Funding must be concentrated into early years to prevent youngsters being consigned to a lifetime of failure, the head of one of the country's top performing schools said yesterday.
Alsager Highfields Community Primary School, in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, has the region's highest proportion of pupils gaining level five in SAT tests.
That equals a stage two years beyond the required level four.
Headteacher John Girbow said he was delighted at the news, but warned Ministers not to be distracted by other priorities from maintaining high funding levels into primaries.
"These are the halcyon days for primary education," he said. "The Government is coming through with money which is why I have been able to employ learning assistants.
"My worry is, given the national financial situation, they may start to claw it back. I just hope the Government don't take away from the early years which I feel are the most important.
"If you get it right by the age of 11, then you have cracked it. If you don't, it is very difficult to pick up. If they are not getting level four at the top end of primary education, it is very hard for them.
"They need to be autonomous, independent learners at secondary school and if they are not the chances of them doing well are very small."
Mr Girbow added it was vital to maintain high funding levels in primary schools in the face of new obligations to ensure teachers get ten per cent non-contact time.
"That is a strain on the budgets because we have been given nothing like a ten per cent budget increase to cover that," he said.
Level four is the standard expected by 11-year-olds in English, maths and science tests, whereas level five is described as "beyond expectations".
Alsager Highfields came 47th nationally for the proportion of 11- year- olds achieving level five in Key Stage Two tests.
The school is doubly unique in that although it has a Stoke address, it actually comes under the control of Cheshire's local education authority.
Mr Girbow said: "We have always had virtually 100 per cent level four. When you get that, the next question is what do you do next?
"You look at what is the criteria to get level five and look at what would get them to that level. We have a curriculum which is very creative. It is hard to deliver and expensive but worth it."