Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Forty Per Cent Fail Basic Primary School Tests

What on earth is going on in our primary schools? Figures out today show that 40% of eleven year olds cannot master basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills. And what does the government say? They trumpet these results as the "best ever"! You really couldn't make it up. This is PA's report.
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?


Tom said...

"40% of eleven year olds cannot master basic reading, writing and arithmetic schools..."

...and how many bloggers? :)

Steven Ronald said...

Tories would be so much better at investing in working class education (Not).

Old BE said...

Is that the same measure of "best ever" that was applied to the NHS as it continues to cut staff and close beds?

In other news, tractor production is up again this year.

Old BE said...

Oh here we go, the class war strikes again. It is one of the crying shames that Mrs T's government didn't start reforming education sooner, but to be fair she did have slightly more pressing issues to deal with like keeping the lights on.

The current crisis is a direct consequence of the idiocy of socialist policy, and quite a deliberate one at that. By keeping the beloved "working class" illiterate and uneducated, the socialists can carry on building their utopia unfettered.

By the way, it's not about money - even before the current splurge we were spending the same amount of money on schools as many other Western countries.

Steven Ronald said...

A yes - so the tories "management skills" will magically sort the educaction problems - thankfully nobody believes you and probably never will.

Archbishop Cranmer said...

Perhaps the solution is more faith-based education...


Sir Dando Tweakshafte said...

One has to wonder how seriously the teachers themselves take this skills-set.

Steven Ronald said...

Indeed - one wonders why Teachers seem to complain so often about their apparently low salaries when they seem to deliver so little.

Sir-C4' said...

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

Because Der Fuhrer promoted him to the Home Oriffice.

Hang Blair

Jim said...

So 60% are very good at 11, with still a minimum of 5 years in education to come.

Can we please have the same figures for years 79 to 97. Nope they don’t exist because Tories don’t like people knowing what’s going on. Isn’t it the Tories who want to scrap Targets, Tables, and Stats….I wonder why.

Will we now get a plethora of Tory MPs on TV Press and Radio slating all kids under 16 as useless worthless yobs… I think we will.

John Trenchard said...

it's fair to say that we need more information here before passing judgement.

"Four out of 10 children left primary school this summer without mastering the basics of reading, writing and maths, figures showed today."

what are the "basics"?

"fell short of Level 4, the standard expected of 11-year-olds."

what is Level 4? what is the "standard expected"?

"level 4" could have been dumbed down over the years - or the opposite - it might have been made harder each year.

without concrete examples of what these kids are failing in (i.e. the exam papers) then its very hard to pass a judgement.

Unsworth said...

In 1997 Blunkett knew quite certainly he would not be in that post until 2002. A similar stupendous promise was made by the truly gross (in every sense) Prescott about transport. It's so easy to make false promises and then move on to another job. In other fields, such behaviour would be regarded as utterly dishonest, but in politics it has become the norm.

As to the Primary Schools disaster, yes this is appalling. But before we all rush to judgement let's also recall the number of changes of Minister and the staggering number of changes to central directives and policies. Some of them have actually gone full circle. This constant meddling with education, the health service etc etc has destroyed the systems and demotivated staff.

I'm not in the least surprised that the professionals such as doctors, teachers, nurses etc have abandoned professional pride and replaced it with a dash for cash. Why should they involve themselves in the process when government decides everything and sets its own disgusting examples? The GPs managed to stitch up central government in a big way and now everyone else is going to get in on the act.

So the education of our children has been sacrificed on the altar of Ministerial vanity. Soon it will be health service (which is already falling apart) and then everything else. Competent governance? I don't think so.

Tapestry said...

It is not difficult to teach children to read and write - but it's almost impossible if it is considered immoral or somehow offensive to educational principles to tell children what sound letters make - phonetics.

Children are being left to try to identify words without any explanation of how words are contructed from individual letters, and that letters are identifiers of particluar sounds.

The educational dogmas that cripple our children's minds are so barmy it is hard to even believe that something as stupid is considered to be right by our own government.

Conservatives are committed to a return to teaching children what sounds letters make. Durrrrr - It's A B C. Labour on the other hand are beholden to the educational marxist mafia which has got itself all knotted up in criminally negligent belief systems.

Blair has not dared challenge the entrenched positions of the educational marxist fraternity. Neither has Brown dared to take them on.

Cameron will. He and his Party are readying themselves to tackle our broken society. It is the nuts educationalists who are one of its primary causes.

Yak40 said...

