Sats results: primaries rise to tougher floor target challenge

Helen Ward

Hundreds of primaries still face the threat of being turned into academies, despite rising results in key stage 2 Sats.

Figures out today show that this year 768 primary schools in England fell below the government floor target – almost the same as last year, when 767 schools fell short, despite the bar being raised in the interim.

If primaries had been judged against last year’s target, only 469 schools would have failed to reach it.

Under the new target, 65 per cent of pupils must reach the expected level in reading, writing and maths, up from 60 per cent last year. Schools are also judged on whether pupils are making sufficient progress, in order to ensure those that have a large proportion of children with low starting points are not penalised. Around 15,000 schools are included in the tables.

The Department for Education figures also show that 67 per cent of disadvantaged pupils reached the expected level 4 in reading, writing and maths compared with 83 per cent of other pupils. The 16 percentage point gap is one narrower than last year.

Schools minister David Laws said: “I am pleased to see that primaries have responded to the challenge of a higher floor standard – we have raised the bar and schools have raised their game.

“It is also encouraging to see the attainment gap between disadvantaged children and their peers continue to narrow, and parents, teachers and pupils deserve to be congratulated for their efforts.”

In 22 local authorities, no schools were below the floor target. These included Tower Hamlets, Blackpool and Southend-on-Sea. Conversely, in 13 local authorities more than one in eight schools did not reach the target.

Overall, 79 per cent of pupils achieved a level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths compared with 75 per cent in 2013.

The targets for primary schools are due to be raised again in 2016. The system of levels, where level 4 is the expected standard, will be used for the last time in the 2015 tests.

From 2016, pupils will still take tests in reading, maths and grammar, punctuation and spelling but the results will be reported to pupils and parents as a scaled score – where 100 will represent the standard expected. Writing will continue to be assessed by teachers against new performance indicators.

The floor standard will rise to require 85 per cent of pupils to achieve the expected score in reading, writing and maths or make sufficient progress during primary school. 

Related stories:

Hundreds of primary schools fall below government floor targets  12 Dec 2013

Are ‘performance descriptors’ levels by another name? 30 November 2014

Surge in pupils achieving ‘three Rs’, Sats show 28 August 2014

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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