Friday, August 29, 2014
Efforts to improve education in Norfolk have suffered a blow after fewer 11 year olds than expected made the grade in this summer’s end-of-primary-school exams.
A total of 74pc of Norfolk children reached the standard expected of them in reading, writing and maths, compared to a county council target of 77pc, and data which had forecast 78pc.
The results represent a three percentage point increase on 2013, but still left the county behind the average for state-funded schools in England, which rose by two percentage points to 78pc.
In Suffolk, 73pc of pupils gained the expected standard in the three Rs, an increase from 70pc in 2013, while 75pc of children in Cambridgeshire made the grade, up from 72pc last year.
The news came a week after Norfolk also missed the county council’s target for the number of 16 year olds gaining the government’s gold standard of five GCSE at A*-C, including English and maths.
An initial analysis of GCSE results showed 54pc of Norfolk pupils achieved the gold standard - the same as 2013 - compared to a target of 60pc. However, a drop in the GCSE English pass rate nationally may yet move Norfolk closer to the national average when it is published next January.
James Joyce, chairman of the children’s services committee, said: “Our concern is that, although we are narrowing the gap, these results are not as good as those predicted by some of the county’s schools and we need to understand why some schools have not been able to accurately predict their children’s level of attainment.
“We will be carrying out urgent analysis in the next week to identify these schools so we can contact them at the start of term to question this discrepancy.
“We remain absolutely committed to supporting schools to improve and challenging under-performance.
“Although we are only at the end of the first year of our intensive focus on education, we know that there are positive signs of progress - in the significant improvement in five-year-olds achieving expected levels, the increasing numbers of schools being judged as ‘good’ by Ofsted, and more of the county’s children have achieved the expected levels at the end of primary school.”
The performance gap between boys and girls in Norfolk remained larger than the national average, and grew by one percentage point. Last year, 67pc of boys and 74pc of girls made the expected grade in the three Rs, compared to 70pc and 78pc respectively this year.
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