Press release

Primary schools’ test results released

The results of more than 16,000 schools’ key stage 2 tests – taken by 11-year-olds this May – were published today.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
  • 1,310 schools below floor standard
  • Schools which raise standards of low performers highlighted for first time
  • Nick Gibb: ‘We are taking action to end years of chronic under-performance.’

Primary schools’ test results released, December 2011

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said today that the Government would target the weakest primary schools in a bid to turn around chronic under-performance.

They show that every child in 265 primary schools not only achieved at least the expected level in both English and maths, but also made the expected progress.

The new-look tables also highlight, for the first time, the great schools - some in challenging areas - which transform the life chances of pupils who were struggling at age seven but who leave primary achieving better than expected.

However, the figures also reveal that 1,310 primary schools were below the standard - and about 150 have been below the floor for five years in a row.
This year’s key stage 2 statistics show that:

  • A third of 11-year-olds are still not doing well enough in the three Rs
  • One in 10 boys leave primary school with the reading age of a seven-year-old
  • One in 14 boys leave primary school with the writing age of an seven-year-old
  • The percentage of children achieving the expected level in both English and maths rose one percentage point to 74 per cent. But the proportion achieving above that expected level is down in English and in writing - and by eight percentage points in reading.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

The seven years of primary school are key to establishing the buildings blocks of a child’s education, particularly in reading, writing and arithmetic. Today’s figures reveal on a school-by-school basis the high academic standards achieved by thousands of primary schools in this country. But 1,310 schools are today shown to be below the floor - and about 150 have been languishing with poor standards for five years in a row. It is these schools that we will pay particular attention to in the year ahead, whether through conversion to a sponsored academy or other measures.

Today’s figures also reveal how well different schools educate children of lower ability. We need to help schools learn from those head teachers and teachers who deliver a high standard to all those children, including those who struggled at key stage 1, or who are from a poorer background.

We are also shining a light on those schools where pupils who showed early promise did not maintain their bright starts and tailed off to become below average average performers.

He added:

Our priority is to drive up standards in primary schools right across the board.

It’s why we are placing such emphasis on improving pupils’ reading ability in the crucial first few years of a child’s school career. It is the systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, a tried and tested method, which will improve children’s reading. A child’s education stems from their ability to read well.

It’s why we are committed to improving standards in maths. We will prioritise the allocation of places on initial teacher training to courses with a maths specialism over generalist primary courses. We are also focusing on improving the basics of arithmetic in our primary schools.

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather said:

We are extending the amount that even more of our children from low-income families will get through the pupil premium. From April next year schools will be allocated an extra £600 a year for every child who has been on free school meals at some point in the last six years to raise their attainment and help them catch up those from wealthier backgrounds.

The chasm between the attainment of rich and poor must be closed - 58 per cent of children on free school meals or in care achieved the expected level in English and maths by the end of the primary school but 78 per cent of their peers do so.

The information in the tables on low attaining pupils’ progress meets the Government’s commitment in the Green Paper to highlight the progress of the lowest attaining 20 per cent of pupils.


This year’s key stage 2 tests (English, reading, writing and maths) were taken in May by about 550,000 11-year-olds. Children at 750 schools were tested in the science sample test.

The percentages of pupils achieving Level 4 or above in the 2011 key stage 2 tests are as follows:

  • English - 82 per cent (up two percentage points from 2010)
  • Reading - 84 per cent (up one percentage point from 2010)
  • Writing - 75 per cent (up four percentage points from 2010)
  • Maths - 80 per cent (up one percentage point from 2010)
  • Both English and maths - 74 per cent (up one percentage point from 2010)

The percentages of pupils achieving above the expected level, Level 5 or above, in the 2011 key stage 2 tests by subject are as follows:

  • English 29 per cent (down three percentage points from 33 per cent in 2010)
  • Reading 43 per cent (down eight percentage points from 50 per cent in 2010)
  • Writing 20 per cent (down one percentage point from 21 per cent in 2010)
  • Mathematics 35 per cent (up one percentage point from 34 per cent in 2010)

Pupils are expected to make two levels of progress between key stage 1 and key stage 2. The national percentages of pupils making the expected progress by subject are as follows:

  • English 85 per cent
  • Maths 83 per cent

Floor standards

There are 1,310 primary schools below the floor - 893 schools rose above the floor from 2010 to 2011; 874 schools are newly below the floor in 2011.

