NEWCASTLE'S Royal Grammar School has been named as the top independent preparatory school in the North in a prestigious guide.
The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2012, to be published this weekend, shows RGS’ junior department is ranked seventh in the country among fee-paying schools where pupils take national assessments in English and maths at the end of Year 6.
Headmaster Dr Bernard Trafford said: “We are very proud of our junior school and this is richly deserved.
“There is a real magic surrounding our junior pupils and they work really hard with a host of activities, not just in school time.
“They have developed a really successful recipe and I’m pleased the junior school has been recognised in this way.”
In the guide, fee-paying prep schools are ranked by the percentage of pupils gaining level five in their Sats at Key Stage 2 over the three years from 2009 to 2011.
Dr Trafford added: “Without any complacency, we try to take the tests in our stride and they don’t do any harm to our children.
“However, it’s when tests start to rule teachers’ lives and a school spends the whole year preparing pupils for exams that they can become damaging to education.
“We approach the tests as a rich and busy experience for the pupils, but they are not the be-all and end-all of going to school.”
RGS is followed by Central Newcastle High School’s junior school, which is ranked sixth best in the North and has a national ranking of 46 – up from 53 last year.
St Oswald’s RC Primary School in Newcastle is ranked as the fifth best regionally amongst state primaries and 31st nationally, up from 49th.
For the guide, state primary schools were measured on their performance at Key stage 2, looking at the percentage of pupils with the Government target level four or over, from 2009 to 2011.
St Mary and St Thomas Aquinas RC Primary School in Gateshead was sixth best regionally and 33rd in the country, while Shincliffe C of E Primary School, Durham, was named 10th best regionally and 49th nationally.
Tomorrow, The Sunday Times Schools Guide 2012 will publish details of the top 100 independent prep schools and the top 500 primaries.