Express & Star comment: Our youngsters deserve so much more
Almost 10,000 children across the Black Country failed to achieve basic maths and English results in this year's May SATs tests, we reveal today.
In Dudley alone, 43 per cent of children failed to meet the minimum standard in all their tests - that is almost half of 10-11-year-olds in Dudley. While in Sandwell two in every five of the Year 6 pupils fail to make the grade.
It is often argued that SATs label children and schools as 'failing' and can have a negative impact. Certainly we don't need league tables to show that children at schools in affluent areas largely get better grades than those in more challenged urban areas such as the Black Country.
But there does need to be a way of measuring how well children and schools are performing, to see whether the education system is working, or not.
When so many children leave primary school unable to meet even basic standards in maths and English then many will feel justified in saying it is not.
Does anyone think it is acceptable that so many of tomorrow's generation lack a basic education? What sort of society would ignore this and what sort of society are we creating?
Questions, we hope, will be asked. No doubt a lack of funding will be blamed for the shockingly bad results. Teachers are leaving the profession while class numbers are going up.
Many in the profession will say there is too much paperwork, pressure to pass Ofsted inspections and schools are becoming more dangerous with figures showing the number of attacks on teachers increasing. Some schools are installing metal detectors.
Clearly some families could do more to support their children at home. Changes to the nuclear family and the busy lives we lead may be seen as mitigation but given the SATs results parents might want to look a little closer at their priorities.
Whatever the reason for these appalling figures, the education system is failing too many children. Too many children are failing to meet the very basic standards in key subjects and something must be done about this.
However cynically exam statistics are treated in some quarters, these figures must be at least throw up a warning flare that something is going wrong.
Our children will only go through the school system once - we owe it to them to ensure they get the best education we can offer. No excuses.