Primary asked to ‘raise the bar’ as Nick Clegg announces a reform of performance measures

CLASS ACT - My School - at Bryn St Peter's primary school'Year Three pupils working hard in their class writing.
CLASS ACT - My School - at Bryn St Peter's primary school'Year Three pupils working hard in their class writing.

Primary schools are being asked to ‘raise the bar’ when it comes to pupil achievement as part of a reform of primary school performance measures announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today.

He has launched a consultation on proposals, which its claimed will ensure more children are ‘secondary school ready.’

The coalition government proposes that from 2016 primary schools will need to have at least 85 per cent of their 11-year-olds achieving a higher level of progress by the end of primary school than is currently expected.

To help schools reach this goal, schools are to get more cash to help disadvantaged pupils. The Pupil Premium for primary schools will be increased to £1,300 per disadvantaged primary school pupil from next year.

Nick Clegg said: “Every primary school should strive to make its pupils ready for secondary school by the time they leave. All the evidence shows that if you start behind, you stay behind. A better start at secondary school is a better start in life.

“I make no apology for having high ambitions for our pupils. But for children to achieve their potential we need to raise the bar – in terms of tests, pass marks and minimum standards. I am confident that primary schools and their pupils will meet that challenge.

“To help more children achieve this, I am delighted to announce a significant increase in the Pupil Premium at primary level.

“This increase in money for every eligible primary school child, alongside our reforms to the national curriculum, to statutory assessment and to school accountability for primary schools will help ensure that all pupils are ready to reach their full potential in secondary school.

“This is a higher bar but with more money to help children over it. This combination will allow all our children to get the best possible start in life.”

Proposals outlined in the consultation document, include:

- Updated tests for 11-year-olds, in line with the higher expectations of the new National Curriculum. The tests would be in maths; reading; and spelling, punctuation and grammar. The science test for a sample of pupils would also remain.

- Higher expectations of what pupils should achieve. There would be a new “scaled score”, which would be the same for all tests and remain the same over years. It would be set at the level at which 11-year-olds would be considered “secondary ready”.

- The old ‘unambitious’ system of levels – with Level 4 the expected level – will be removed.

- A new reporting method which would see each pupil compared against their peers nationally. Each pupil would be placed in 10 per cent bands, or deciles. Pupils’ positions will only be made available to parents and schools.