Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Sats test boundaries shift for primary schools
SOME Worcestershire schools meeting current government targets would be considered to be failing under new plans to raise the benchmark.
From next year, primaries in England must ensure that at least 65 per cent of their 11-year-old pupils score Level 4 in English and maths Key Stage 2 tests - the standard expected of their age group.
Under the current system, schools should have 60 per cent of pupils meeting this benchmark.
Of the 117 Worcestershire schools for which the figures are available, three fell short of the existing standard in 2012, but that doubles to six when the new system is taken into account.
It means some schools currently performing above the expected 60 per cent target are deemed inadequate when measured against the new benchmark.
Neither school was available for comment today.
Last year, the number of their students achieving Level 4 in English and maths stood at 64 per cent and 62 per cent respectively.
Neither school was available for comment at the time your Worcester News went to press.
Those that fail to meet the target, particularly those with a long history of under-performance, face being taken over and turned into a sponsored academy.
Commenting on the Department for Education’s plans, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “Teachers want the best for their pupils - they want them to achieve their potential and go on to have happy, successful lives.
“At every corner though, schools are met with distrust by government and ministers wielding no carrots, just big sticks. These tougher targets appear to be a cynical attempt to force even more schools into becoming academies despite the mixed evidence of academies' success.
“The government would have more success in raising standards if it gave schools greater support and protected funding rather than constantly changing targets which just puts schools under needless pressure.
“The risk to young pupils is obvious - rather than being encouraged to learn and build upon their successes they are branded as failures.
“We are particularly disappointed that yet again, the government's promised consultation on this hasn't emerged and instead it has announced its plans without any consensus from the public and education professionals.”
Official figures show that in 2011, 1,310 primaries in England were below the 60 per cent standard, which fell to 476 schools last year.
The DfE said the fall showed that headteachers, teachers and pupils respond to higher floor standards by raising their achievement.