Press release

Key stage 2 test results published

Nick Gibb: Improvement welcome – but more needs to be done.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
  • Gibb: Improvement welcome - but more needs to be done.
  • A third of 11-year-olds still struggling in the three Rs

National, regional and local authority figures for the key stage 2 tests taken by thousands of pupils at the end of primary school were published today.

In all subjects - English, reading, writing and maths - the percentage of 11-year-olds reaching the expected level (Level 4) or above is up.

But today’s statistics show that:

  • one in three pupils fail to achieve the expected level in the three Rs combined (reading, writing and mathematics)
  • there is still a worrying number of children performing at a very low level. One in 10 boys leave primary school with the reading age of a seven-year-old and one in 14 boys leave with the writing age of a seven-year-old
  • the proportion of children achieving above the expected level has fallen in both reading and writing.

The tests were taken by 554,000 11-year-olds in May this summer. Today’s figures break down the results to national, regional and local authority level. Children at 750 schools were tested in the science sample test. National data only is available for this test. Teacher assessment judgements were also published at key stage 2 and at key stage 3 (for 14-year-olds).

The results are available on the Department’s research and statistics website.

Key national figures:

% of pupils achieving the expected level (level 4 or above)

Subject  2007 2008  2009  2010  2011   Change since 2010
English  80  81  80  80  81  +1
Reading  84  87  86  83  84  +1 
Writing   67  68  68  71  75  +4
Maths 77  79  79  79  80  +1
Both English & maths 71  73  72  73  74  +1

% of pupils achieving higher than the expected level (level 5)

Subject  2007  2008  2009  2010  2011   Change since 2010
English    34  30  29  33  29  -4
Reading  48  49  47  50  42  -8 
Writing   19  20  20  21  20  -1
Maths    32  31  35  34  35  +1
Both English & maths 22  20  20  23  21  -2

% of pupils achieving the expected level of a seven-year-old (level 2) or below

Subject    2007  2008  2009  2010  2011   Change since 2010
English     5   5   5   5   6   +1
Reading  7   6   6   8   7   -1
Writing    5   5   4   5   5   0
Maths     6   5   5   5   5   0

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

Thousands of children are doing very well, testament to their hard work and the professional skill of their teachers. The fact that more children are reaching the expected level in every subject is very welcome as is the significant increase in the proportion of children achieving well in writing.

But a third of children are still struggling in the three Rs. There has been a decline in the proportion of children - both boys and girls - who can read and write beyond the expected level. And the results of our weakest readers and writers also remain a real concern.

He added:

We are determined to raise standards of reading. 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.

We are ensuring more schools use the tried and tested reading mechanism of phonics. We’re introducing a reading check for all children at the age of six to identify those that are struggling and ensuring they can be targeted.

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.

We are also introducing academies into the primary sector for the first time. The 200 worst performing primary schools will be taken over, by September next year, by those with a track record of success.

Notes to editors

  1. The statistical first release (SFR) showing the key stage 2 provisional results can be found from the publications section.

  2. Changes to the administrative process of marking tests may happen from year to year and care should be taken when comparing results between years. Readers’ attention is drawn to guidance within the SFR on the impact of changes when comparing this year’s results with other years.

  3. A five per cent sample of schools took science sampling tests to estimate national attainment in the subject.

  4. The Government has accepted all the recommendations made in Lord Bew’s independent review of key stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability.

DfE enquiries

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Published 2 August 2011