A PLACE in the nation's top 250 primary and nursery schools was the cause for celebration for Furness staff and pupils in 2002.

St James' Church of England School, in Blake Street, Barrow, had received a glowing Ofsted report and inspectors found that the children's standards of English were in the top five per cent on the country.

The annual report of the chief inspector of schools Mike Tomlinson listed St James' among 224 particularly successful schools out of 3,500 primary and nursery schools inspected in 2001.

Headteacher Angela Rawlinson said: "It's a real team effort. I'm thrilled for the staff and all their hard work.

"They are dedicated and they deserve it.

"We also have supportive parents and community . The community of Hindpool is great.

"We have a very good governing body. They are very supportive and most of all I am pleased for our amazing children who are superb and they deserve everything they get.

"The children are involved in everything. They have ownership of the school."

Cumbria director of Education John Nellist said: "Their success is areal tribute to the headteacher, staff, governors and pupils."

Pupils had an opportunity to show Furness parents how much they knew about maths when mums and dads were invited to try a day in the classroom in 1988.

The Mail, on November 4, noted: "The St James' Church of England School, Barrow, invited parents back for the day as part of the 1988 Primary Mathematics Year and for mums and dads to find out what their children got up to in school subjects, particularly maths.

"Headmaster Mark Wilson said the aim of the grown-ups returning to learning was to help them draw on their children's experience at school."

He said: "We are trying to get to grips with the new national curriculum which standardises the maths that primary pupils receive.

"It is an information-sharing experience with parents, pupils and teachers."

The article noted: "The maths day kicked off at 10am with investigations which left some parents with an embarrassed smile as youngsters left them way behind.

"Next came shapes and three-dimensional work, followed by maths games and computer activities."

Pat Robinson, whose children Emma and Shaun were pupils, said: "They know so many more things than we learned at primary school.

"I came here to find out what they do every day and realise it is so different from my day.