A PRIMARY school in Bolton has been highlighted as among the top in the country for helping pupils from disadvantage backgrounds.

St Bede’s Academy in Morris Green — one of the top performing schools n Bolton — received a letter from David Laws, the minister of state for schools, congratulating it for being in the top 250 schools for how well children from poorer backgrounds performed in this year’s key stage two national curriculum tests.

The letter to headteacher Jack Hatch said: “Your school is exceptionally effective in educating your disadvantage pupils.

“It is clear that you and your staff have provided your disadvantaged pupils with a good start in life and a strong springboard into secondary education.”

This is the second time the school has been praised on a national level.

Elizabeth Truss, parliamentary under secretary of state for education and childcare, described Mr Hatch as a hero for overcoming red tape to set up childcare from 7am and up to 6pm.

Ms Truss said: “You don’t have to be a complete hero like Jack Hatch — this is something all headteachers can do and should think about doing.”

Mr Hatch said: “St Bede’s has been supporting families and parents for more than 10 years by providing care 52 weeks per year and the school has long understood the benefits this brings to children and their families.

“The school posted its best academic results ever — this has much to do with the way we care for and work with our families and their children from the age of six weeks to 11 years and the children's entry to secondary school with an excellent record.”

In his role as schools’ forum representative, he has worked with the local authority and other partners to set up a funding system that supports schools and nurseries to offer families support.

The school has set up out-of-school clubs in seven other schools across Bolton and Wigan as well as three nurseries and he said he would like “to see a time when every child can get access to this quality provision which can make such a difference to their future lives”.