Today’s Education in the media blog looks at the Key Stage 2 SATs results, the Public Accounts Committee report on academy conversion and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Children’s report on early years services.
On Tuesday, 10 July, we published the Key Stage 2 assessment results for schools in England. The SATs results showed that more children across the country met the expected standard at the end of primary school this summer in English and mathematics.
The results were covered widely in the media by The Mail, Mirror, The Telegraph, the Guardian, Independent, The Sun, The Times, the I, Evening Standard and the Metro.
The figures published also showed:
- 64 per cent of pupils met the expected standard in all of reading, writing and mathematics at Key Stage 2 nationally. This figure was 61 per cent in 2017.
- 75 per cent met the expected standard in reading, up 4 percentage points on last year;
- 78 per cent met the expected standard in writing. This figure was 76 per cent in 2017;
- 76 per cent met the expected standard in mathematics, up on 1 percentage point on last year; and
- 78 per cent met the expected standard in grammar, punctuation and spelling, up 1 percentage point on last year.
This year’s results are the third to be released following the introduction of a more rigorous national curriculum assessments in Summer 2016, bringing primary education in line with the best in the world.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:
A good primary education lays the foundations for success at secondary school and beyond. That’s why we introduced a more rigorous, knowledge-rich primary school curriculum – with an emphasis on reading and fluency in arithmetic – to ensure every child is helped to reach their potential from the moment they start school.
Today’s results and the rising standards we are seeing in our primary schools are the fruit of our reforms and a tribute to the hard work and dedication of teachers across the country. These reforms promise even more success in the years to come and will help to improve education for every child, no matter their background.
Today, Wednesday, 11 July, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published a report on academy conversion. This was reported by the Telegraph, Independent, the TES, Schools Week and in a nib in The Sun.
Since 2010, we have converted almost 7,000 schools – some schools which requested to be converted and many of which are in the most disadvantaged areas of the country. Almost 516,000 children now study in sponsored academies – typically previously underperforming schools – rated Good or Outstanding.
Of the schools taken out of local authority control and made into a sponsored academy, 65 per cent have seen their grade improve from inadequate to either Good or Outstanding.
A Department for Education spokesperson said:
Academies are raising standards, with almost 516,000 children studying in good or outstanding sponsored academies that were typically previously underperforming schools. Converting to become an academy is a positive choice made by hundreds of schools every year to give great leaders the freedom to focus on what is best for pupils – any suggestion that the majority are forced to convert is misleading.
As the report acknowledges, we have strengthened the process for converting schools and set out the standards of governance we expect from multi-academy trusts. The number that have failed to meet those standards represents a tiny fraction of the academies sector – a stark contrast to the previous local authority-led system. We always act quickly to tackle underperformance, taking action to support head teachers and build the capability of trusts to drive further improvements in our schools.
Today, Wednesday, 11 July, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Children published a report which claimed social workers think that there is a ‘postcode lottery’ when it comes to social care. The report was covered by The Times and the Guardian.
We are committed to raising social care practice nationally to stop the regional variation in quality the APPG claims families are experiencing. We have invested £920m to the Troubled Families programme up to 2020, bringing local services together to transform family support which has improved support for up to 400,000 families.
Minister for Children and Families Nadhim Zahawi said:
We want every child to grow up with the right care and support so they have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. That’s why our ambitious children’s social care reforms are improving services nationally so that children receive the same quality of support regardless of where they live.
This Government has made £200 billion available to councils for local services, including children’s services, up to 2020, and we are developing, testing and sharing innovative ways of supporting vulnerable children and families through our £270m children’s social care programmes. These include projects that help families at risk of breakdown, reducing the need for child protection measures, repeat referrals to children’s services or entry to care.
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