According to analysis by the Independent newspaper, the most recently published primary school performance tables suggest that almost half of pupils leave primary school without the ability to read and write properly. Only one in 20 schools (5%) achieved a ‘high standard’ overall.
According to the data, 665 mainstream primaries in England fell below the government’s lowest standard this year – although it should be noted that this year has seen a number of changes to curriculum and to SATs. Indeed, whilst the Schools Minister – Nick Gibb – suggested that the exams had been altered in order to raise expectations, the data suggests that 47% of pupils were below standards set by the Government this year, with around 200,000 pupils currently attending primary schools which are considered ‘under-performing’. These are schools where fewer than 65% of pupils reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths.
Perhaps disappointingly, there are regional differences in the quality of education being received by pupils, with those in London more likely to receive a good quality education. In London, only 1% (15 schools) fell below Government standards, compared to a fifth (4 out of 20 schools) in Bedfordshire.
However, stakeholders within the education sector have hit back at the findings, suggesting that the results cannot be taken literally due to a number of problems with this year’s SATs tests.
The Assistant General Secretary for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) described the SATs results as ‘totally unreliable’ due to a ‘chaotic mess of badly implemented and badly designed tests.’
Echoing this, the leader of the National Association of Head Teachers said the ‘data is not worth the paper it is written on.’
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