Norfolk schoolchildren deliver SATs test improvements

Primary school pupils across Norfolk and Suffolk have seen an improvement in the three Rs, but almost a quarter will go on to secondary education without a good grasp of reading, writing and maths.

New government figures released today show that 11-year-olds in the region have raised the bar compared to last year's Key Stage 2 results.

Education chiefs praised the improvements, which saw more children hitting the national standard. However, Norfolk and Suffolk pupils still flag behind the national average and Norfolk falls into a government list of the bottom ten local authorities for pupils achieving level 4 in both English and maths.

At Key Stage 2, 77pc of children in Norfolk reached at least the target level in English, compared to 74pc in 2010. And in Suffolk, there was a 1pc improvement with 78pc and 76pc reaching level 4 in English and maths respectively. The national average for English is 81pc and 80pc for maths.

Alison Thomas, cabinet member for children's services, said: 'These are fantastic provisional results for Norfolk's children and we are particularly pleased to see such a big improvement in children's achievements in English at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. We want all children in all schools to have high levels of achievement and have been supporting schools to share their successes to help each other thrive.'

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Key Stage 3 students in Norfolk also delivered improvements in English and science, with performance at maths remaining stable. The figures show that 78pc of pupils were assessed as reaching the expected Level 5 in English, compared with 76pc in 2010. In science the, figure was 84pc compared with 80pc in 2010 - one percentage point higher than the national average.

Officials at Suffolk County Council said the county's two tier system continued to perform better than those operating within the three tier education system with a 7.5pc difference.

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Graham Newman, portfolio holder for children, schools and young peoples services, said SATs results had improved for the third year in a row.

'By no means is the job done though. We still have a way to go if Suffolk young people are to do as well as those nationally and must continue to work hard to encourage young people to always achieve their very best and where there are barriers in their way, we must remove them. It is important that we continue to raise education standards across the board.'

Schools minister Nick Gibb said the introduction of academies into the primary school sector for the first time would help improve standards.

'There will always be some children for whom reading is a struggle. However, we can and must do much better for the one in 10 boys who at the age of eleven can read no better than a seven-year-old.'

'It is also critical that children read for pleasure. All primary school children should have a reading book on the go at home. Evidence from around the world indicates that the more a child reads, the better their attainment in all subjects – not just reading – will be,' he said.

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