YORKSHIRE has one of the country’s highest levels of primary schools failing to reach Government targets in maths and English according to new league tables which show a major improvement in results across the country.
Hear education correspondent John Roberts debate the issues
LEAGUE TABLES IN FULL
Click the links to download PDF tables for each local authority, from the Department for Education
There are more than 80 primary schools in the region which could be at risk of closure or intervention because results from tests sat by 11-year-olds and teacher assessments this summer fell below the national floor target set by Ministers.
Six per cent of Yorkshire’s primary schools missed the benchmark – the highest level of any region in the country along with the East of England.
However, the number of schools in the region below the floor target, 89, has more than halved since last year when it was 192.
Under the Government’s target, schools are considered failing if fewer than 60 per cent of 11-year-olds reach the expected standard – level four – in English and maths standard assessment (Sats) tests, and its pupils do not keep pace with the national average level of progress being made in the subjects.
Of the 89 schools in Yorkshire which fell short this summer three have already closed and another two have been converted into academies since the Sats were taken.
Tables published yesterday also showed that there were four areas of Yorkshire among the worst 12 authorities in the country for the proportion of schools below the floor target.
In Kirklees more than one-in-ten primaries (11 per cent) were below it while in Calderdale, North Lincolnshire and Wakefield it was nine per cent.
Despite the number of schools below the floor in Calderdale, however, the overall pupil performance in the district was actually the best in Yorkshire and the only one in the region to be ranked in the top 50 at 29th.
Hull is ranked second bottom in a national table of 150 education authority areas with more than a quarter of the city’s 11-year-olds failing to make the grade in maths and English.
Bradford, Rotherham, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire are also among the worst 10 per cent of authority areas in the country with a quarter of pupils not reaching the expected standards in both maths and English.
Nationally the number of primary schools failing to give pupils a good grounding in the three Rs has more than halved in the space of a year. In total, 521 schools in England are below the Government’s floor target for primaries, according to an analysis of data used to create new primary school league tables. Last year, 1,310 schools were below the threshold.
The results show schools have “responded to the challenge” that was given to them, the Department for Education (DfE) said.
But it warned that those that did fall short could be taken over.
A spokesman added: “Today’s figures demonstrate that schools have responded to the challenge. The floor standards we introduced were tougher and have improved performance. Heads, teachers and pupils deserve credit for meeting the challenge head on.
“Schools with a long history of under-performance, and who are not stepping up to the mark, face being taken over by an academy sponsor.”
Academy sponsors are the “best way” to turn around weak schools, he insisted.
The rise in performance this year could be partly down to the Government’s decision to scrap the externally-marked writing part of the English Sats test.
Traditionally, marks for the test were lower than for the reading and maths papers.
This year, for the first time, schools were given the option to mark the writing paper themselves, or to send it to an external marker.
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