As has been known for centuries, a drunk illiterate populace is easy to control. NewLab is taking the long view it seems.

Anonymous said...

As the man once said :-

"Education ! Education! Education"

Old BE said...

so the tories "management skills" will magically sort the educaction problems

Not on their own, no, but by removing the various barriers to teacher actually being allowed to teach. For example, there is now no such thing as "failure" just delayed success. "Competition" is harmful because there will always be "losers".

What the left like to pretend is that every child is the same, so they should be taught to the standard of the least intelligent. They believe that one size fits all. They believe that utopia will be built when everyone has the same educational "outcome" but the only way for that to happen is for every child to fail equally.

chatterbox said...

Iain, don't forget the well known golden rule from the Labour spin bible, "its a good day to bury bad news"!
I also note that the government has suddenly today decided to request the release of the UK citizens languishing in Guantanamo Bay, who said New Labour spin was dead.

Colin D said...

Blame who ever you like. The reasons for the lack of "Education" within ours schools is Two. 1. The vast majority of staff are "products" of the comprehensive school system.2. These handicapped "teachers" are frightened to make "any" meaningful decision, for fear of the pc elite. Oh and the third. Common sense! went out of school along with the cane etc.
Who Cares??

The Hitch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Hitch said...

most of them dont speak english, we have been invaded.
We are strangers in our own country , something most of you haven't woken up to yet.
take a cheap day return to London and see the future, it isnt pretty.

Old BE said...

Disagree Hitch - it's not the lack of English as a first language which is the problem, it's the inability for schools to adapt because they are so caught up in making sure everything is done in accordance with current orthodoxy. If schools were well run they could have English-as-a-foreign-language classes for the kids from non-English-speaking "backgrounds". But they can't because everyone has to be taught in the same mixed-ability classroom.

James Higham said...

I was in education - I'm now out of it. I've blogged till I was blue in the face about why this appalling state of affairs exists.

It's all too depressing for words, almost as bad as the chain saw massacre of trees.

chatterbox said...

Finally find the story of these results tucked away in the Beeb's education page, headline is primary test results improving.

John Trenchard said...

"August 07, 2007 3:55 PM"

got any links to those blogposts you mention? i would be interested in reading them.

AloneMan said...

Ian, where do these figures come from ? Burning Our Money has the failure rate at around 20%, which is very different. Who's right ?

Iain Dale said...

The Press Association

Colin D said...

I disagree with these figures. The school my grandchildren attend is very good. Why? even the head has learnt some new phrases.
1.Old= It's the law.
New= It's a statutory requirement
2.old= It is preferable that you go on holiday out of term time.
New= Release from school for unauthorized absence is prohibited.
3. old= your child/brat could do better.
new= Your progeny has been awarded a deferred pass.
What a load of bullshine!! How are kids meant to advance with the likes of the this as leader.

Daily Referendum said...

Three sevenths of 11 year olds below standard? that's terrybull that is.

The Military Wing Of The BBC said...

The Hitch is right
at least 40% of primary school children are now from ethnic minorities.
Many UK households play games of hoke koke with 2nd homes on the sub-continent. Their children leave here with good English then spend 2-3 years there forgetting their highly expensive education.
All financed by UK welfare benefits (now paid directly into bank accounts) which go 20 times further in Pakistan.

This is why there is so little integration by Muslim communities.

Before any liberals have a nose bleed about the above comment - ask any primary school teacher if the above is familiar


Newmania said...

Ed - having eight different languages at a school doesn’t help which is certainly case around me.( That why the local Labour MPs send their children to Grammar schools ) The NUT have been resistant to setting and indeed almost any attempt to extract a performance and they are exceedingly strong in the Labour Party which values it so called public sector professionals . The first point is that like all the public institutions it has been allowed to fall into hopeless inefficiency by the guarantee of rewards for the most useless . All teachers know that a third of the staff would never hold down a real job and have long ago given up trying to attain increasingly degraded standards

It is quite astonishing that our educational system has been allowed to fall so badly behind comparable countries and especially when such enormous amounts of tax payers money has been squandered to no purpose . Labour have no understanding of the problem because they see people as economic units whereas education is at heart about imparting culture . How on earth would ignorant twitching barbarians know where to start with that , they deny its value , they see only class money and utility .

