Raising standards in schools

Good educational standards are key in ensuring that the next generation have the skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive global market. Recent changes to the way primary school children are assessed are about ensuring that every young person receives an education that allows them to fulfil their potential. It is also, therefore, important to make sure that schools are held to account for their pupil’s performance.

Previous expectations for primary school children have been too low. Mastering the basics of maths, reading and writing is vital, and no child should be allowed to be left behind. Children who fall behind on the basics early on all too often do not achieve their potential at GCSE level. The reforms to both the national curriculum and accountability system set the bar higher at primary school, ensuring that schools are providing quality education allowing more children to flourish in the later stages of education.

This year sees the first administration of new tests for the end of Key Stages 1 and 2, to align with the new national curriculum. These will be more challenging than previous systems, and will produce a precise scaled score. Alongside more detailed performance indicators at the end of Key Stages 1 and 2, an improved moderation regime will ensure that teacher assessments are more consistent, giving a more rounded view of a child’s overall progress.

Holding primary schools to account for their pupil’s performance is vital to ensure that these ambitious targets are delivered. A new minimum requirement, known as the floor standard, will be based on the progress pupils make from reception to the end of primary school. An initial assessment in reception will provide the base point from which to measure a child’s progress. 85 per cent of children should achieve the new expected standard by the end of primary school, and schools will be required to publish information openly, giving parents the choice of where they feel it would be best to send their children.

While the changes may seem significant, they demonstrate a commitment to driving improved standards in primary education. The Standards and Testing Agency will provide guidance to schools through events, webinars and YouTube videos. Schools will have adequate time to prepare for these changes and ensure that every child will be given the best primary education they can.