Primary school grades are ‘below average’

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The proportion of 11-year-old children who mastered the three Rs by the end of their primary school education has risen in Leeds, according to the latest league tables.

The figures show that 78 per cent of pupils in the city reached level four - the standard expected of the age group - in maths and reading tests and writing assessments.

This was up two per cent on last year’s performance but was also two per cent below this year’s national average.

The tables published last week by the Department for Education (DfE) are based on the key stage two standard assessment tests (Sats) which 11-year-olds take at the end of primary school.

Five schools in the Leeds education authority area saw all of their year six pupils reach the expected standards in reading, writing and maths, including St Francis Catholic Primary in Morley.

A further three schools of the 16 in the Morley area - Morley Newlands, Seven Hills, and Morley Victoria - had more than 90 per cent of pupils achieving the expected grades.

But the tables showed 17 out of 200 primaries in the Leeds City Council area were below the government’s floor targets.

Schools are rated as being “below the floor” if less than 65 per cent of pupils achieve the expected standard in reading, writing and maths and the schools’ year six pupils also fail to keep pace with the average level of progress being made nationally in these subjects from seven to 11.

The performance of Leeds primary schools has been the subject of controversy recently.

Ofsted’s annual national report showed that Leeds had the highest proportion of primaries across Yorkshire which are rated as being good or better by the education watchdog.

However Ofsted’s regional director for Yorkshire Nick Hudson wrote to Leeds City Council earlier this year warning that the below average performance of primary schools in the authority was “frankly inexcusable”.

At the time Coun Lucinda Yeadon, the city council’s executive member for children and families said it was disappointing the letter had not acknowledged that Ofsted themselves rated nine out of ten schools in the city as good or better.

*Four in five pupils left primary school with a level four grade or above in maths, reading and writing this year up from 78 per cent last year.

*As the Department for Education released the latest primary school league tables last week ministers said 90,000 more 11-year-olds than in 2010 had a “good grounding” in reading, writing and maths.

*No area of Yorkshire was ranked among the top 40 in a table of 150 education authority areas of England.

*The East Riding remains the region’s best performing area with 82 per cent of pupils making the grade. Hull and Calderdale were ranked joint second in Yorkshire and Humber with 81 per cent of pupils getting level four or above in the three core subjects.

*Four Yorkshire and Humberside local authority regions - Doncaster, Bradford, Wakefield and North East Lincolnshire- were among the 20 worst performing areas in the country.