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SECONDARY school pupils have failed to significantly improve test results in key subjects, according to new league tables published today.

Overall across Hampshire's 71 secondary schools 14-year-olds who sat the Key Stage 3 exams last summer did worse in their maths and science exams than the year before, while standards in English remained the same.

While the county's results were all above the national average, overall results at Southampton's 14 secondary schools were, once again, significantly below the national average.

Across the city teenagers fared worse in English, but improved in science and maintained last year's results in maths.

Nationally Hampshire was ranked 37th, Southampton 115th and the Isle of Wight 27th out of 150 local authorities based on the overall percentage of pupils gaining the expected level five benchmark or more in the three core subjects of English, maths and science.

Among Southampton's success stories was Chamberlayne Park School which was among the top 100 schools nationally to have made the most improvement between 2004 ands 2007.

Head teacher, Chris Kelly, who took over in January last year said: "We are absolutely delighted.

"It is a real accolade for the staff and pupils who have all worked so hard during a time when the school has experienced a range of challenges."

Mrs Kelly said the key to the school's success was staff intervening early on with extra support for struggling pupils.

"Measures include arranging teaching in small groups and one-on-one sessions which along with clear tracking procedures help to closely monitor pupils' progress."

Another school to achieve national success was The Westgate School in Winchester which came 13th in the country for its impressive value added score - an indicator used to measure progress pupils make between the ages of 11 and 14.

Headteacher Julie Turvey, who took over the school last September said she was pleased that the school added such "fantastic value" to pupil's progress.

She said: "It's down to the hard work of staff and pupils and the support of parents."

According to Mrs Turvey high-quality teaching, rigorous monitoring procedures and extra pupil support, such as after-school sessions, helped motivate pupils to become more active learners and make greater progress.

"For our pupils it's not a case of chalk and talk, but active learning," she said.

Schools that fared less well for the rate of progress made by pupils between the ages of 11 and 14 were Wyvern Technology College in Fair Oak, Hounsdown in Totton, Bellemoor in Southampton and Wildern in Hedge End.

They all came in the bottom 100 schools nationally for their value added score between the ages of 11 and 14.

However, all of the schools entered pupils for the national exams a year early and this has skewed their results.

Colin McKavanagh, Hounsdown deputy head teacher said pupils at the school are "fast tracked" during Key Stage 3 so that they can spend a greater time focusing on their GCSEs.

"The most significant thing for us is how students do at Key Stage 4," he said.

Similarly Sheila Campbell, head teacher at Wyvern Technology College said Year 8 pupils, instead of Year 9 pupils, sat the exams and the school was happy with the results.

Bellemoor School's deputy head teacher Martin Brown said a combination of pupils sitting the exams a year early and pupil absences, often condoned by parents, had led to its low value added score.

The top performing school in Southampton, judged by the number of pupils reaching the level five benchmark, was St Anne's Catholic School, where 92 per cent achieved level five or above in English, 87 per cent in maths and 90 per cent in science.

However pupils at more than half of the city's secondary schools were recorded as making less than average progress from the ages of 11 to 14.

Commenting on Hamp-shire's results Councillor David Kirk, Hampshire County Council's executive member for education said: "Congratulations go to all pupils and teachers for these good results which although they show slight dips from last year's results in maths and science still remain higher than the national averages in these subjects and show an overall upward trend in the past five years.

"The fact that results have dipped slightly this year is not necessarily an indication the pupils are destined to achieve any less in their final examinations at age 16 than previous generations of children in Hampshire.

"While Key Stage 3 tests are an important milestone in performance they are not the ultimate measure of a child's performance."

No one from Southampton City Council was available for comment.