Thursday, 15 December 2011

Low attaining pupils in low attainment shock

The BBC article on the school leagues tables surprised me this morning. According to both the BBC and various politicians, low attaining children don't attain well. Let me put that another way: Children who are less average when they are 7 don't become average by the time they are 11.

It reminds me of when Tony Blair, newly in power back in 1997, was alleged to have said that he wants all children to become better than average.

So what is supposed to happen? Bearing in mind that the National Curriculum is divided into 'levels', which are broad descriptors of a child's knowledge in each subject area, children are supposed to make 2 levels of progress between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Also, children are expected to finish Key Stage 1 at level 2, although some low attainers finish at level 1, some high attainers at level 3. This progress that children should make means that, if all goes to plan the children
  • move from level 1 to level 3; or
  • move from level 2 to level 4; or
  • move from level 3 to level 5.
Apparently a quarter of children who are 'low attainers' actually made it to level 4 - this means moving from level 1 to level 4 - a great achievement. Disappointing then that Steven Twigg, Shadow Education Secretary should see his glass as being half empty with this statement: "The fact that only a quarter of low attainers at age seven go on to meet the expected Level 4 in English of maths when they leave primary school is not good enough."

Fortunately we have a country with such amazing secondary schools that they will pick up these disastrously low expectations from primary schools and make good their low attaining pupils.

I'll write next about how this announcement is akin to thrusting a red hot poker into the nether regions of all secondary schools, given the current SATs regime.

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