar and mathematics.

St Stephen’s Primary School, in Whitfield Road, ranked first in the Sunday Times league tables yesterday for its 2016 Sats results - the first time a non-independent or private school has taken the top spot.

Its 60 pupils - 96 per cent of who speak English as a second language - attained 340 points in total, broken down into 111 for reading, 115 for grammar and 114 for maths.

Headteacher Neena Lall praised her “amazing staff” and said the school’s vision of ensuring “every child blossoms into a confident, respectful, modern British citizen prepared to be an aspirational contributor in the global community” was key to its success.

“It’s all about expectations and standards,” she said. “If you expect the children to get there, they will and they have showed they will rise to the challenge.”

Pupils at the school are generally a year ahead of national curriculum guidelines by Year 6.

By the age of eight, all Key Stage 3 pupils can do their 12 times tables, proven by a near 100pc achievement in the arithmetic exams.

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Despite the high expectations, Neena said the children were not stressed.

“They love coming in, there is no pressure here at all,” she said.

“My staff are superb. They get the results and they present the curriculum in a very assessible and creative way.”

Neena, a former independent school pupil herself, has four nieces in a non-state school and said their academic experiences had shaped her ethos.

“I thought if they can do it, why can’t our kids do it?” she said.

The head added she was also strict about challenging children to do more for themselves.

“Our parents can tend to be over nurturing so independence is quite an issue for us here,” Neena said.

“[We say] your children can dress and feed themselves so you have to put down clear expectations at what age children can do things for themselves.”

This has resulted in “cultural and enriching” activities with recent visits to the ballet, Tate Modern and the Tower of London.