Primary school league tables 2017: Yorkshire is worst performing region

Yorkshire is the worst performing region in the country for pupils failing to meet the expected standard by the end of primary school, according to new league tables.

Thursday, 14th December 2017, 2:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th December 2017, 2:55 pm
Picture: PA

In some parts of the county, including Doncaster and Leeds, only just over half of the pupils have hit the target.

The Department for Education (DfE) has measured how much progress primary school children have made, as well as how many have met the Government's national standard for the three Rs.

Overall, the number of primary school pupils meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths has risen from 53 per cent last year to 61 per cent this year.

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The rise is partly explained by the fact that schools are now in their second year of teaching the new SATs, which incorporate a tougher primary curriculum introduced in 2014, brought in to “raise expectations”.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said the results showed teachers and pupils have "responded well to the new more rigorous curriculum".

But despite the overall figure in Yorkshire also rising from last year, the region is the worst performing for both the percentage of students achieving the expected standard - 58 per cent - and the higher standard - seven per cent.

London performed the best of any region in England this year, with 67 per cent of students achieving the expected standard and 11 per cent the higher standard.

In Yorkshire 11 out of 15 education authority areas saw fewer pupils achieve the expected standard than the national average.

Hull - a city which has traditionally languished at the bottom end of school performance tables - is the region’s best performing area with 63 per cent of pupils making the grade, a 10 per cent rise on last year, with East Riding, Rotherham and York following closely behind with 61 per cent.

Coun Phil Webster, portfolio holder for learning, skills and safeguarding children at Hull City Council, said: “I am delighted to see the Key Stage 2 results improve and be the best ever for the city as well as topping the regional league table. We are now above the national average.

"Attainment in Hull primary schools continues to rise at a rate faster than national, which is down to the hard work and dedication of teachers and school staff, as well as children and their families. This is a really positive picture of improvement for the city and I am confident we can continue with this direction of travel and improve further."

Doncaster and Leeds were the lowest performing areas with 54 per cent and 56 per cent pupils meeting the expected standard respectively. However, they have both risen from 46 per cent and 48 per cent last year.

A total of 511 - four per cent - of mainstream primary schools in England failed to meet the Government's floor standard this year, against 665 - five per cent - last year.

Schools are considered to be under-performing if fewer than 65 per cent of pupils reach the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, or if they fail to make sufficient progress in the three key areas.

In Yorkshire 62 primary schools - four per cent - did not meet the Government's floor standard for performance, including nine in North Yorkshire and eight in Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield.

Children eligible for free school meals are also less likely to succeed, with 43 per cent achieving expected standards compared with 64 per cent of all other pupils.

The figures show 47 local authorities - representing almost a third of those in England - had no under-performing primary schools, with London home to 24 alone.

Mr Gibb said: "Teachers and pupils have responded well to the new more rigorous curriculum introduced by this Government and these pupils were the first to benefit from the new approach to phonics."

He added: "There are now 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, with nine out of 10 primary schools given this rating at their last inspection - and our recent rise up the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls) rankings puts the success of our reforms and the hard work of teachers on a global scale.

"This means that pupils are now leaving primary school better prepared for the rigours of secondary school and for future success in their education."

The National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) has congratulated school leaders but has warned that raising the Key Stage 2 standard is not going to help close the attainment gap.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of NAHT, said: “This data is a useful indication of school performance but it is not the whole story. One thing it does do though, is confirm what NAHT has been saying for a long time about social mobility.

“Raising the Key Stage 2 standard was not going to help close the gap. The issues that underpin inequality reach far beyond the school gates and exist throughout the communities that schools serve. A joined-up approach is what we’ve been calling for, and we’ve welcomed the Government’s recent report, ‘Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential’, which echoes many of the points made by NAHT in recent years.”