More than 100,000 11-year-olds still cannot master the "three Rs", despite an improvement in national curriculum test results this year.
The figures show 79 per cent of young people mastering the basics in all three tests, reading, writing and maths, an increase of four percentage points on last year’s results. This means that around 117,000 pupils are not reaching the required standard.
As before, kids’ weakest suit was in the spelling, grammar and punctuation test, wherein just 76 per cent reached the required standard, up two percentage points from last year.
Schools Reform Minister Nick Gibb said the results that both teachers and pupils “have responded well to the higher education standards our education reforms have demanded”.
“Our education system is beginning to show the first fruits of our plan for education, helping to prepare young people for life in modern Britain,” he added. “There is more to do but teachers and pupils deserve huge credit for such outstanding results.”
The results also showed a slight narrowing of the gap in performance between girls and boys, with girls maintaining a six point lead over boys.
Girls do best in reading, with 91 per cent achieving the required standards in the three Rs. In maths, boys and girls are equal on 86 per cent.
The results showed the results for local authority maintained schools and mainstream academies and free schools were virtually the same - although statisticians pointed out that very few free schools have reached the point where their pupils were sitting the tests.
There were, however, large differences between the results of those schools converting to academy status, where 83 per cent achieved the benchmark, and sponsored academies, set up in disadvantaged inner-city areas, where the figure was 68 per cent.
Mr Gibb said: “80,000 more children than five years ago will start secondary school this year secure in the basics and able to move on to more complex subjects.”