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Children

Volume 476: debated on Thursday 22 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what percentage of children reached a good level of development by scoring six points on all the assessment scales for personal, social and emotional development and communication, language and literacy scales of the Foundation Stage Profile; and what progress has been made towards meeting this part of his Department's Public Service Agreement target; (200811)

(2) with reference to his Department's Public Service Agreement for 2005-2008 (Technical Note), page 9, what the agreed Public Service Agreement target is for the proportion of children to reach a good level of development at the end of the Foundation Stage by 2008;

(3) what proportion of children have achieved a good level of development by scoring six points on all the assessment scales for personal, social and emotional development and communication, language and literacy scales of the Foundation Stage Profile in (a) the 30 per cent. most disadvantaged super output areas and (b) the rest of England in each year since 2003;

(4) what progress has been made towards meeting his Department's Public Service Agreement target 2.

I have been asked to reply.

The Department for Children Schools and Families and the Department for Work and Pensions have joint responsibility for this public service agreement target, (which is PSA target 2 for DWP and PSA1 for DCSF). The target, set in 2005, is to improve children's levels of development in the communication language and literacy and personal, social and emotional development scales of the foundation stage profile so that by 2008 53 per cent. of children reach a good level of development and inequalities between the level of development achieved by children in the 30 per cent. most disadvantaged super output areas and the rest of England are reduced by four percentage points from 16 per cent. to 12 per cent. A good level of development is defined as scoring at least six points on all seven of the personal, social and emotional development and communication, language and literacy assessment scales at the end of the foundation stage.

The foundation stage profile was introduced in the academic year 2002-03 and was expected to take a number of years to bed in. Overall national summary data for FSP was first published in 2003 as ‘Experimental Statistics’ and in 2004 as ‘National Statistics’. However, a background of ongoing improvements to teacher assessment and moderation mean it is difficult to draw meaningful statistical judgments about the progress made, particularly in super output areas, between 2003 and 2004. For this reason information on levels of good development has only been published since 2005. The figures are shown in the table.

2005

2006

2007

Percentage of all children achieving a good level of development in maintained schools

48

44

45

Percentage of children living in the 70% least deprived super output areas achieving a good level of development in maintained schools

54

50

51

Percentage of children living in the 30% most deprived super output areas achieving a good level of development in maintained schools

37

33

35

Figures for 2005 and 2006 are based on sample data and are subject to sampling error. Figures for the gap between the most disadvantaged areas and the rest include only those children for whom postcode information was available. Improvements to moderation mentioned above have affected the reliability of 2005, 2006 and 2007 data; we expect 2008 results (due to be published in autumn 2008) to form a secure baseline and the PSA targets on early years foundation stage results for 2011 are to improve from this baseline.

The final figures on the foundation stage profile in England were published in Statistical First Release 32/2007 “Foundation Stage Profile 2006/2007: National Results (Final)” on 11 October 2007, a copy of which is available on my Department’s website

http://www.dfes.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000752/index.shtml