Sheffield schools’ delight at exam results

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EDUCATION chiefs say Sheffield primary schools are ‘closing the gap’ on national average results after new figures revealed a ‘marked increase’ in youngsters’ performances.

The percentage of the city’s 11-year-olds reaching at least level four in English and mathematics assessments, the accepted marker of success, is 75 per cent this year - up from 71 per cent last year.

And many schools - including primaries in Wybourn, Arbourthorne, and Shiregreen - have seen leaps of improvement to secure ‘fantastic’ achievements.

Although the national average in the key pass rate is 80 per cent, Sheffield Council leaders are expecting further gains when the figures are finalised later this year.

Coun Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said: “I think it is fair to say schools and the authority are united in our desire to close the gap and get up to the national average and beyond.

“Our increase is currently below the national average, but by the time we report final results in November we anticipate we will be nearer it.”

In the Key Stage Two test results, reported yesterday by the Department of Education, the method of assessing pupils’ writing skills has changed, meaning direct year-on-year comparisons are not possible.

In Sheffield the number of girls achieving level four in English and mathematics was 78 per cent and boys 72 per cent, up from 73 per cent and 69 per cent respectively 12 months ago.

Coun Drayton said a lot of hard work - including more of a focus on assessment and vulnerable groups to give the right help or support - has taken place behind the scenes.

She said: “We have seen a marked increase this year, which is great news.

“We have also seen some fantastic individual school achievements.

“Parents, teachers and pupils have been working tirelessly to improve standards and we now have a solid foundation to build on.”

In Doncaster schools, the combined English and maths at level four score was 78 per cent this year, up from 72 per cent 12 months ago.

Rotherham’s level was up five percentage points to 74 per cent, while 77 per cent of Barnsley pupils achieved at least level four in both maths and English, up from 73 per cent 12 months ago.

A new test to ‘stretch’ the most able children was available to primary schools for the first time this year.

The level six in English and mathematics was offered on an optional basis.

Full results and individual schools’ performances are due to be released later this year.