Primary pupils fail to master the 3 Rs

Around 220,000 11-year-olds are still failing to master at least one of the three basic subjects of reading, writing and arithmetic, tests results published today show.



The figures show the biggest problem is with writing where only 67 per cent of youngsters achieved the required grade – a figure which has remained static for the past three years.

Boys fare worse than girls with just 60 per cent achieving the required standard – compared with 74 per cent of girls.

Overall, the results showed that 81 per cent of youngsters achieving the standard in English (up one per cent from last year) and 78 per cent in maths (also up one per cent). The figure for science remained static at 88 per cent.

Only 61 per cent of 11-year-olds manage to master the basics in all three subjects, though.

This year’s results showed that around 66 per cent of scripts (half of them in English) were still missing at the time the results were prepared as a result of the marking which saw ETS Europe, the American-based firm charged with marking and delivering the papers, fail to meet the deadline for producing the results. Of those papers, around 17,000 are still missing.

Meanwhile, research published today shows that the true figure of those struggling to master the basics is likely to be even higher. A survey shows that a majority of teachers believes SATs (national curriculum) tests for 11-year-olds give an exaggerated picture of their pupils’ performance.

As a result of being coached for the tests, thousands of children achieve better results than their ability merits – and then fall behind when they start secondary school. The country’s secondary school heads say that almost every school will retest their first-year pupils at the start of the autumn term because they have lost confidence in the ability of national curriculum tests to identify a child’s potential.

Today’s results, while welcomed by Schools Minister Jim Knight, show ministers are still far away from meeting their target of getting 85 per cent of pupils top reach the required standard in both subjects. They had hoped to achieve that by 2006. Ministers said they had gone ahead with the publication of this year’s results despite claims from headteachers that they would be “meaningless” because of the record numbers of appeals being made by schools in the wake of this year’s fiasco because they had been assured by statisticians the results were reliable.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, schools and Families said: “independent statisticians make the decision to publish the results, independent watchdog Ofqual provides assurance about test standards and independent Ofsted (the education standards watchdog) says ‘the data is extremely helpful in evaluating effectiveness schools’ effectiveness’.”

The Conservatives estimated the figures meant more than three million children had left primary school without mastering the basics since Labour came to power in 1997.

Michael Gove, the conservatives’ schools spokesman, said: “An entire generation of primary school children have been failed on Labour’s watch. Nothing can be more crucial than ensuring pupils learn to read so they can read to learn.”

However, the DCSF spokeswoman said: “Standards in our schools are rising and we do not accept this is as a result of teaching to the test.”

Today’s survey of teachers by the independent think-tank Civitas shows 90 per cent of teachers believe their pupils’ test results paint a wrong picture of their pupils’ abilities.

Of these, 79 per cent say test results are an improvement on classroom performance – mainly because pupils have been coached for the tests. Only ten per cent believe their pupils fare worse in tests than they should do.

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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Recruitment Genius: Nursery Nurse and Room Leader - Hackney

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a qualified childcare p...

QAA: Independent member of the QAA Board of Directors

Expenses paid in connection with duties: QAA: QAA is inviting applications to ...

AER Teachers: PPA TEACHER/MENTOR

£27000 - £37000 per annum: AER Teachers: THE SCHOOL: This is a large and vibra...

AER Teachers: EYFS Teacher

£27000 - £37000 per annum: AER Teachers: EYFS TEACHERAn 'Outstanding' Primary ...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea