Almost a thousand primary schools failing to hit targets

Almost a thousand primary schools are failing to give their pupils a decent grounding in reading, writing and arithmetic, official figures suggest.

Newly published data shows that 962 primaries in England would be classed as failing under tough new targets announced by the Government last month.

The statistic comes in new primary school league tables, which also highlight the chaos caused by this year's boycott of national curriculum, or Sats, tests.

The new target, published in an education White Paper, said primaries will fall below the bar if fewer than 60% of their pupils reach Level 4 - the standard expected of the age group - in English and maths and fewer youngsters make two levels of progress in the subjects than the national average.

According to today's figures, the national average for English this year was 87% making two levels of progress and for maths it was 86%.

Those schools that fail to reach the target face closure or being taken over.

Today's primary school league tables show that 962 schools, out of around 11,500 for whom results are known, fail to meet this threshold. This figure will have been affected by the boycott.

Last year, 1,631 schools would have fallen below, the Department for Education said.

The target was introduced as part of a major overhaul of England's schools system, and Schools Minister Nick Gibb insisted today the new standards were "firm but fair".

He said the statistics show that many primaries are providing a "first-class education".

But he added: "Currently half of all 10 and 11-year-old boys who qualify for free school meals are being let down by our education system. It is unacceptable that after seven years of primary school these children are not at the standard in English and maths that they need to flourish at secondary school."

Ministers are focused on improving reading ability and raising behaviour standards, he said.

"It's why we are introducing new fair but firm floor standards to identify under-performing schools - but schools with challenging intakes won't be classified as under-performing if their pupils progress well, he added.

The primary school league tables show how every 11-year-old in England performed in English and maths tests.

Data for a quarter of schools, around 4,000 in total, is missing due to a boycott by two teaching unions, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT).

It means each table shows gaps in results for schools that did not sit the tests, which will make it harder for parents choosing schools for their children to compare the results of different primaries.

The tables reveal that slightly more primaries scored full marks than last year.

They suggest that 289 primaries succeeded in making sure every 11-year-old left with Level 4 in both English and maths, compared to 282 last year.

At just one school, Manuden Primary in Bishop's Stortford, every pupil scored a Level 5 - one above that expected of the age group - in both English and maths.

This school had the highest average points score.

Acting headteacher Pauline Gordon put the school's success down to excellent teachers and high expectations.

Two schools recorded 0% for the proportion of pupils gaining Level 4 in both English and maths.

One was Kingsfleet Primary School in Felixstowe, which recorded 0% for its English results but 84% for maths.

Headteacher Kirsty Beattie said the school's English results could not be published due to a discrepancy with the reading test.

She said: "I contacted the authority as I wasn't sure it had been a fair test, because the children were given about five minutes less than they should have been, due to the teacher mis-timing the test. I was asked to send off the papers to be marked.

"As it happens they did well in the test anyway, but it didn't sit with my conscience - I know there are strict guidelines and we wanted to follow them to the letter."

When the papers were marked, the school's English results were also 84%.

Mrs Beattie added: "They had made really good progress and it's unfortunate that, with the data as it is reported, you do not get a clear picture."

Starks Field primary school in Enfield, north London, got 0% for all its results.

Deputy leader of Enfield council Achilleas Georgiou said the results did not reflect the quality of the school.

"As the only children in the school taking Sats were 13 children that had joined the school just five months earlier, their league table position is a false one and does not reflect the quality of teaching in the school, which has been praised by Ofsted," he said.

The most improved school was Pilgrim School in Rochester, Kent, which has seen its average points score grow by 5.9 points since 2007.

Headteacher Jan Taylor said: "We really try to be adventurous with our learning, I think that's the real key."

Ilderton Primary School in south London added the most value to its pupils' education.

For the first time this year, results for science tests were not included, because they were scrapped by former Schools Secretary Ed Balls.

But teacher assessment figures for English and maths were included.

Figures published in August showed that across England, slightly more pupils were reaching the levels expected of them in the basics.

Some 81% of 11-year-olds reached Level 4 in English, up from 80% last year and 80% reached this level in maths, up from 79% in 2009.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers said: "This is a snapshot picture which does not tell us the whole story about children's performance. Level 4 was supposed to be the level that the average child achieved, not every child.

"The majority of these schools will be in the toughest areas where headteachers and teachers will have to be working very hard indeed to do the best for their pupils.

"Yet again, the case is made to end the demoralising naming and shaming process we have for assessing pupil progress. League tables and constantly changing, pointless floor-targets need to go and be replaced by properly moderated teacher assessment."

Read the Department for Education Primary School Tables here

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Reach Volunteering: Chair of Governors for Victoria Education Centre and Sports College

Voluntary non trustee post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Reach Volunteering: External HR Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable