Four out of 10 children left primary school this summer without mastering the basics of reading, writing and maths, figures showed today. Ministers hailed the latest national curriculum test results as the "best ever", after a one percentage point rise across English, maths and science. But results in reading were no better than two years ago, while the proportion of children making the grade in writing showed no improvement since last year. Overall, only 60% of the 585,000 11-year-olds who took the tests in England's primary schools this year reached Level 4 in all three Rs - reading, writing and arithmetic. This means more than 230,000 children fell short of Level 4, the standard expected of 11-year-olds. Schools Minister Lord Adonis acknowledged that there was "more to do". "These are record results but we have got further to go," he said.
You can say that again. Do you remember David Blunkett's promise, made in 1997, that if basic standards weren't reached by 2002 he'd resign? Needless to say he didn't, but it's incredible that there has been no improvement in reading standards. How on earth can kids excel at Secondary school if they can't even master the basics of the 3 Rs before they get there? Primary Schools are doing wonderful work in so many areas, but surely everyone must agree that something is going seriously wrong if forty per cent of eleven year olds leave Primary School without mastering basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills?