06 Mar New Primary School measures will raise ambition – and standards
A new firm but fair primary school floor standard will drive up standards and help ensure children are ready for secondary school, Schools Minister David Laws announced yesterday.
As well as requiring schools to get a higher proportion of pupils to clear the existing bar, the Government is also today signalling that the bar itself is too low – and will be raised in the future because it is not ambitious enough.
The moves are part of a package of measures designed to raise standards in primary schools, including among disadvantaged children:
- The floor standard will go up from 2014 – primary schools where fewer than 65 per cent of pupils achieve the expected level (Level 4) in the 3Rs, and which do not achieve above average progress in these subjects, will be below the floor. The current floor standard requires schools to have 60 per cent of their pupils at level 4 or above in English and maths, plus the progress measures.
- New data will be published by the Department for Education showing the proportion of primary children who achieve a “good” Level 4 in the 3Rs – those who are truly “secondary ready”. This will be until the current system of levels is removed from 2016.
- Schools judged by Ofsted to be neither good nor outstanding, and who are not closing the gap between their disadvantaged pupils and their other pupils, will be ordered to draw up action plans – alongside experts – on how they will spend their pupil premium money.
- Summer school programme – which helps children make the transition from primary to secondary school – to be repeated this year.
This follows the publication of draft National Curriculum programmes of study for primary school subjects. These programmes of study will themselves raise the bar, setting ambitious expectations of what children should know and should be able to do by the end of their time at primary school. This will help ensure that our education system matches the best in the world. Primary schools which fall below the new 65 per cent floor, and particularly those with a long history of underperformance, face being taken over by an Academy sponsor. The expertise and strong leadership provided by sponsors is the best way to turn around weak schools and give pupils the best chance of a first-class education.