'Gloomy' trend of school test results

STEVE DOWNES The future of Norfolk's children is being put in jeopardy by a “rather gloomy” trend of poor results and missed targets, it was revealed last night.

STEVE DOWNES

The future of Norfolk's children is being put in jeopardy by a "rather gloomy" trend of poor results and missed targets, it was revealed last night.

New figures show a host of targets missed in critical areas like test results for 11-year-olds, GCSE grades and the number of children in care.

The county council has a number of improvement targets in key areas including educational attainment at primary and secondary schools, reducing teenage pregnancy rates and boosting activities for young people.

But targets missed include:

Percentage of 11-year-olds reaching level four or above in key stage two English tests - 77.3pc (target figure 83pc).

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Percentage of 11-year-olds reaching level four or above in key stage two maths - 75.3pc (target 81pc).

Percentage of 14-year-olds achieving level five or above in key stage three English, maths and science - 73pc, 77pc, 74pc (targets 76pc, 78pc and 75pc).

Percentage of 16-year-olds getting five A*-C GCSEs including English and maths - 44.9pc (target 46.5pc).

Number of children in care per 10,000 under 18s - 52.1 (target 49.45).

Percentage of children in care adopted - 5.1pc (target 6.6pc).

Percentage of special educational needs statements prepared within 18 weeks - 89.5pc (target 98pc).

Percentage of young people participating in youth work with recorded outcomes - 26.1pc (target 44.5pc).

Norfolk County Council's Liberal Democrat education spokesman Mervyn Scutter said: "The performance figures tell us a sorry tale. The general performance is indicated as a cause for concern."

Peter Harwood, Labour's schools spokesman, said: "I am not a great fan of performance indicators but there is a worrying trend of concerns lying ahead for youngsters in Norfolk and it seems to be across the services."

The performance indicators show the council is "on target" or "within tolerance" for an number of areas, including the number of young people on the child protection register and permanent and fixed-term exclusions at secondary schools.

Lisa Christensen, director of children's services, said: "We've been looking very hard at our performance. I think we are seeing that we are managing to keep our services improving in the majority of places."

She admitted the indicators painted a "rather gloomy picture" but added that there were many other areas that had met targets, but were not presented in the report.

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