Primary schools across the West Midlands today shook off the disappointment of last year’s marking fiasco to celebrate further success for the region’s 11-year-old pupils.

Damaging delays in scoring last year’s Key Stage 2 classroom test papers led to a major embarrassment, as well as publication of the annual national performance tables being put back significantly until today.

But that did not unduly concern hundreds of primary schools.

Birmingham’s schools celebrated a third consecutive year of improved performance which saw them close the gap further on the national average.

The city’s Year 6 pupils have now taken their Level 4 attainment in English, maths and science to 77 per cent, 75 per cent and 86 per cent respectively.

Performance in English rose just one per cent on the 2007 figure, reflecting the same increase on the national average, which now stands at 81 per cent.

But in numeracy, the city figure has now reached 75 per cent compared to 73 per cent in 2007 and 71 per cent in 2006. And that has seen it close the gap on the national average, which rose just one per cent to 78 per cent over the same period. In science tests, the city average also rose by two per cent to reach 86 per cent last year. In comparison, the national figure did not budge and, at 88 per cent, is now tantalisingly close.

Birmingham’s cabinet member for children, young people and families, Coun Les Lawrence, said it was “heartening” to see the continued success story of schools in the city.

“The fact that results have maintained their upward trajectory is testimony to the hard work of pupils and their parents and the dedicated teachers and school staff we have in this city,” he said.

“These young people have now moved on to secondary schools and I wish them all the success for the future.”

Tony Howell, Birmingham’s Strategic Director for Children, Young People and Families, said he was delighted to see the city continuing to close the gap nationally.

“We are lucky here in Birmingham to have some of the best teachers and most dedicated school staff in the country and, over the years, they have helped us build a reputation for excellence in education.

“It is also especially pleasing to see that we have a high proportion of schools in the top five per cent nationally for contextual value added.”

Neighbouring Solihull remains the top performing authority in the region with 86 per cent of pupils achieving Level 4 in English, 84 per cent in maths and 93 per cent in science.

Solihull’s cabinet member for education, children and young people, Coun Ken Meeson, said: “Once again the young people of Solihull have excelled and made us proud.

“I would like to say a big well done to all of the pupils and thank our teachers, parents and governors for their continued support which helps our students achieve such outstanding results.”

Today’s results are published against a backdrop of calls at national level for them to be scrapped.

But the Association of School and College Leaders defended the need for some sort of benchmark, despite the serious problems which befell last year’s national KS2 tests.