THE acting headteacher at previously struggling Kidderminster school has praised the "hard work" of staff and pupils following a marked improvement in last year's results.

Birchen Coppice Primary School, in Woodbury Road, shot up the league tables, released last month by the Department of Education, after figures showed the number of 11-year-olds achieving the Government's target for academic achievement rose by 19 percentage points.

Statistics showed the number of key stage four pupils gaining level four or above in reading, writing and maths at the school in 2013 was 64 per cent, compared to just 45 per cent the year before - although the Government moved the goalposts after 2012 when results were ranked based on scores in English as a whole and maths.

Acting headteacher Rachel Higgins said: "There really is no secret to our improved results, it's all down to the hard work of the pupils and dedication of our staff.

"The school has come a long way to get to this point. We have worked with parents to improve attitudes towards learning and raise expectations and with the help and support of the governors we have developed the curriculum to meet the needs of our pupils. This is now starting to pay off.

"Parents are very proud of their children and staff are delighted not only with these results but with progress made. Knowing all this hard work is paying off is really satisfying and I am very hopeful Birchen Coppice is going from strength to strength."

In 2009, the school scored inadequate - the lowest ranking - in an Ofsted inspection. Inspectors returning in 2012, rated the school three, meaning it "requires improvement" but had noted a higher quality of teaching.

The 2013 league tables painted a mixed overall picture in Wyre Forest - with 73 per cent of the district's 11-year-old achieving the Government's academic standard, compared 72 per cent in Worcestershire overall and 75 per cent in England.