This year’s KS2 results show that teachers and pupils are rising to the challenge of the new, more rigorous national curriculum tests. Nationally, 61 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard in the three Rs, up from 53 per cent last year.
Our consultation on our proposal to establish a stable, trusted assessment system that supports all children to fulfil their potential, whatever their background, closed on the 22 June and we will respond in due course. We are committed to continue working with schools on the outcomes of this consultation. But today is a time to celebrate the hard work of schools and the enhanced education of our pupils.
The new national curriculum, published in July 2013 and made statutory in September 2014, raised expectations for all. Pupils learn to name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans by the end of key stage 1. In year 6 science, pupils are taught to use recognised symbols when representing a simple circuit in a diagram. And, most importantly of all, the primary curriculum ensures pupils are taught to read effectively, so that they develop a love of reading and are prepared for the rigours of secondary school.
Last year, we introduced more demanding KS2 national assessments to complement the higher expectations of the new national curriculum. This change was important as too few pupils who achieved the old standard went on to achieve 5 good GCSE grades including English and maths in 2012. The changes we have introduced have been difficult for teachers, but they have responded well to the new demands.
And as teachers have adapted to these new assessments, more pupils have achieved the expected standard. In individual subjects, this standard was achieved by 71 per cent in reading (up from 66 per cent), 75% in maths (up from 70 per cent), 76 per cent in writing (up from 74 per cent) and 77 per cent in grammar, punctuation and spelling (up from 73 per cent).
The new national curriculum and reformed qualifications – at primary and at secondary – are designed to ensure pupils receive the rounded, knowledge-rich education that they need to be successful. And as these reforms bed in, we are seeing signs of substantial progress.
Despite claims that a renewed focus on core academic subjects would worsen outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, the GCSE attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their more affluent peers has shrunk by 7 per cent since 2011.
Thanks to this government’s pursuit of evidence-based policies such as systematic synthetic phonics, 147,000 more 6 year olds were on track to become fluent readers last year compared to 2012.
And the international evidence is beginning to show the success of our policies. However you cut the numbers, England outperformed the rest of the UK in the OECD’s most recent PISA science assessments.
I welcome this year’s results. They represent another important milestone in ensuring every child, irrespective of background, receives the education they need to be successful.
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