LA with highest percentage of schools below the floor:

  • Derby (24 per cent)
  • Torbay (23 per cent)
  • Plymouth (23 per cent)
  • Wakefield (23 per cent)
  • Blackpool (21 per cent)
  • Herefordshire (21 per cent)
  • Middlesbrough (20 per cent)
  • Norfolk (20 per cent)
  • North Lincolnshire (19 per cent)

LA with the lowest percentage of schools below the floor:

  • Hammersmith & Fulham (0 per cent)
  • Havering (0 per cent)
  • St Helens(two per cent)
  • Trafford (two per cent)
  • Solihull(two per cent)
  • Lewisham (two per cent)
  • Newham (two per cent)
  • Greenwich (two per cent)

The Government’s tough floor standards, rising each year, ensure all schools continue to improve.

A school needs to be down on all three of the measures that make up the primary school floor standard:

  1. fewer than 60 per cent of its pupils achieving level 4 or above in English and maths combined;
  2. it is below the England median for progression by two levels in English;
  3. and it is below the England median for progression by two levels in maths.

In December 2010, 962 schools were below the floor. Some 25 per cent of schools boycotted key stage 2 tests in 2009/10.


The “sponsored academy” programme is in addition to the hundreds of schools which can convert to academy status (known as “converter academies”).

The academy programme was previously focused on under-performing secondary schools. This Government is now using academies to tackle weak primary schools as well. It has also allowed schools to take advantage of the freedoms and autonomy on offer by academy status, by converting.

Figures released this month by the Department for Education showed there are now 1,463 open Academies in England - 1,144 converters, 319 sponsored.

Low / medium / high attainers

Low attainers are those who did not reach Level 2 (the expected level) at key stage 1. Medium attainers reached Level 2. High attainers exceeded Level 2. Any pupils with no KS1 results are excluded from these breakdowns.

A quarter of all pupils judged low attaining at age seven went on to achieve the level we expect in English and maths at age 11.

In 27 schools, every low attainer at age seven went on to achieve what we expect in English and maths at age 11.

School Local Authority
Miles Coverdale Primary School Hammersmith & Fulham
Pope John RC School Hammersmith & Fulham
Rathfern Primary School Lewisham
St. James's CofE Primary School Southwark
St. Mary's CofE Primary School, East Barnet Barnet
St. John Fisher Catholic Primary School Bexley
St Joseph's RC Primary School Brent
Wykeham Primary School Brent
Cuckoo Hall Academy  Enfield
Barcroft Primary School     Walsall
Whitefield Primary School     Liverpool
St Martin's CofE Junior Infant and Nursery School  Oldham
St Paul's Church of England Primary School Brinnington Stockport
Bentley High Street Primary School   Doncaster
Long Lee Primary School     Bradford
Fell Dyke Community Primary School   Gateshead
Middleton Primary School   Milton Keynes
St Edward's Catholic Primary  Derbyshire
St Joseph's Catholic Primary  Derbyshire
Thornhill Primary School   Durham

Saint Lawrence Church of England Primary School 
Cheadle Primary School   Staffordshire
Helmshore Primary School   Lancashire

Chuter Ede Primary School  
Finlay Community School   Gloucestershire
St Anthony's Catholic Primary School  Hertfordshire
New Haw Community Junior School  Surrey

In 15 schools - more than 20 per cent of children rated high attaining at age seven failed to maintain that bright start and by age 11 were not even at the level we expect.


As part of the Government’s commitment to greater transparency today’s new tables include attainment data, progress measures and include the performance of low, medium and high attainers. The tables also highlight the performance and progress of disadvantaged groups compared with other pupils alongside a wider set of information, including school spending and pupil cohort data.

Notes to Editors

You can find out more about the school performance tables and access the statistics on the Department for Education’s website.

DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk - for journalists 020 7783 8300

General enquiries - for members of the public 0370 000 2288


Published 15 December 2011