Primary pupils' progress 'uneven'

22nd May 1998 at 01:00
The latest report on standards in primary schools suggests most pupils fail to make consistent progress in all subjects.

The Office for Standards in Education survey says that pupils' progress is often uneven in around three-fifths of schools, with considerable differences in standards achieved between subjects as pupils move up.

In particular, pupils' progress in information technology is poor in a third of primaries and standards in design and technology remain lower than other subjects. There are fears that the Government's insistence that primaries concentrate their efforts on literacy and numeracy will lead to lower standards in other areas.

However, the report notes that standards in science have improved and the performance of English pupils now compares favourably with that of pupils in other countries.

OFSTED judges that the Government will only achieve its literacy and numeracy targets if there is significant improvement in standards.

National test results in numeracy have improved. Among seven-year-olds, over four-fifths achieve or exceed the expected level; among 11-year-olds, the proportion achieving the expected level falls to three-fifths.

Test results in English are also improving. By the time they leave primary school, just over three-fifths of pupils reach the expected standard. The results, says the report, shows that too many 11-year-olds leave primary school with insufficient basic literacy.

The report notes that subject co-ordinators are not being allowed enough time to fulfil their role.

The non-core subjects are:

* Design and technology: A major concern is the lack of subject expertise among teachers. Average funding per pupil is pound;1.80 a year of which two-thirds is spent on materials and the rest on tools.

* Geography: Fewer pupils are making good progress than in other subjects. Resourcing is variable and unsatisfactory in one-fifth of schools.

* History: Standards have continued to improve. Planning for progression and continuity is good in only one in five schools.

* Information technology: Great variability in the quality of provision and quality of teaching.

* PE:Teaching is good in nearly half of schools. Many schools have difficulty providing a balanced PE curriculum.

* Art: Resources good in a third of schools and poor in one-fifth.

* Music: Progress across the programmes of study is often uneven. The quality of teaching in nursery and reception is usually good.

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