GT Voice Board Policy Statement
Friday 3 February 2012
Almost 4 in 10 high attaining primary pupils did not achieve the expected 2+ levels of progress between KS1 and KS2 in English and maths together;
GT Voice welcomes the separate analysis of high attainers’ achievement within the Primary and Secondary School Performance Tables.
It also supports the Government’s decision to make available optional Level 6 tests in reading, writing and maths at KS2. We look to all primary schools to give all secure Level 5 performers the opportunity to demonstrate achievement above the Level 5 ceiling – and to take the optional tests if they can do so.
But GT Voice is concerned:
2. That, without further support and incentives to do so – including proper reflection in the Primary Performance Tables – too many primary schools will disregard the optional tests, or will not invest sufficiently in the quality of teaching required to support learners to achieve Level 6.
3. At the removal from the School Census – without consultation - of the gifted and talented indicator with effect from January 2012. That would have provided a valuable alternative and parallel measure, based on schools’ ‘best fit’ judgements of ability rather than attainment.
4. At the statistical problems associated with defining high attainers so broadly. This has been criticised because it will tend to favour schools with relatively more advantaged intakes. It would be helpful to isolate the performance of high-attaining disadvantaged pupils, so it becomes possible to establish whether policies aimed at ‘narrowing the gap’ (such as the Pupil Premium) are benefiting them. They are amongst those most likely to progress to competitive universities, so helping the Government towards one of its key social mobility indicators. It would also be helpful to undertake and publish further analysis by sub-groups within the high attaining group. One possibility would be to define these by reference to National Curriculum sub-levels, or equivalent Average Point Scores.
5. At this incontrovertible evidence of significant underachievement by high attainers, particularly in the primary sector:
*Only 77% of high attaining primary pupils made the expected 2+ levels of progress in English, significantly less than the percentage of ‘middle attainers’ who did so (89%) and slightly less than the percentage of ‘low attainers’ (80%)
*According to a report in the Daily Mail, some 1,300 high attaining primary pupils spread across 800 schools remained at Level 3 at the end of KS2, having been at Level 3 at the end of KS1.
All this despite the fact that the current progression expectations (2+/3+ levels of progress) are insufficiently challenging for a significant proportion of high attaining pupils.
*At secondary level, 1 in every 20 secondary high attainers failed to achieve 5+ GCSEs at Grades A*-C including English and maths. Approximately 1 in 8 secondary high attainers did not make the expected 3+ levels of progress in English and approximately 1 in 7 did not do so in maths.
*Almost 4 in 10 high attaining primary pupils did not achieve the expected 2+ levels of progress between KS1 and KS2 in English and maths together;
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