Suffolk: County is ranked joint fourth-worst in country in primary school league tables
- Credit: PA
Suffolk has been ranked as the joint fourth-worst authority in England for primary school education after it emerged nearly one in three pupils failed standard maths and English exams this year.
New figures show how nearly 7,000 students at more than 150 primary schools in the county performed in national curriculum tests – known as Sats – which are taken by 11-year-olds.
It found 70% secured at least a Level 4 grade in reading, writing and mathematics, the joint fourth-worst rate out of 152 local authorities in England in 2013.
Only Reading and Bradford (69%), Luton (68%) and Poole (63%) performed worse.
However, it was an increase of 2% from last year. With the national average stagnating at 75%, it means Suffolk has breached the gap: it was 7% behind in 2012, a figure cut to 5%.
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In Norfolk it rose from 69% to 71%, while in Cambridgeshire it fell from 74% to 72%. Across East Anglia it increased by 1% to 74%.
It comes the day after the latest annual Ofsted report found nearly one in every three children in Suffolk do not attend a primary school rated “good” or “outstanding” in the county – nearly 30,000 pupils.
Under the Government’s tougher standards, for the first time schools are judged on the number of children achieving at least a Level 4 – the standard expected of the age group – in reading and writing as separate subjects, as well as maths.
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They must ensure that at least 60% of pupils reach this level in all three subjects and meet national averages in pupil progress to be considered ‘above the floor’.
Suffolk County Council launched its flagship Raising the Bar scheme last year, designed to arrest the decline of plummeting exam pass rates and overhaul educational standards in the county.
But today’s figures showed nearly one in seven primary schools in the county is failing to reach this new government standard; 21 out of 155 (14%).
Schools that fail to meet the target are considered under-performing and face being taken over and turned into academies.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said: “These figures demonstrate what we all know only too well, which is that we do not have enough good schools. We need more exceptional headteachers and we need more brilliant teachers.
“I want to stress there are many fantastic teachers in Suffolk and they need celebrating, but we need to do more to recruit more young teaching graduates to the region. I hope we can get more from Teach First for example.”
A further analysis of the statistics shows 83% of primary school pupils in Suffolk achieved the benchmark Level 4 grade or above for reading in 2013 – a fall of 1% from last year.
But writing rose by 4%, climbing to 81%. Maths remained the same at 80%.
A new category of grammar, punctuation and spelling was introduced this year. For Suffolk the Level 4 pass rate was 68%, below the England average of 74%.
Results in Essex matched the national average with 75% gaining at least a Level 4 pass in reading, writing and mathematics.
It was a 1% improvement for the authority. Its ranking of joint-ninth remained unchanged.
Meanwhile, some headteachers in the region were celebrating today after four schools in Suffolk and Essex were ranked in the top 200 schools in the country following today’s released results.
Based on the average score per pupil, Millfields Primary School in Colchester was the joint ninth-best.
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Ipswich and Hamilton Primary School Colchester were both joint 15th, while Perryfields Junior School in Chelmsford was joint 16th.
St Mark’s Catholic Primary School in Ipswich retained its title of the best performing primary school in Suffolk, with 100% of its pupils achieving at least Level 4 in reading, writing and mathematics; the same pass rate as last year.