School surrenders 'beacon' status after staff exodus

Education Editor,Richard Garner
Tuesday 28 January 2014 04:57
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One of the Government's prestigious beacon schools is surrendering its special status because it has suffered an exodus of staff unable to keep up with the high cost of living.

Only one teacher and one classroom assistant from the 25 staff who put in the bid for beacon status for St Mary and St Pancras Church of England primary school in Camden, north London, two years ago will remain in September.

The turnaround is stark evidence of the difficulties schools face in attracting and retaining staff in London and the South-east.

Top performing schools are granted beacon status by the Government if they have excellent test and exam results. They are given extra cash to pass on their teaching practice to neighbours.

Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, has praised maths and English teaching in the 230-pupil St Mary and St Pancras school, whose national curriculum test results have risen sharply to better than the national average despite the fact that it serves one of the most deprived areas, with nearly 100 pupils on free school meals. Its behaviour and discipline record also earned it top marks from inspectors.

The school is believed to be the first in the country to give up its special status.

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