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Primary School Standards

Volume 518: debated on Monday 15 November 2010

3. What recent assessment he has made of academic standards in primary schools in (a) Dartford constituency and (b) England; and if he will make a statement. (23518)

In 2009, 71% of pupils in maintained schools in Dartford achieved level 4 or above in English and maths combined at key stage 2, compared with 72% in England. We want all children, whatever their background, to achieve high standards in reading, writing and maths. That is why we are introducing a pupil premium, which will provide extra funding for those schools with the most challenging intakes.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his answer, because despite £2.5 billion spent on national strategies, a third of primary school pupils have not even reached level 4 for reading and writing. To help, will he encourage primary schools that have scrapped spelling tests in Dartford and elsewhere to reintroduce them?

Yes. Spelling is key to writing, as is grammar and punctuation. Indeed, we have already asked Ofqual to investigate how spelling, punctuation and grammar can be used in mark schemes for GCSEs other than simply English language.