Quarter of Fenland schools could face government intervention for failing to achieve minimum target

A QUARTER of Fenland primary schools which staged tests for 11-year-olds could face government intervention after failing to achieve the minimum targets.

Twelve schools fell below the target of having at least 60 per cent of their pupils gaining Level 4 grades in Maths and English in their SATs.

Earlier this year, Education Secretary Michael Gove said schools that consistently do not meet the standard level face intervention, possible takeover or even closure, although the unique circumstances of each school would be considered.

He said: “We have said that any school where you get fewer than 60 per cent of children reading at the expected level and where they are not making appropriate progress will be subject to specific intervention.

“We want to make sure that these schools where children are not being taught to read are tackled because if you do not get a child reading by the time they leave primary school, when they arrive at secondary school the curriculum is just a closed book to them.

“It’s unacceptable if children leave school unable to read.”

In Cambridgeshire, 73 per cent of pupils gained level four grades in maths and English, in line with the national average.

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Councillor David Harty, the county council’s Cabinet member for learning said: “The local authority has prioritised this apparent decline in standards and steps are already being taken to reverse this trend.”

Only four per cent of the county’s schools boycotted the SATs tests, compared to a quarter of schools nationally. One of them schools was Thomas Eaton Primary School in Wimblington.

Cllr Harty added: “The county council is pleased that where resources were targeted at identified schools, overall results were either maintained or improved.

“In addition the local authority has been working hard with schools to improve the performance of pupils on free school meals. This year the attainment gap (between advantaged and disadvantaged children) was narrowed by nine percentage points, a considerable improvement on previous performance.”

• GUYHIRN Primary School achieved the lowest result in Fenland, with 27 per cent of pupils achieving the minimum target.

Other schools which scored less than 60 per cent include Orchards Primary School in Wisbech, Murrow Primary School, Westmere Primary School in Sutton Bridge and Benwick Primary School.

The acting head teacher at Upwell Primary School condemned the league tables, saying the results didn’t reflect the child as a whole. The school had 42 per cent of pupils gain level four in English and maths, the third lowest in Fenland.

Carol Lewis said: “The tests are based on half to three-quarters of an hour of a child’s life and are not representable. We take all our pupils as a whole and we inspire them in life.”

Upwell Primary won’t boycot next year’s SATs and hope to improve on this year’s results.

Manea Primary School, Ramnoth Junior School in Wisbech, Kinderley Primary School in Tydd St Giles and New Road Primary School in Whittlesey are the other schools which scored less than 60 per cent.

• LEVERINGTON Primary School achieved the highest score in Fenland, with 96 per cent of pupils gaining Level 4 grades in English and maths.

Head teacher Rosie Simmonds said: “We are flying high, I have never known any school in Fenland to do so well.

“It follows outstanding Ofsted report in February, and the success is down to the hard work of the team. This is brilliant for Leverington and the children at our school.”

She added: “Michael Gove’s plans are not going to raise the morale for those schools under threat. It’s very sad for those at the bottom, its not that the staff aren’t working really hard.”

Coates Primary School achieved the second highest rating, with 88 per cent of pupils gaining Level 4s in English and maths.

• GOREFIELD Primary School was one of the best improvers on last year’s results, despite being in special measures.

The school had 78 per cent of Year 6 pupils achieve a Level 4 in maths and English this year, compared to 63 per cent last year.

Assistant head teacher Katharine Bultitude said: “We are delighted with the improving standards at the school.

“We are very proud of our children and they and our staff have worked very hard to produce these results.”

• ORCHARDS Primary School in Wisbech had more than double the unauthorised absence rate of any other school in Fenland.

In total, 6.1 per cent of the school’s absences were unauthorised. The next highest, Beaupre Primary School in Outwell, had 2.7 per cent.

• WALPOLE Cross Keys Primary School had the lowest unauthorised absence at 0.1 per cent. Headteacher Stuart Graver said: “I put the low absence down to happy children wanting to come to school. We look after them and care for them.

“We have lots of extra activities and we get a lot of support from parents.”

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