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Departmental Standards

Volume 477: debated on Friday 13 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the reasons were for his Department’s performance against each public service agreement target set in 2004 which it did not meet, as referred to in the Departmental Annual Report 2008. (211169)

The Department published its Departmental Report on 19 May 2008 which included latest assessments against Spending Review 2004 PSA targets. Two target elements were reported as not met:

PSA target 6 (element 1)—By 2006 85 per cent. of 11-year-olds achieve level 4 or above, with this level of performance sustained until 2008.

PSA target 7 (element 1)—By 2007 85 per cent. of 14-year-olds achieve level 5 or above in English, mathematics and ICT (80 per cent. in science) nationally, with this level of performance sustained to 2008.

PSA target 6 (element 1) was first reported as not met in the Autumn Performance Report 2006 (CM 6992) which also included the following information on performance:

Provisional 2005/06 results of Key Stage 2 tests show that 79 per cent. of 11-year-olds achieved level 4 or above in English (no change over 2004/05) and 76 per cent. achieved level 4 or above in mathematics (an increase of one percentage point over 2004/05).

Although primary standards are now at their highest ever level, the headline Key Stage 2 targets have not been met.

Compared to 1996/97, about 95,000 more 11-year-olds are now achieving the target level for their age in English and 83,000 more are doing so in mathematics. The 2005/06 results showed the largest increase in children achieving above the target level 4 in English since 2000.

Since 1996/97, the increase in standards and in the quality of teaching and learning in schools has been dramatic and sustained. Ofsted have stated that teaching in primary schools has never been better and describes the current generation of newly-qualified teachers as the best trained ever.

PSA target 7 (element 1) was first reported as not met in the Autumn Performance Report 2007 (CM 7279) which also included the following information on performance:

The 2006/07 provisional results of the National Curriculum Key Stage 3 tests show that 74 per cent. of 14-year-olds achieved level 5 or above in English, 76 per cent. achieved level 5 or above in mathematics, and 73 per cent. achieved level 5 or above in science. This represents an increase of three percentage points from the target’s 2003/04 baseline in English, three percentage points from the target’s 2003/04 baseline in mathematics, and seven percentage points from the target’s 2003/04 baseline in science.

Recent slow progress has meant the 2007 target has not been met. However, there has been some progress in 2006/07 with provisional results showing improvement in attainment in English, science and IT.

The 2006/07 results mean that 95,000 additional pupils reached the expected level in English compared to 1997, with 95,000 more reaching the expected level in mathematics and 75,000 in science.

To build on these results, the Making Good Progress pilot which started in September 2007 will help all children to progress well at school, giving the brightest pupils an opportunity to reach their full potential, and ensuring that those at risk of falling behind are identified and supported in their learning. A new secondary curriculum will be introduced from next year, which will give teachers more flexibility and provide additional time to help children who are at risk of falling behind to master the basics, as well as offering more stretching opportunities for those who excel.

Tools, guidance and training on Assessing Pupil Progress have now been rolled out for reading, writing and mathematics; speaking and listening and science will follow over the next year. The effective tracking of pupil progress is the most common feature of successful schools, and these materials will support schools in doing that. Through the National Strategies, targeted intervention materials for pupils who fall behind is also continuing.