Primary Level Education

Primary school league tables: More than 200,000 taught in struggling schools

These schools collectively educate around 210, 348 children. This is about 5 per cent of the primary school population.

But the number of struggling schools fell by 92 despite a dramatic increase in measures of what constitutes acceptable performance in the three-Rs (reading, writing and arithmatic). Recent changes include banning calculators from maths tests.

"The increased performance at primary level across the country demonstrates how this Government is delivering on its commitment to provide educational excellence everywhere."

Nick Gibb

However, there are wider variations across the country. In some parts of England, all primaries are reaching Government targets on performance, whereas in others, around one in seven do not reach the benchmark.

Failing schools risk being turned into academies for consistently falling below the minimum floor standards in what the Government sees as a quicker route to improvement. But teachers have warned that taking over a schools "is not a magic wand". Academies now also risk being taken over by a different sponsor or trust.

Ministers said that the current Government is delivering "excellent" education "everywhere" to make sure children get off to a good start in life.

The number of struggling schools fell by 92

Figures also revealed disadvantaged pupils are catching up with their peers, with the difference in performance dropping as more students from all backgrounds now start secondary school with acceptable standards.

But there are still areas in the country where the level of attainment is low. In Poole, Dorset, more than a quarter of primaries were deemed underperforming, with a similar picture in Medway, Doncaster and Bedford.

There are still 13 local authorities where Key Stage 2 results "are disappointingly low" and ministers are meeting with representatives of these areas to see how they can work together at improving teaching in reading and maths.

The figures were part of school-by-school league tables for more than 16, 000 primaries in England. They chart performance in the three-Rs for 11 year-olds at the end of the last academic year.

According to the figures:

• One in five pupils didn't achieve level 4 or above in all three subjects compared to one in three in 2010;

• Fox Primary School in Kensington, west London, was named as the best performing school for the third year running, with an average points score of 34.5 and 93 per cent of pupils achieving the higher Level 5 – the standard expected in the first few years of secondary education;

• Combe Church of England Primary School was came second in England, with 78 per cent of its pupils achieving the national standard;

• Faith schools were by far the largest group of schools with the best results in the country, keeping a strong hold at the top of the rankings;

• Attainment in the grammar, punctuation and spelling test increased from 76 per cent in 2014 to 80 per cent in 2015;

• Rutland in the East Midlands and Devon in the South West are in the top 10 areas for the number of primaries where all pupils score 100 per cent in the 3Rs, while the North West and North East were second only to London in terms of proportion of schools above the floor standard.

On pupil attainment in reading, writing and maths alone, without including the progress measures, London continues to dominate, with eight boroughs in the top 10. These are Kensington and Chelsea, where 91 per cent of pupils reached Level 4 in all three subjects, along with Richmond upon Thames (88 per cent), Greenwich (87 per cent), Sutton (87 per cent), Bromley (86 per cent), Camden (86 per cent), Hounslow (86 per cent) and Havering (86 per cent).

The lowest attaining authorities, based on the percentage of pupils achieving the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, are: Poole (73 per cent), Medway (73 per cent), Doncaster (74 per cent), Bedford (74 per cent), Luton (74 per cent), Peterborough (75 per cent), Bradford (76 per cent), Walsall (76 per cent), Norfolk (76 per cent) and Worcestershire (76 per cent).

Sponsored academies saw an improvement in their results despite criticism by teachers that they aren't always the best solution to deal with an underachieving school.

Sponsored academies open for one academic year have seen results improve by five percentage points compared to 2014 - from 66 per cent to 71 per cent. For sponsored academies open two years, results have risen by 10 percentage points under the guidance of an expert sponsor.

Overall, 90, 000 more pupils are leaving primary school with a good grounding in these three key subjects, compared to 2010, the DfE said, adding that the difference in performance between poor pupils and their richer classmates is continuing to close.

Nick Gibb, the schools minister, said: “As part of this Government’s commitment to extending opportunity for all, it is essential that every child leaves primary school having mastered the basics in reading, writing and maths – thanks to our education reforms thousands more pupils each year are reaching those standards.


Interesting facts:

Primary education is the first stage of compulsory education. It is preceded by pre-school or nursery education and is followed by secondary education. In North America, this stage of education is usually known as elementary education and is generally followed by...

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