Primary school league tables show wide variations

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Almost 200,000 children at primary schools are considered to be under-performing, in the wake of controversial changes to SATs tests, official figures show.

In total, 665 mainstream primaries in England fell below the Government’s floor standard this year, according to the Department for Education (DfE).

The statistics also show wide regional variations, with children in London the most likely to get a decent education, while those in the South West and the East Midlands are the least likely to get access to a good primary school.

The latest data come after a tumultuous year for primary assessment, including major changes to toughen up the tests and concerns raised by teachers and school leaders about pressure on pupils and unreliability of results.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said this year’s SATs tests - or national curriculum tests - are the first to test pupils on a new primary curriculum introduced in 2014, which was brought in to “raise expectations” and ensure youngsters get a good grounding in the basics.

But one union leader slammed the results, saying the data “is not worth the paper it is written on.”

Schools are considered under-performing if fewer than 65 per cent of pupils fail to reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, or if they fail to make sufficient progress in these three key areas.

Overall, five per cent of primaries fell below the government threshold this year. Education Secretary Justine Greening had previously pledged than no more than six per cent would be below the benchmark. She also promised that no school would face outside intervention based on this year’s data alone.

According to Press Association analysis of the data, around 180,743 children are being taught at the 665 primaries that failed to meet the Government’s new threshold. This is around 4.1 per cent of the total number of youngsters at mainstream primary schools in England. Across England, 53 per cent of the almost 600,000 11-year-olds who took the tests reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths this year. Overall in Wigan 57 per cent of pupils made the expected progress.

And poor children are falling behind their richer classmates – 35 per cent of children eligible for free school meals reached the expected standard in all three areas this year.

See the full tables in today’s Wigan Evening Post.