Seven-year-olds fail to meet SATs averages

Seven-year-olds in West Sussex performed below the national average in the recent SATs assessments.

Nick Gibb MP PPP-160324-131441001
Nick Gibb MP PPP-160324-131441001

The tests at the end of Key Stage 1 – which were roundly criticised by parents and teachers alike – saw youngsters assessed in writing, maths, science and reading.

Figures published by the Department for Education on Thursday (September 29), showed West Sussex youngsters had fallen short in all four subjects. They also failed to meet the national average when it came to their understanding of phonics – the sounds words make.

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The results for reading saw 69 per cent of children meet the expected standard, compared to 74 per cent nationally.

In maths, the figure was 65 per cent, compared to 73 per cent nationally; in writing it was 53 per cent, compared to 65 per cent; and in science the figure was 78 per cent, compared to 82 per cent nationally.

The phonics results saw 77 per cent of West Sussex seven-year-olds reach the required standard, compared to 81 per cent nationally.

This was an improvement on last year’s figures and represented a 23 per cent improvement since 2012.

Despite this, the West Sussex phonics results have been 4 per cent lower than the national average in every year since.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “West Sussex schools and the county council are disappointed with the results and advisers have already met with a large number of headteachers to ensure they fully understand the outcomes.

“West Sussex School Improvement Service is working with headteachers to put in place a plan to improve Key Stage 1 outcomes in 2017.”

Girls out-performed boys in all subjects, producing their strongest results in reading and science, 75 and 80 per cent respectively.

While the boys also recorded their highest result in science – 76 per cent – only 44 per cent of them reached the expected standard in writing.

Comparing the countywide results, youngsters in Mid Sussex performed the best, matching or beating the expected standard in reading, maths and science and only just falling short in writing. The Arun district saw the poorest results, while there was little to separate Crawley, Horsham, Chichester and Adur schools.

The Department of Education also recorded the results based on the ethnicity of each child. The county’s Chinese children performed strongest in all four subject areas, while black children saw the lowest number achieving the expected standards.

Speaking in his role as school standards minister, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb praised the nationwide results. Mr Gibb said the government intended to ensure all children could read fluently by the time they left primary school, adding these SATs results had shown 147,000 Key Stage 1 youngsters were “on track to becoming fluent readers”.

He added: “While this is a huge achievement, we know there is more to do. We will work with schools and local authorities to ensure even more young people have the knowledge and skills they need to get on in life.”

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