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More pupils leaving primary with maths and literacy skills

Key stage two results show 90,000 more 11 year-olds secure skills needed for secondary school compared to 2010

Posted by Stephanie Broad | September 02, 2015 | Teaching

Ninety thousand more primary school children are achieving the expected standards in reading, writing and maths than in 2010, new results reveal. 

Schools Minister, Nick Gibb, said the improving test scores showed the government is delivering on its one nation vision for education, with more young people, from all backgrounds starting secondary school ready to succeed. 

The results come after the government raised the bar by introducing higher floor standards, banning calculators for maths tests and introducing a spelling, punctuation and grammar test. 

The results also show that sponsored primary academies - which are replacing some of the country’s most seriously underperforming schools - are improving more quickly than those run by local authorities. 

The statistics for the key stage 2 assessments taken in May by almost 580,000 pupils show:

  • Four out of five pupils (80%) achieved the expected level four in reading, writing and maths - up from just six in 10 (62%) in 2009
  • The highest ever percentage of pupils reached the expected level in maths, at 87% - up one percentage point on last year. Since 2010, it has increased by eight percentage points - equivalent to 46,000 more pupils reaching the expected levels
  • The proportion of children reaching the reading standard by the end of primary school remains at an all-time high and has improved from 83% to 89% since 2010 - 33,300 more children in total
  • Four out of five pupils (80%) achieved the expected level in grammar, punctuation and spelling tests which is up four percentage points on last year

Over 14,000 more girls than boys achieved level five or above in reading, writing and mathematics - but the gender gap at the higher level five has narrowed to five percentage points compared with eigt percentage points last year.


Sponsored academies rise 

The figures show that sponsored academies have improved performance, meaning thousands of children in previously under-performing primaries are receiving a better education. The percentage of pupils achieving the expected level in reading, writing and maths has now reached 71% - a four percentage point rise on last year. 

Those academies open for just one academic year have seen their results improve by five percentage points - from 66% to 71% while academies open for two or more years have seen their results improve by 10 percentage points since opening.

A growing number of converter academies are becoming sponsors, to help turn around more underperforming schools. Performance in converter academies, which start from a high bar, has also continued to improve - with results up from 82% last year to 84% in 2015. 

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: “A good grounding in reading, writing and maths sets a young child up for life - so I am delighted that 90,000 more children are starting secondary school with a firm grasp of the basics compared to just 5 years ago. 

“These results vindicate our decision to expand the valuable academies programme into primary schools with thousands of children on course to receive a better education. 

“Our reform programme is driven by social justice and we will continue to raise the bar so young people are prepared to succeed in modern Britain.

This is the last time that levels will be used to assess performance at the end of primary school.

“To reflect the new more rigorous national curriculum that came into effect in September 2014, from summer 2016 pupils will be assessed against a higher standard and given a scaled score where 100 will represent the expected standard.

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