Nearly 500 schools have failed to reach the Government’s target in English and maths national curriculum tests for 11-year-olds, figures disclose today.
As a result, the 476 who failed to get 60 per cent of their pupils to read fluently and add up properly could face closure or conversion into one of the Government’s flagship academies within the next year. A further 45 were also below the minimum target but have since closed (37 becoming academies).
The figure is a major improvement on last year, though, when a total of 1,310 primary schools failed to meet the target and ministers may consider upping the target in future.
The results, included in primary school performance tables published today, show marked regional variations with six per cent of primary schools (89) in Yorkshire and Humberside failing while the success story is in inner London where only one per cent of schools (eight) failed to reach the target.
The local authorities with the biggest percentage of schools failing to reach the minimum target are Portsmouth and Nottingham (16 per cent) and Kirklees, Peterborough and Medway in Kent (11 per cent).
Meanwhile, at the top end of the scale more than 500 primary schools (502) had a perfect 100 per cent score in both maths and English.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “The Government brought in hgher primary school floor targets with one aim in mind - to drive up standards with immediate effect to end years of chronic underperformance.
“Schools with a long history of underperformance and who are not stepping up to the mark face being taken over by an academy sponsor. The expertise and strong leadership provided by sponsors is the best way to turn around weak schools and give pupils there the best chance of a first-class education.”
Schools have to fail to clear three hurdles before being recommended for compulsory academy status: failing to reach the floor target and failing to improve maths and English by two levels (level four is the required standard for 11-year-olds).
Nationally, the figures show an improvement in both the reading test (87 per cent reaching the required standard - up from 84 per cent) and maths (up four percentage points to 84 per cent). The percentage of pupils achieving it in both subjects went up six percentage points to 79 per cent. There was no writing test for the first time - it was teacher assessed rather than marked externally. Its absence could have been a factor in the fall in the number of primary schools below the floor target as it was considered to be the most difficult of the three tests.