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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engineer - Windo...

Guru Careers: Product Training Specialist / Software Trainer

£25 - 32,500K (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Produ...

Recruitment Genius: Unqualified NVQ Assessors - Health, Social Care & Management

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Advisor - OTE £30,000

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions