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Primary school results are improving in Suffolk but still behind England

PUBLISHED: 07:56 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:09 02 October 2017

Rising numbers of seven-year-olds are reaching the expected standards in Suffolk's primary schools. Picture: DAVE THOMPSON/PA WIRE

Rising numbers of seven-year-olds are reaching the expected standards in Suffolk's primary schools. Picture: DAVE THOMPSON/PA WIRE

Rising numbers of seven-year-olds are reaching the expected standards at Suffolk’s primary schools, but results are still below the national average, new figures show.

In the latest boost for Suffolk’s beleaguered education sector, key stage one results improved across the board in English, maths, and science this year.

Just under three-quarters (74%) of Year 2 pupils attained the toughened-up benchmarks in reading and maths. It was 66% for writing and 82% for science.

The annual increases ranged from one to three percentage points, according to the Department for Education provisional data for key stage one national curriculum assessments.

However, Suffolk remains behind the national average in all four subjects, by either one or two percentage points. Suffolk closed the gap in maths but fell further behind in writing, both by a single percentage point.

Key Stage One attainment is on the rise across Suffolk primary schools, but still below the national average. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY/PA WIREKey Stage One attainment is on the rise across Suffolk primary schools, but still below the national average. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY/PA WIRE

It comes after the government announced the controversial tests will no longer be compulsory from 2023. Instead, children will undergo a “baseline” check aged four or five. Last year’s tests were the first based on the new rigorous curriculum.

British children are among the most tested in the world in a bid to improve standards. Critics argue the exams are too stressful and take up too much learning time.

Graham White, of the Suffolk NUT, said the results were “pleasing” but not “significant for pupils’ learning”. He said: “Pupils need to enjoy school and not be put under unnecessary stress to complete these pointless and useless tests. They are a distraction, waste resources, and need to be abolished.”

David Perkins, headteacher at Laureate Community Primary School in Newmarket, said: “It is the second year we have the more challenging tests. Reading has a far greater focus on reduction skills, as does maths for decoding and arithmetic.”

Nick Haynes, science co-ordinator at Wilby Primary School, said: “Children at that age really engage with practical hands-on science activities, while the expectations for literacy and numeracy are just so high.”

Gordon Jones, education cabinet member at Suffolk County Council, described the results as “fantastic”. He said: “The percentage of students achieving the greater depth standard in writing at local authority schools is in line with the national figure.”

Labour Group spokesman for young children, Helen Armitage, said: “These results are very disappointing for everyone concerned. It shows that despite the best efforts of the administration Suffolk still lags behind the national average in all four areas of reading writing, maths and science.

“I would like to see more done to ensure that our children are given the support they need to increase their skills in these basics so that less intervention is needed as they move through their school years.”

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