YP Comment: Under-achievement’s root causes

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TO put this year’s primary school league tables in context, most pupils are meeting – or exceeding – the Government’s targets and they should be applauded for doing so.

That said, just over five per cent of the region’s schools – 81 in total – are not making the grade and there appears to be a preponderance of under-performing primaries in Calderdale and Doncaster.

It remains to be seen whether these specific performances were a blip – the application of performance criteria invariably throws up statistical oddities each year – or whether there are more deep-rooted problems, such as a difficult cohort of pupils with challenging learning needs or a shortage of top class teachers.

Though the teaching profession does not enjoy this scrutiny, and associated pressures, it is serving a useful purpose and exposing a fundamental weakness in the education system which has been 
long highlighted by The Yorkshire Post and long neglected by policy-makers.

It is this. If pupils don’t grasp the rudiments of literacy and numeracy at an early age, they will, invariably, struggle at secondary school – and then find it more difficult to obtain work at a time when skills have never been more important because of both Brexit and Britain’s digital revolution. The sooner this lesson is learned, the better.