This is why under their stewardship the nature of education has not only declined but become shallow and bland. Yes they are happy for working families to cough up for another computer or a Lab, some more trips and so on . Schools in our area literally cannot think of what to buy next but this makes absolutely no difference . Good schools are delivered by supportive parents driven teachers disciplined pupils and good faculties in that order . This is to do with cultural capital which Labour ignore exceopt when choosing schools for their children

Typically the end result have been fixed with A levels being worth about two grades below the mark awarded. Silly little Jim thinks that tables and performance charts are the answer well that would be because the little twerp thinks it is difficult for any school to pass its tests. It is childishly simple and that is because tests have to take account of such varying intake . Teachers like it that way.

Education education education turned into location location location and if the Brown Blair period needs an epitaph that would be a good start. In the meantime it has allowed their fellow travelling chums to pretend to use the state system by buying houses near elite comps like the two slimy gimps Millibands from the prat factory in a leafy suburb near you.

It is essential in my view that the Conservative Party gets education right and I have been disappointed that the only Party having any sort of genuine debate about it is called by the BBC and its enemies “ divided”. It is not divided ;both views of Grammars have some sense to them and both are about trying to close to chiasmic class divide that suit’s the Labour victim tourists so well. What would the stuttering patricians Benn and Toynbee have to sell their books without a good supply of failed “product”.

Education is about love for learning and a sense of the value of structure and tradition. Under Labour we will continue to become a country that watches big brother
mon benefits

Bird said...

As an ex-primary head, this is a tedious subject for me, but yet again I offer a couple of observations.
SATS tests and league tables are phoney. Children in their last year in a primary school do practically nothing else but practise doing old test papers. The better organised schools have the advantage.
Middle class schools also have the advantage. Apart from taking children from literate backgrounds, they do not have their classes disrupted by yobs and, because they are oversubscribed, they don't have to take in large numbers of immigrants. Whether they have mastered the language or not, immigrants have to participate in the tests. You can imagine what that does to average scores.

A consequence of cramming and outright cheating to inflate scores is the accusation that secondary schools seem to be failing their younger pupils.
The accusation is: children achieve level four in maths(say)in their last year in primary school and they are still at that level two years later. Well they will be, unless the secondary schools start inflating the scores also.

Just remember who is to blame for uncontrolled immigration and phoney education statistics.

Newmania said...

As an ex-primary head, this is a tedious subject for me, but yet again I offer a couple of observations.

Not at all tedious to read though.Interesting in fact

Bird said...


Thanks old buddy; your efforts to unseat/unstable/undermine the bogey-eating monster at the helm are much appreciated.

hatfield girl said...

There may be a misunderstanding about the purpose of primary schools; they are to socialise children into accepting an environment which is uniform for them all - whatever the home environment they enjoy.

Of course, many parents find this aim - to neutralise at worst and positively disrupt then replace at best - their careful efforts to nurture and acculturate their children pretty offensive.

So false goals are propagandised, particularly aided by being rooted in a set of beliefs derived from our monocultural past, that schools are to teach basic academic skills in reading, writing and some knowledge of calculation, together with early skills -in -research practice in the form of 'projects'.

If it emerged that much of the intrusive information-gathering practised in our Junior and Infants is yielding wholly different, but not widely published outside of state agencies, assessment of the success or otherwise of our primary schools, who could be surprised?

But this diverse understanding does mean that the way we use the system should be adjusted to what the system does.

Dr.Doom said...

You mamaze me, Iain.

There has been a steady increase year on year for years.

Remember that Labour took control of a Conservative Government whose only role in Government was to take on the people of this Country on behalf of the affluent classes.

This is why Conservatives are wallowing in dissarray in the wilderness and Labour are managing success upon succes as well as rebuilding Britains institutions and basic Infrastructure that your lot planned against.

All in all, it is a better bet for basic education to be managed by Labour than Conservatives.

People know this.


pommygranate said...

I don't understand why you are surprised, Iain.

Governments do not do a good job running things - hospitals, rails, roads, local councils - whatever area you pick, they do it badly - schools are no exception.

Why do you think middle class parents will almost bankrupt themselves to send their little darlings to private school, despite fees rising 10% p.a.

Government must get out of the business of running education, offer choice to parents by handing them the cost of schooling as a tax refund and act as regulator only - not the manager.

That's what Cameron needs to be promoting.

bgprior said...

The problem appears to be particularly with regard to the writing tests. I think this is a clue to the causes of the persistently large (if slowly falling) numbers of children who are failing to achieve the desired standards, but I'm not sure what that clue tells us. Why would reading (and maths and science) standards be so much higher than writing?

Dr.Doom said...

Because one is expression and the other aren't.

Girls will probably show it the other way round.