Ministers under pressure to scrap Sats

Ministers came under renewed pressure to scrap Sats tonight as results showed reading standards among 11-year-olds slipped for a second consecutive year.



More than a third of pupils also left primary school without a proper grasp of the basics in reading, writing and maths, National Curriculum test results revealed.



But youngsters are getting better overall at English and maths.



The Government was forced to disregard results in more than 20 local authorities, which were rendered "statistically unrepresentative" by a boycott which saw tens of thousands of children not sitting the tests.



The results showed only 65% reached the standard expected for their age in reading, writing and mathematics combined.



The results showed:



:: 84% of 11-year-olds achieved the required level in reading, down from 86% last year and 87% in 2008.



:: 71% were up to standard in writing, up from 68% last year.



:: 81% hit targets in English, up from 80% last year;



:: 80% reached this level in maths, up from 79% last year.



Christine Blower, of the National Union of Teachers, dismissed the test results as an "irrelevance" and praised the quarter of English schools which pulled out.



She added: "As much as £20 million in public money would be saved by a move to sample testing, which would be significantly more valid and not create a distorting effect on the curriculum.



"Parents are more interested in their children's happiness, security and progress across the curriculum than they are in the results of the deeply flawed Sats."



Ms Blower said improvements in scores in English and maths were not down to changes in standards.



She said: "The marginal shifts in percentages paint a picture of the vagaries of test questions rather than a change in standards.



"Teachers know from their own assessment that a minority of children need intensive support such as one-to-one tuition; they don't need irrelevant tests to tell them that.



"Indeed, research shows that Key Stage 2 test results have a significant margin of error."



Schools Minister Nick Gibb defended the role played by the tests but admitted support for teachers was needed.



He said: "Despite pupils' and teachers' hard work, one in five pupils are still not reaching the expected level in either English or maths and over a third are not achieving this level in reading, writing and maths combined.



"We need to ensure Government gives teachers the support they need to get the basics right.



"Getting the fundamentals right - being able to read and write and having a solid foundation in maths - is crucial to a child's success in secondary education and throughout their adult life.



"This is why the coalition Government is committed to promoting the use of systematic synthetic phonics in primary schools and to ensuring that pupils are fluent in arithmetic and basic maths by the time they move to secondary school. We will provide the help teachers need to do their job even better."



Unlike last year, teacher assessments on pupil performance over the year were published alongside the test results for around 600,000 youngsters.



The teachers said 81% of pupils were achieving the required level in English and maths, while 85% were reaching the standard for science.



At 14, 79% were hitting targets for English, while 80% were reaching the required level in science and English, the teachers' assessments showed.



The Department for Education said 4,005 of the 15,515 schools which were expected to administer the tests did not do so.



Shadow schools minister Vernon Coaker said English and Maths results were "encouraging" and "the culmination of a transformation in school standards thanks to Labour's investment and reforms".



"But there is obviously more to do, particularly in reading where the results are disappointing," he added.



"These results show why the coalition's cuts to the budgets of successful catch-up programmes like Every Child a Reader, which we were rolling out across the country, are so short-sighted and disastrous for educational opportunity."



Chris Keates, of teachers' union NASUWT, said "all involved should be congratulated and their work celebrated".



But he added: "The NASUWT remains of the view that publishing teacher assessment data alongside externally marked test results will cause confusion.



"This is a fundamentally flawed idea which was proposed by certain headteachers in an attempt to shift accountability from the school to individual teachers.



"Publishing this information leaves individual teachers exposed to criticism of their professional judgment and opens up the potential for their professional reputation to be unfairly impugned.



"The publication of teacher assessments should be halted and the NASUWT will continue to campaign for this."



Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: "Today's figures confirm what we have been arguing, that teacher assessments can be as accurate as test results and teachers' judgment both can and should be trusted.



"The real problem with Sats remains their high stakes nature. The elephant in the room is that any method of assessment which is used to judge teachers, schools and pupils like this will have the same outcome - children being taught to the test and stressed children and teachers."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Textiles / Fashion Technician

£22000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To contribute to the day-to-da...

Recruitment Genius: Health and Social Care NVQ Assessor

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...

Recruitment Genius: ICT Infrastructure Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy