A SCHOOL has received ministerial praise after being ranked in the top three per cent of primary schools in the country.

Nick Gibb MP, the minister of state for School Standards, commended the efforts of Yattendon CE Primary School following its phonics results, which were the best in West Berkshire.

Phonics is a method of teaching children how to read combining sounds and symbols in an alphabetic writing system.

Mr Gibb said: "Early fluency in decoding is a necessary first step in acquiring the key skill of reading.

"There is a substantial body of evidence demonstrating that systematic phonics is the most effective method for teaching children to read.

"We want to ensure that every child develops a firm grasp of phonics, which is why I was delighted to see your results.

"With 100 per cent of pupils reaching or exceeding the pass mark in the check, your school is in the top three per cent of all primary schools in the country.

"Your success in teaching phonics means your pupils are developing a firm foundation in reading."

It has been a successful year for the primary school, which also achieved the second-highest percentage for its SATs results in West Berkshire.

The letter praised the school's efforts in helping pupils to become 'increasingly fluent and develop a lifelong love of reading’.

Daily interactive phonics sessions were introduced across the school and Yattendon achieved the highest score out of 61 local schools.

Rachel Manley, head teacher of Yattendon, said: “I am so proud of all the staff and children for their drive and commitment every day.

"Achieving great results is an indicator that our pupils are progressing well.

"However, it is just as important that they are happy, independent learners, with plenty of opportunities to be challenged and enjoy a rich range of extra curricula activities.”