COUNCILLORS have welcomed news that primary schools in Newport are now among the best performing in Wales, according to Welsh Government categorisation.

Some 97 per cent of primaries across the city are now categorised as either green or yellow, the two highest ratings.

A total of 64 per cent have been categorised as green, the highest rating.

Secondary schools did not score quite as highly, with 55 per cent categorised as green or yellow.

Councillors welcomed the news at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Council leader, Cllr Debbie Wilcox, said education the amount of excellent judgements in Newport was "significantly higher" than elsewhere in Wales.

"Education is the primary focus of this administration," Cllr Wilcox said.

"Everything we do will have social values and social justice at the heart of it."

Cllr Gail Giles, cabinet member for education, said the report showed "an improving trend" among primary schools.

Secondary schools categorised as red will continue to receive the most support, Cllr Giles said.

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The total number of schools achieving 'green status' increased from 25 to 29.

Schools in the ‘amber’ category also decreased, from five to one.

There were many success stories, including Somerton Primary and Milton Primary School having been gone up from 'amber' to 'yellow'.

Ringland Primary was another notable success story, after it achieved the top rating having previously been 'yellow'.

However four schools remained in the lowest rating - 'red' - since the last banding.

The city’s two special schools – Maes Ebbw Special and Ysgol Bryn Derw – were raised from ‘amber’ to 'yellow'.

Councillor Paul Cockeram praised the work of teachers in helping pupils.

"It's the first days that make what is going to happen in the future, so it's so important we get it right," he said.

"Some of the schools are not in leafy suburbs as well, and they are in places where there are several different languages spoken.

"What more could you ask for."

Councillor Jane Mudd said the report was a "great achievement" for the city.

And Cllr Mark Whitcutt said it was testimony to the emphasis the council puts on education.

Cllr Wilcox added that the authority was not driven by schemes being "commercially viable", but by making the city a better place for people, with education and social care the priorities.

James Harris, strategic director at the council, said strong partnerships between the council and schools had helped primaries achieve highly.