Two Yorkshire cities are among the five worst performing areas in the country for getting pupils to master the basics in English and maths, league tables have revealed.
While 180 primary schools across Yorkshire are failing to meet the Government’s minimum targets for 11-year-olds, Hull and Wakefield have been named as among the worst performers in this summer’s standard assessment tests (Sats).
Education bosses in both cities have vowed to drive up standards after their “disappointing” showing in this year’s tables.
Schools are classed as failing if fewer than 60 per cent of pupils achieve level four results – the standard expected of the age group – in both English and maths and its children do not keep pace with the national average level of progress.
The target was introduced last year but this is the first time all primary schools have been tested against it.
Last year’s Sats and tables were undermined by the number of schools which boycotted them in a joint industrial action by the National Association of Head Teachers and the National Union of Teachers.
This year 23 per cent – almost one-in-four – primaries in Wakefield failed to meet the Government’s targets.
Hull and Wakefield each had almost a third of pupils not mastering the basics in English and maths. The two cities had just 68 per cent of pupils making the grade.
They were followed by Rotherham, which moved off the bottom nationally from last year, and North Lincolnshire which both saw 69 per cent of pupils achieve level four.
Sue Johnson, Wakefield Council’s service director for schools said the overall results were: “very disappointing, especially in reading and maths.”
She added: “Since the beginning of this school term, the council has been working closely and vigorously with its primary schools on the areas identified by the provisional results, which have been confirmed.
Schools have liaised well with the local authority in implementing the agreed improvement programme and are confident that rapid and lasting improvements are being made, which will be evident in the 2012 results.”
Ken Sainty, Hull Council’s assistant head of learning said: “It is frustrating that although we have seen small improvements in the numbers getting level four in English and maths separately the figure for pupils who have reached this standard in both subjects has remained stubbornly around 68 per cent.”
He said the council had invested in the Every Child a Reader programme focused on pupils at earlier stages in primary school. He told the Yorkshire Post that this would benefit pupils in latter years and should boost future Sats results.
However he warned that funding which has been used to employ specialist reading teachers in around half of Hull’s primaries would run out next year although at least three staff would be retained by the council.
Nationally 1,310 primary schools across the country fell below the standard expected for English and maths.
A third of 11-year-olds are not achieving the results they should be in reading, writing and arithmetic, with one in 10 boys leaving primary school with the reading age of a seven-year-old.
One in 14 boys also go on to secondary school with the writing age of a seven-year-old, the Department for Education figures showed.
Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “We are taking action to end years of chronic under-performance.”
According to yesterday’s figures, 82 per cent of all pupils achieved level four or above for English in the tests, up two per cent from 2010.
For maths, the figure was 80 per cent, up one per cent from last year. The 1,310 schools that failed to meet the target, out of more than 16,000 schools that fielded candidates, could potentially risk being closed or taken over.
Mr Gibb said: “The seven years of primary school are key to establishing the building blocks of a child’s education, particularly in reading, writing and arithmetic.
“The figures reveal on a school-by-school basis the high academic standards achieved by thousands of primary schools in this country. But 1,310 schools are shown to be below the floor – and about 150 have been languishing with poor standards for five years in a row.
“It is these schools that we will pay particular attention to in the year ahead, whether through conversion to a sponsored academy or other measures.
“Our priority is to drive up standards in primary schools right across the board.”