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Education in the media: Friday 15 December 2017

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Exams and qualifications, Primary Schools, School tests


In today’s blog we will discuss a study from Durham University about primary schools, our national key stage 2 results and our announcement for celebrations of 100 years of votes for women.

Durham University study

Today, Friday 15 December, Durham University released a study about the effect that good teachers at reception level have on pupils’ success at GCSE. In a study of 40,000 children in England, they found evidence that a boost in development from an effective first year of school remains with children until they take their GCSEs. This was covered by The i, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Telegraph and Metro.

The Education Secretary yesterday unveiled her plans to boost social mobility, focusing on the early years. In addition to this, our £280 million Strategic School Improvement Fund aims to increase the the number of children achieving a good level of development literacy and numeracy at the end of Reception year.

A Department for Education spokesperson said:

Standards are rising in our primary schools, with yesterday’s KS2 figures showing the proportion of pupils reaching the expected standard improving by 8% since last year, and the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers narrowing by more than 10% since 2011. Our recent improvement in the PIRLS 2016 study of primary pupils’ reading has also put the success of our reforms on a global scale.

We want to make sure all children get the best start in life so they are ready to start primary school. That’s why yesterday the Education Secretary announced £50m to create more school nursery provision for disadvantaged children, and £20 million for school-led professional development for early years staff to support language development, as part of an ambitious plan to boost social mobility.

Key Stage 2 performance tables

Yesterday, 14 November, the department published figures on KS2 reading, writing and maths showing that the number of primary school pupils achieving the expected standard in these subjects has risen. The figures show that in July, 61 per cent of 11-year-olds who took the national curriculum tests achieved the expected official standard, compared to 53 per cent in 2015.

The figures were covered in The Daily Telegraph the Daily Mail, The Sun and The Evening Standard and The Guardian. The Guardian article reports that the gap between Free School Meal (FSM) pupils and non FSM pupils has increased. However, this is slightly misleading, as the gap between disadvantaged children (children on FSM and other measures such as children in care) and their peers has actually narrowed. The gap between disadvantaged pupils and others in a combined measure of English, reading and mathematics has decreased in each of the last six years, narrowing by 1.3% in the latest year and 10.5% since 2011.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Today’s results show standards are continuing to rise in primary schools. 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. Overall, the proportion reaching the expected standard has improved by 8 percentage points and the attainment gap between the most disadvantaged and their peers has also fallen by more than 10% since 2011.

There are now 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, with nine out of ten primary schools given this rating at their last inspection – and our recent rise up the 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.

Centenary cities

Today, Friday 15 December, Minister for Women Anne Milton announced that seven areas are to receive a share of £1.2m to support projects in 2018 that celebrate 100 years of votes for women.

Minister for Women and Equalities Anne Milton said:

Less than 100 years ago, women could not vote and could not stand as candidates for Parliament. By remembering and celebrating those individuals who fought to get the right to vote we are continuing to push for all our political institutions to reflect women’s representation in society.

I want to congratulate all seven of our ‘Centenary Cities’ that have been recognised for their proud connection to the suffrage movement and look forward to hearing more about the projects they are planning next year.

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