School changes blamed for drop in performance

THE massive reorganisation of schooling in Suffolk has been blamed as the reason why pupils “Sats” results between the ages of 7 and 11 drop below the national average.

The Government yesterday released figures showing the percentage of seven-year-olds reaching the expected level 2 for Key Stage One in reading, writing, maths and science.

The figures revealed that pupils in the county are above the national average in all four subject areas at the age of 7.

However “Sats” results released earlier this month for Key Stage Two showed that in all four areas 11-year-old pupils failed to achieve the national average of a level four pass.

Graham White, of the Suffolk branch of the National Union of Teachers, said he believed the decline in performance in Suffolk between the ages of 7 and 11 was as a result of the plans to close middle schools across the county.

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He said: “I think it is simply because the pupils are faced with staff turnover, staff are obviously working as hard as they can but their future is uncertain and it does end up, despite their best efforts, impacting on pupils. Some staff are jumping ship and accepting new contracts rather than waiting to be made redundant.”

Referring to the above average Key Stage 1 results, Mr White said: “I am pleased for the pupils that they are working hard and the results seem to indicate that they have worked hard and I congratulate pupils and their parents for helping to ensure that pupils do achieve well.

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“The other thing that I have to say is that I do not put great store by Sats results anyway as they are not necessarily a measure of pupil achievement.” The figures released yesterday show that 86% of pupils in Suffolk achieved the required level 2 in reading, 83% in writing, 90% in maths and 91% in science.

There were increases in the percentage of pupils achieving level 2 in reading, writing and science from the previous year while the percentage achieving level 2 in maths stayed the same.

In Essex, the percentage of pupils reaching level 2 were above the national average in reading, maths and science.

In total 86% of pupils achieved a Level 2 in reading, 81% in writing, 90% in maths and 91% in science.

Graham Newman, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for children, schools and young people it was “extremly encouraging” that results at Key Stage 1 were above the national average.

He said: “We will work to build on this success in future years. There has been a long standing gap in performance between the two and three tier systems. “Currently, results from two tier areas are 8% higher compared to three tier areas. This gap in performance is the main reason the School Organisation Review was embarked upon.

“The review will remove barriers to help young people reach their full potential. Removing the additional school change half way through Key Stage 2 will ensure consistent learning, reduce disruption and ultimately improve outcomes for young people. We must complete the review as soon as possible.”

Stephen Castle, cabinet member for education at Essex County Council said: “I am pleased to see that the Key Stage One results show that we are slightly above the national average. This is great news, and I would like to congratulate the young pupils that achieved these successful results.”



Suffolk 86% 83% 90% 91%

Essex 86% 81% 90% 91%

England 85% 81% 89% 89%

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