SATs shock as thousands of pupils aren't meeting Government standard

By Pete Madeley | Education | Published:

Thousands of children have started secondary school in the Black Country and Staffordshire without meeting the Government's floor standard in maths and English.

9,322 youngsters from across the region who took their SAT exams in May failed to achieve the minimum required scores

Figures released today from the Department for Education (DfE) show that across the region 9,322 youngsters who took their SAT exams in May failed to achieve the minimum required scores.

The region's overall achievement rate was 61 per cent – three per cent lower than the average in England.

The Key Stage 2 (KS2) tests are taken by Year 6 primary pupils ahead of them starting secondary school, and measure how well they are doing in the key areas of reading, maths, and grammar.

They are also used to evaluate how well primaries are preparing their pupils for secondary school.

Dudley posted some of the worst SAT scores in the country, according to the figures, with 43 per cent of pupils not achieving the Government's required standard in all their tests – 1,580 children in total.

In Sandwell two in every five pupils who took tests failed to meet standards, while the figure was 39 per cent in Walsall and 36 per cent in Wolverhampton.

Across Staffordshire 3,399 children (36 per cent) did not achieve the required minimum scores.



Campaign group More than a Score said it was wrong for schools to focus on SATs, which it said had 'failed a generation of children'.

Spokeswoman Madeleine Holt said: "A snapshot assessment of four years of academic work is likely to be intrinsically limited in what it tells you about a child."

Pupils across the region fared far better in a second measure of results – known as KS2 teacher assessments – where achievement rates were around 78 per cent on average across all subject areas.

The Association of School and College Leaders raised concerns that collecting two sets of results is 'cumbersome and inconsistent'.


Policy director Julie McCulloch said: "These two forms of assessment focus on different things, and reporting on both can be confusing and unhelpful."

As of next year, reading and maths will be assessed based on SAT scores alone.

The DfE said that more pupils were now reaching the expected standard than in 2017.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "The Key Stage 2 tests play a vital role in ensuring that children have been taught, and have acquired a sound knowledge of, the fundamentals of reading, writing and mathematics.

"We trust schools not to put undue pressure on pupils when administering these assessments, and certainly not at the expense of their wellbeing.

"Thanks to our reforms and the hard work of teachers, education standards are rising in our schools, with 1.9 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010."

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.


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