News: Attainment Rises in England Primary Schools

Gap between disadvantaged pupils and peers also continues to close

ClassroomAttainment of primary schools in England has risen in every subject and disadvantaged pupils continue to close the gap on their peers – figures for primary tests out today (11 December 2014) show.

The results for more than half a million 11-year-olds (key stage 2) show the percentage achieving the expected level (level 4) in reading, writing and maths (3Rs) has risen by 3 percentage points to 79% while the proportion achieving the more challenging level 4b is also up – from 63% to 67%.

Today’s figures also show the number of primaries below the floor has remained stable even though schools have been judged on a new tougher threshold.

Schools Minister David Laws said:

I am pleased to see that primaries have responded to the challenge of a higher floor standard – we have raised the bar and schools have raised their game.

It is also encouraging to see the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers continue to narrow and parents, teachers and pupils deserve to be congratulated for their efforts.

But we know there is more to do and there are still too many areas with simply unacceptable levels of attainment for disadvantaged pupils.

We are committed to helping schools do more and have increased the pupil premium they receive per pupil to £1,300 so they have the resources they need.

While attainment has increased overall, disadvantaged pupils continue to close the gap on their peers:

  • the proportion of disadvantaged pupils achieving the expected level in reading, writing and maths combined has risen 6 percentage points between 2012 and 2014 – from 61% to 67%
  • the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has narrowed by 2 percentage points over the same period.

This year, primary schools where fewer than 65% of pupils achieved at least the expected level (level 4) in the reading test, the maths test and teacher assessment of writing, and which were below the progress measures in all these subjects, are below the floor standard.

This year, a more challenging floor standard has been introduced – with the proportion of pupils required to reach the expected level rising by 5% (from 60% to 65%).

Despite this higher target, there are 768 schools below the floor – equivalent to 6% of state-funded mainstream schools – the same proportion as in 2013.

If primary schools were judged against last year’s floor standard only 469 schools would have been below the threshold – a reduction of almost 300 schools.

Today’s figures reveal that, once again, schools in London perform well both in general attainment and in closing the gap. However, local authorities around the country had significant success:

  • North Tyneside, Blackpool and St Helens are among 22 local authorities which had no schools below the floor
  • Trafford and Cheshire East are second and sixth respectively for local authorities with the highest proportions of pupils achieving the challenging level 4b in the 3Rs
  • Westminster and Camden had the highest proportion of disadvantaged pupils achieving the expected level in reading, writing and maths combined at 83% and 82% respectively

The government will continue to challenge schools to drive forward improvements. In 2016 primary schools will be judged on a new floor standard which will be equivalent to the more challenging level 4b. Schools will also be expected to have 85% of their pupils reaching this higher standard in reading, writing and maths.

There were 241 schools where 100% of pupils achieved the more challenging level 4b in reading, writing and mathematics this year.

Information via: Department for Education, London.

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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