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Pre-School Education: Standards

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many children in nursery schools in Lancashire failed to meet expected standards in literacy and mathematical calculation in each of the last five years. (127119)

The information is not available in the form requested. Children’s development at age five is measured by the Foundation Stage Profile which replaced statutory baseline assessment on entry to primary school. This involves a continuous observational assessment during the academic year in which a child reaches the age of five. There are no pass or fail marks but, for the purposes of the national PSA target on improving young children’s outcomes, a ‘good level of development’ at the Foundation Stage is defined as achieving a score of at least six points on a Foundation Stage Profile Scale. A child achieving a good level of development can be deemed to be ‘working securely’ within the Early Learning Goals.

The following table shows the percentage of young children in the Lancashire local authority area and the North West Government Office region who achieve a score of six points or more in the assessment scales relating to the Communication, Language and Literacy and Mathematical Development areas of learning. Local authorities only supply full child data in an aggregate form and it is not possible to distinguish between nursery schools and other types of provider from this dataset. Sub-national figures are only available from 2005.

Percentage of children achieving six points or more1,2 in the communication, language and literacy and mathematical development areas of learning on the foundation stage profile in Lancashire local authority area—2005-06

2005

2006

Lancashire

North West

England

Lancashire

North West

England

Communication, language and literacy

Language for communication and thinking

85

83

81

79

79

78

Linking sounds and letters

72

66

63

65

63

61

Reading

79

75

72

71

70

68

Writing

72

65

61

61

59

57

Mathematical development

Numbers as labels for counting

88

88

87

87

87

87

Calculating

80

75

73

72

71

69

Shape, space and measures

89

86

84

83

82

80

1 Children who achieve six points or more within a scale are deemed to be ‘working securely’ within the Early Learning Goals.

2 Includes children in maintained schools and private, voluntary and independent providers.

Care should be exercised in comparing the results year on year. Assessment against the Foundation Stage Profile is not yet universally well established and ongoing improvements in assessment and moderation have contributed to a general downward shift in the scores, including the percentage of children working securely within the Early Learning Goals. The downward shift is apparent across most authorities but to varying degrees. While the downward shift in the figures between 2005 and 2006 reflects these improvements to moderation and assessment, the precise extent of the impact is uncertain. While many local authorities may now have settled in respect of assessment, it is possible that there will be further impact in some authorities for some time although the effects on the results are likely to reduce over time as the survey becomes more embedded.

The latest national figures on the Foundation Stage Profile for 2006 were published in a Statistical First Release ‘Foundation Stage Profile 2006 (03/2007)’ in January. A copy of the report and additional tables that show local authority achievement are available from the Department’s website at:

www.dfes.gov.uk/statistics