In May the 11-year-olds at all 16,000 primary schools were tested. The tests are known as Key Stage 2. They measure, among other things, where the children can read and write. The children are expected to get to Level 4 in this test. If a primary school has fewer than 60% of its children reaching this level then it is judged to be failing. It is below the "floor" set by Michael Gove. If this failure persists then it can expect to be put under new management and forced to become an academy.
At the moment there are 1,310 schools below the floor. There are none in my borough or in Havering. But everywhere else has got some. Derby has 13. Birmingham 43 (which is still high as a percentage at 16%). Wakefield has 23.
The worst performance in London is Haringey with eight schools (15%) below the floor. Plans to force a change to academy status at Downhills Primary School are under way. But they are being opposed not just by the National Union of Teachers but by the local Labour MP David Lammy. How many more years is it supposed to be allowed to continue failing for?
You can see the full tables here.
Also published for the first time is a league table on how well pupils have progressed at their schools between since Key Stage 1, the test they take when they are seven-year-olds. In my borough 90% made the expected level of progress. Not bad. But the best result in the country that I could spot was 92% achieved by the primary schools in our neighbouring borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The worst score I could see was Northumberland, which is Lib Dem-run. In their schools only 74% made the expected level of progress.
Of course for parents the interest will be in the performance of the individual schools.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:
"The seven years of primary school are key to establishing the buildings blocks of a child’s education, particularly in reading, writing and arithmetic. Today’s figures reveal on a school-by-school basis the high academic standards achieved by thousands of primary schools in this country. But 1,310 schools are today shown to be below the floor – and about 150 have been languishing with poor standards for five years in a row. It is these schools that we will pay particular attention to in the year ahead, whether through conversion to a sponsored academy or other measures.
Today’s figures also reveal how well different schools educate children of lower ability. We need to help schools learn from those head teachers and teachers who deliver a high standard to all those children, including those who struggled at Key Stage 1, or who are from a poorer background.
We are also shining a light on those schools where pupils who showed early promise did not maintain their bright starts and tailed off to become below average average performers.
Our priority is to drive up standards in primary schools right across the board.
It’s why we are placing such emphasis on improving pupils’ reading ability in the crucial first few years of a child’s school career. It is the systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, a tried and tested method, which will improve children’s reading. A child’s education stems from their ability to read well.
It’s why we are committed to improving standards in maths. We will prioritise the allocation of places on initial teacher training to courses with a maths specialism over generalist primary courses. We are also focusing on improving the basics of arithmetic in our primary schools."