ACADEMY staff and pupils have received Government praise for their work to be within the top three per cent of schools nationally for student progress.

The Education Secretary and Minister of State for School Standards penned a letter to the headteacher of St George’s Church of England Academy, in Middleton St George, near Darlington, congratulating her on the school’s success.

The school, which has around 380 pupils aged three to 11, is now one of the top-ranked sites in England for student progress in reading, writing and mathematics.

The letter from Damian Hinds MP and Nick Gibb MP arrived in the post this month, with staff and students alike pleased to receive the news.

Within the letter from Westminster, Mr Hinds and Mr Gibb wrote: “Your school’s results show progress scores of 5.0, 3.6 and 5.0 in English reading, writing and mathematics respectively.

“This means that in terms of the progress your pupils make between Key Stage 1 and the end of Key Stage 2, your school is amongst the top three per cent of schools in England.

“We want to equip every child with the fluency in reading, writing and mathematics necessary to prepare them for a successful secondary education and beyond, and your school has provided this.

“Thank you for producing such high standards through your hard work and professionalism, and congratulations again to you and your staff for all you have achieved.”

The school, off Neasham Road, was purpose built and opened in 2006 to replace the original turn-of-the-century building on the same site which was gutted by fire damage in February 2003.

As a faith school in the Sage Multi-Academy Trust, St George’s does not receive Ofsted inspections. However, the school was last rated ‘outstanding’ in 2015 by the Church of England Education Office Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools.

Janine Gleeson, St George’s headteacher, said: “We were thrilled to receive a letter from the Secretary of State for Education and the Minister of State for School Standards informing us that our school was amongst the top three per cent of schools in England.

“Staff and children were filled with pride when they received the accolade, which celebrates all their hard work, dedication and fantastic achievement.

“St George’s Church of England Academy is a school which prides itself on its strong family ethos, providing a broad and balanced curriculum for all within its care and it is lovely to be recognised nationally.”