Anger at Government as almost half of primary pupils do not make the grade in tougher new Sats tests

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers
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NEARLY HALF of primary school pupils in England failed to meet the new required standard in reading, writing and maths, national Sats results have revealed.

The number of 11-year-olds who failed to make the grade across all three subjects has risen from 20 per cent last year to 47 per cent this year.

The Department for Education said the results could not be compared with previous years as this year group were the first to sit a new more rigorous set of tests.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan described today’s results as a good start.

However Labour’s former shadow education secretary Lucy Powell and several union leaders described the situation as “a shambles”.

Pass rates released by the Department for Education, which are the first since the introduction of a new testing system in 2014, showed 53 per cent of 11-year-olds passed in the three Rs.

Last year 80 per cent of pupils met the required standard. There are 47 per cent of pupils who failed to pass across all three subjects of reading, writing and maths.

Mrs Morgan said: “Nothing is more important than ensuring that young people master the basics of reading, writing and mathematics early on. The simple truth is that if they don’t, they’ll be left playing catch up for the rest of their lives.

“That’s why as part of this Government’s commitment to delivering real social justice, we have raised the bar on what counts as a good enough standard in the three Rs for our children by the end of primary school.”

She said: “This is the first year we have assessed pupils under the new more rigorous system and it is no surprise that this year’s results look different to previous years, but despite that the majority of pupils have achieved above and beyond the new expected standard.”

The results for schools showed that 66 per cent of pupils met the new expected standard in reading, 70 per cent in mathematics, 72 per cent in grammar, punctuation and spelling and 74 per cent in writing.

Ms Morgan said: “We know we are asking more, but we’re doing that because we are committed to giving young people the best start in life - and today’s results show there is no limit to pupils’ potential.”

She thanked teachers and parents for supporting the pupils and said she believed it was a “good start” that vindicated the decision “to raise standards”.

But Labour MP and former shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said that standards had fallen and children had been used as “guinea pigs”.

“This is a total shambles. Nicky Morgan should spend less time sucking up to Tory leadership candidates and more time trying to sort out the mess they have created,” she said.

“There’s no dressing these results up, there has been a big drop in results and standards have fallen due to the chaos and confusion in assessment created by Tory ministers past and present.”

The results were also labelled “a shambles” by a teachers’ union, which said the exams had “left many children distressed and in tears”.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “We are appalled by the shambles of today’s Key Stage 2 Sats results, which just compounds the total chaos the Government has made of this year’s Sats.

“We are worried that many children will have lost their confidence as readers because of this test. And even the Government must be worried about the impact of the low scores because it’s felt the need to explain the results to schools so they know that all schools will have similarly low results.”

She said the Government needed to take “full responsibility for the mess” after teachers were left “exhausted, disillusioned and in despair by their experiences this year”.

Later in the year results for pupil progress will be published, which together with the Sats results will be used to determine which schools require extra support and possibly intervention.

The new Key Stage 2 system sees test results converted into “scaled scores”, with a score of 100 being the expected standard.

Any score below this means the pupil is working “towards the expected standard”, and any score above means the pupil is working “above the expected standard”.