Wakefield's latest primary school exam results are cause for "cautious optimism", according to a senior council officer.
Andy Lancashire, service director for education and inclusion, said the narrowing of the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers in some subjects was "encouraging".
Wakefield now ranks eighth out of Yorkshire's 15 local authorities on Key Stage 2 results and the district's number of very young children achieving a so-called "good level of development" has increased.
Based on academic results from last summer, the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers remains wider in Wakefield than the national average.
But Mr Lancashire said he expected that gap to be cut further in the coming years.
Speaking at a meeting of school leaders from across Wakefield on Thursday, Mr Lancashire said: "I'm cautiously optimistic.
"In terms of early years I think there's positive results.
"I think it reflects the focus that's been placed on speech, language and communication
"Key Stage 1 results are interesting really. We've seen a small increase in (the numbers of students getting good grades in) reading and writing, and maths, but nationally there's been a drop in those subjects.
"At Key Stage 2 level, there's also been a lot of progress. Some significant gains have been made there.
"A lot of hard work has gone into schools across the district."
Quoting figures which show that the gap between disadvantaged Key Stage 2 pupils and other children had halved in 2019, but remain nearly three per cent behind the national average, Mr Lancashire said: "There's still work to do obviously, but I'd expect that progress to continue."
He added: "I think there's a real attitude now across the country of wanting to share information and ideas now, which is helpful.
"From that perspective it's all very encouraging."
Local Democracy Reporting Service