Suffolk pupils fail to make the grade

EDUCATION chiefs in Suffolk admitted improvement was needed after test results for 11-year-olds showed performance was below national standards.The county failed to achieve the national average in English, mathematics and science in this year's key stage two tests, which are sat by primary and middle school pupils.

By Danielle Nuttall

EDUCATION chiefs in Suffolk admitted improvement was needed after test results for 11-year-olds showed performance was below national standards.

The county failed to achieve the national average in English, mathematics and science in this year's key stage two tests, which are sat by primary and middle school pupils.

But it was better news at key stage one with seven-year-old Suffolk pupils scoring higher than average results in all subjects.


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A total of 77% of pupils taking key stage two achieved level four (the expected level) or above in English, compared to the national average of 79%, while 71% achieved level four or above in mathematics – 4% short of the figure for England as a whole.

The results for science were also lower than the national average at 85%.

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Meanwhile, in Essex there was success above the national average for pupils sitting key stage two tests with 80% of pupils achieving level four or above in English, 76% at level four or above in mathematics and 87% at level four or above in science.

Of Suffolk's key stage one pupils, 86% achieved level two (the expected level) in writing – 4% above the national average – while 93% met the expected level in mathematics, compared to a national standard of 91%.

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said the results for key stage one showed a 3% increase in writing compared to last year but added there was no change in achievement levels for key stage two in 2005.

"Key stage two remains a key priority for improvement for the county council and schools," the spokeswoman said.

"The results are disappointing and are an area we recognise as a key priority for improvement but the good news is by the time pupils reach GCSE level they are four points above the national average."

Patricia O'Brien, the county council's portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said: "Key stages one and two help in assessing effectiveness and planning the next steps in pupil development.

"This is particularly important in areas where, over time, results suggest that youngsters could do still better.

"Schools, and those who work with them, use these results to target performance, to raise standards and reach pupils who have particular learning needs."

In Essex, 86% of seven-year-olds sitting key stage one tests achieved a level two or above in reading, 83% a level two or above in writing, 92% a level two or above in maths and 92% a level two or above in science.

Stephen Castle, cabinet member for education with Essex County Council, said: "It's an enormous pleasure to be able to congratulate seven-year-olds and 11-year-olds across the county on their success in key stages one and two.

"This is an achievement that pays tribute to the hard work of the pupils, and also to that of the staff who teach them and the parents who support them."

But last night Gerry Glazier, general secretary of Essex NUT, said the union disapproved of the tests because they were not considered a fair measuring system.

"Schools are being judged against schools which is wrong and unacceptable. Certain schools will get picked out as being bad performers and for those that will never finish top because of the area they are located in this can be extremely demoralising.

"The tables take no account of the hard work of the staff and students. The judgement is simply being made on performances in maths, science and English, which is only a small part of education. Other schools could provide a whole range of activities that give their students a broader outlook."

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