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Education in the Media: Friday 14 December 2018

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Attainment gap, Grammar schools, school admissions, Selective schools, Statistics

Today our blog looks further at the Key Stage 2 statistics released yesterday, as well as a story about a grammar school actively working to improve access for disadvantaged pupils.

Key Stage 2

Yesterday, Thursday 13 December, the department published the latest Key Stage 2 performance tables as well as further data on attainment and multi-academy trust tables. This received coverage from the Guardian, the Times, the I News, the Telegraph, the Express and the Daily Mail.

The key statistics include that the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has narrowed in each progress measure in multi-academy trusts. In addition to this, 88% of pupils who met the phonics standard in year 1 reached the expected standard of reading at the end of key stage 2.

The Telegraph’s piece included quotes from Mark Lehain, the director of Parents and Teachers for Excellence, who spoke highly of the national curriculum and the government’s focus on phonics.

From an administration standpoint, there is also positive news in the drop in plagiarism. This was noted in the Guardian’s article.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:

Standards are rising in our schools, with 86% of schools now rated good or outstanding as of August 2018, compared to 68% in 2010 and these statistics show that the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has closed by 13% since 2011.

Every child, regardless of their background, deserves a high quality education and opportunity to fulfil their potential. Headteachers are using the freedoms afforded by academy and free school status to make this a reality, as illustrated by the progress disadvantaged pupils in multi-academy trusts are making in writing and maths.

King Edward VI Academy Trust

Today, Friday 14 December, the Daily Mail ran a piece which reported that the King Edward VI Academy Trust in Birmingham is planning to change their admission rules in order to improve access for disadvantaged pupils. The Times and the Telegraph also ran briefer pieces on this.

The King Edward VI Academy Trust runs six schools, and is looking at the most effective ways to improve access and opportunities for disadvantaged children who want to study at their schools

It is reported in the piece that one of the proposed changes would be including new catchment areas in more disadvantaged areas, as well as a quota of 25% of places being reserved for pupils from low-income families. We welcome this news and applaud King Edward IV Academy for proactively changing their admission rules. Increasing access for disadvantaged pupils was a key aim of the Memorandum of Understanding agreed earlier this year between the Grammar schools heads association and the department. We hope many more selective schools follow in their footsteps.

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