Sats results: Scores up as ministers launch ‘crackdown’ on low-performing areas

National primary test results reveal that school attainment among eleven-year-olds has risen this year, with the proportion achieving the expected level in reading, writing and maths rising to four fifths.

This year’s Sats results, published today, show 80 per cent of Year 6 pupils scored a level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths, up from 78 per cent last year.

Ministers have hailed the results as evidence of the success of the government’s decision to “raise the bar” in primary school testing by introducing higher floor standards, banning calculators for maths tests and introducing a spelling, punctuation and grammar test.

But they have warned of major variations in pupils’ scores in different areas of England, and launched a “crackdown” on low-performing areas. Medway, Poole, Luton and Doncaster were among the lowest-performing areas, each with 73 per cent of pupils achieving the expected levels.

Schools minister Nick Gibb is to “demand answers” from the directors of children’s services at the worst-performing local authorities.

He said he would ask the council officials to “explain how they intend to improve the teaching of reading and arithmetic in the primary schools under their control.” The meetings should take place “as a matter of urgency”, he said.

Today’s results also show that there was no change in the number of pupils making “expected progress” in reading and maths, and a 1 percentage point increase, to 94 per cent, in the number making expected progress in writing.

Girls continued to outperform boys at all levels, and the gender gap at level 4 and above remained at 6 percentage points. However, boys have begun to close the gender gap for higher attainment, with the gap at level 5 and above narrowing from seven to five percentage points.

This is the final year in which levels will be used to assess performance at the end of primary school. From next year, a new system will be introduced in which pupils are given a “scaled score”, with 100 representing the expected standard.

More to follow.

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