Exclusive: more primary schools to be judged as ‘failing’

The number of primary schools below floor standards could rise by a fifth this year, TES can reveal, contradicting the impression given by education secretary Nicky Morgan

The DfE will cap the number of schools missing the targets – partly based on this week’s Sats results – but has disclosed that nearly 150 could fall below the standard.

The news will come as a shock to headteachers. Two weeks ago, Ms Morgan suggested any rise in the number of primaries judged to have failed would be in single figures.

“No more than 1 per cent more schools will be below the floor standards than last year,” she told the NAHT headteachers’ union annual conference.

Last year, there were 676 primary schools below the floor standard, so a rise of 1 per cent would mean six or seven more schools. Russell Hobby, NAHT general secretary, interpreted the speech as meaning that “within a one per cent margin of error – no more schools below the floor this year than…last year”.

But the DfE has now told TES that the rise in the number of schools below the standard will be capped at “one percentage point”, not 1 per cent.

Last year, 5 per cent of primaries were below the standard. A rise to 6 per cent would mean an extra 149 schools judged as failures.

A DfE spokesperson said: “It is misleading to speculate on numbers at this stage, but we can say the proportion will not rise by more than one percentage point.”

This is an article from the 13 May edition of TES. This week’s TES magazine is available in all good newsagents. To subscribe, click here. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click here

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