Dozens of schools miss targets for performance
Dozens of Norfolk schools are at risk of government intervention after missing a tough performance target for English and maths.
The news came as it was confirmed that the county fell from 111th to 135th out of 152 local authorities in terms of its performance in May's English and maths tests at age 11.
Meanwhile, a host of Norfolk schools are among the worst in the country on measures including the percentage of 11-year-olds getting the target level four in English and maths, the amount of value added between ages seven and 11, and persistent absence.
Earlier this year, the government announced that primary schools would be classed as failing if less than 60pc of pupils reached level four in English and maths – and fewer youngsters made two levels of progress in the subjects than the national average.
According to this year's primary school performance tables, 36 Norfolk schools fall below the mark.
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The figure would probably be higher, but statistics are not available for the 73 schools that boycotted the tests.
Another five schools in the EDP circulation area in Suffolk and two in the EDP patch in Cambridgeshire fell below the target.
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Those schools that fail to reach the target face closure or being taken over. Nationally, 962 schools failed to reach the target. Last year, when there was no boycott, 1,631 schools fell short.
Without the figures from the schools involved in the boycott, Norfolk's percentage of students hitting the target level four in English fell from 78pc to 74pc, with the maths results down from 76pc to 75pc.
Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services, said: 'Previous results suggest that the schools that did boycott would have brought our overall results up and the schools that boycotted in each local authority area were not necessarily similar schools, in their size or pupil characteristics.'
Mrs Thomas added: 'Despite this we are pleased that the teacher assessments took place and reflect the improvements that we know have taken place in maths. There are some very good results in some of Norfolk's schools and it is encouraging a see a big improvement in rates of persistent absence.'
Suffolk climbed from 142nd to 132nd, with the percentage getting level four in maths remaining at 76pc, and those hitting the target in maths up from 73pc to 76pc. Cambridgeshire fell from 69th to 83rd, with 80pc hitting the English target and 79pc the maths target.
Figures published in August showed that, across England, slightly more pupils reached the expected levels, with 81pc of 11-year-olds reaching level four in English, up from 80pc last year, and 80pc reaching the level in maths, up from 79pc in 2009.