A GOVERNMENT minister has heaped praise on a primary school, to the delight of staff members.

Castle Hill Primary School, in Park Prewett Road, recently received its results for the 2018 phonics screening check.

The screening tests for phonics - a method for teaching reading and writing of the English - take place at the end of the academic year on Year 1 pupils to determine that they have learnt phonic decoding to a certain standard.

A total of 95 per cent of students who took the test reached or exceeded the pass mark, which puts the school in the country’s top nine per cent.

Now, the headteacher John Martin has received a letter from Nick Gibb MP, the minister of state for school standards, congratulating the staff and school on the results.

Part of the letter to Mr Martin from Mr Gibb said: “I would like to congratulate you, your staff and your pupils on your school’s outstanding achievement in the 2018 phonics screening check.

“Achieving early fluency in decoding is a necessary first step in acquiring the key skill of reading.”

Mr Gibb’s letter added: “We want to ensure that every child develops a firm grasp of phonics, which is why I was delighted to see your results.

“Your success in teaching phonics and early reading so effectively means your pupils are developing a firm foundation in reading, from which they can become increasingly fluent and develop a lifelong love of reading.

“Thank you for all your work in this vital area of a child’s early education and congratulations again to you and your staff for all you have achieved.”

Staff at the school were thrilled to get the praise from Mr Gibb.

Head of Year 1 at Castle Hill, Nicola Gomersall, said: “It was great, we were shocked and amazed when Mr Martin told us the news the minister had sent us a letter.

“We were really excited and happy to get recognition about our results, and this has inspired us to go even better and get as high as we can.

“Our aim is to improve on last year, and these results prove that we are passionate about the basics. It’s about the children at the end of the day.

“Special thanks to head of year R Theresa James, who gets them started, I help them to finish off.”