Norfolk has edged ahead of Suffolk in the primary school league tables thanks to significant improvements in their Key Stage 2 performance – but both counties remain frustratingly close to the bottom.

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Norfolk now lies in joint 142nd place – out 152 – tied with 10 other local authorities, according to the latest figures published this morning.

There are now 75pc of youngsters gaining at least a level four in maths and English by the end of primary school, up from 68pc.

The increase of seven percentage points helps the county narrow the gap on the national average after that increased by five percentage points from 74pc to 79pc.

But just five local authority areas – including Suffolk which sits in joint 148th place with 74pc achieving the expected level in English and maths – performed worse than Norfolk.

Cambridgeshire County Council is now in joint 80th place.

Today Norfolk County Council said it acknowledged that there was still significant work to be done to catch up with the national average and ensure primary schools were achieving the very best for their pupils.

But it said that should not detract from the improvements that had already been made.

Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “These are Norfolk’s best ever key stage two results so congratulations to everybody involved – I know schools, teachers, parents, governors and, of course, pupils, have worked extremely hard to make these improvements and raise standards.

“This is a real achievement and schools in Norfolk have shown excellent progress, but we are not complacent. Whilst we recognise school improvement rests with schools, the county council, as the champion for parents and pupils, is absolutely committed to supporting and challenging schools and, when absolutely necessary, intervening to ensure they raise standards and give their pupils every opportunity to do well.”

There were a number of individual success stories across Norfolk and Suffolk.

St Nicholas Priory Junior School in Great Yarmouth was named the 50th most improved school in the country having increased the percentage of pupils gaining at least level four in English and maths from 40pc in 2009 to 76pc in 2012.

Nearby Peterhouse Primary in Gorleston, which was in special measures until May 2011, completed an impressive turnaround with the top value added score in Norfolk. It means pupils make, on average, 2.4 terms more progress than their peers by the end of KS2.

Catton Grove Primary and Old Catton Junior, both in Norwich, and Docking Primary, near Hunstanton, were among a large number which saw big improvements in their results.

But there are also a number of schools still ranked among some of the worst in the country.

Kessingland Primary School in Lowestoft, Larkman Primary School in Norwich and Norwich Road Primary in Thetford were among the bottom 100 schools for the percentage of pupils achieving level four in English and maths.

For more analysis and league tables, see tomorrow’s paper.

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