A HEADTEACHER has praised her students and staff after reaching the top three per cent of schools for reading, writing and mathematics in the UK - for the third year running.

Donna McNicoll of St Mary's RC Primary School, in Haslingden, was sent a letter from the secretary of state for education, Damian Hinds and minister of state for school standards, Nick Gibb, congratulating the school on its achievement.

Ms McNicoll said: "It is extremely special to be named as one of the top three per cent of schools in the country for three consecutive years.

"I am blessed here at St Mary's to have the most wonderful staff team who ensure that every single pupil reaches their maximum potential.

"This is a tremendous accolade for St Mary's and Haslingden."

Within the letter Mr Hinds said: "I would like to congratulate you, your staff and your pupils on the very high level of progress that pupils in your school demonstrated.

"We want to equip every child with the fluency in reading, writing and mathematics necessary to prepare them for a successful secondary education and beyond, and your school has provided this.

"Thank you for producing such high standards through your hard work and professionalism."