Children’s grasp of the three Rs after two years of school is at its worst for a decade, official figures suggested

One in five seven-year-olds – nearly 105,000 pupils – failed to
reach the writing standards expected of their age this spring,
struggling to use capital
letters and spell single-syllable

One in six, or about 84,000, failed to reach expected standards
in reading and nearly one in ten – 58,700 – failed to make the grade in maths.

Boys trailed girls in every tested subject, while performance by bright pupils dipped on last year.

Despite record investment in early education by the Labour
government, pupils’ average scores in reading, writing and maths
combined has fallen from 15.5 points in 2000 to 15.3 this year.

The Coalition responded by pledging a stronger focus on traditional
teaching methods, including the back-to-basics ‘synthetic phonics’ approach to reading.

Ministers are planning a new reading test for six-year-olds to
identify struggling pupils earlier.
Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: ‘In spite of the hard work of teachers
and pupils, there are still too many seven-year-olds not reaching the
expected level.

‘We need to make sure that government gives schools the support they
need to get the basics right. A solid foundation in reading, writing,
maths and science in the early years of education
is crucial to a child’s success
in later life.’

Yesterday’s results are based on ‘key stage one’ assessments of
553,000 seven-year-olds by teachers in English primary schools after
formal SATs were scrapped.

A sample of the assessments is cross-checked to ensure consistency
across the country. They cover speaking and listening, reading, writing, maths and science.

Some 15 per cent of children failed to meet the expected national curriculum ‘level two’ in reading.

It means they struggle to read simple passages or express opinions about stories.
Meanwhile 19 per cent fell short of ‘level two’ in writing.

This level requires youngsters to be able to use past and present
tenses, vary their sentence structures, spell common words correctly
and use full stops and capital letters.

Some 11 per cent failed to make the grade in maths, meaning they struggle to count to 100, and a similar proportion in science.

Mr Gibb highlighted an ‘unacceptable’
gap in attainment between rich and poorer areas. He promised extra funds for teaching deprived pupils.

GCSEs taken by hundreds of thousands of pupils this summer were too easy, according to the qualifications watchdog.

Isabel Nisbet, chief executive of Ofqual, told the Times Educational
Supplement that the general
GCSE science and additional
science exams represented a ‘collective falling short of the standards that young people and teachers have a right to expect’.

Teenagers passed 60.9 per cent of science GCSEs and 64.7 per cent of additional science papers at grade C or above this summer.


Source: Daily Mail –

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