A quarter of Fenland schools fail to hit SATs tests target

Exterior of The Orchards School Wisbech
Exterior of The Orchards School Wisbech

ALMOST a quarter of schools in this area failed to meet government targets in tests for 11-year-olds.

Nine schools fell below the target of having at least 60 per cent of their pupils achieving Level 4 grades in maths and English in their Standard Attainment Tests (SATs).

And one - Guyhirn - was listed 17th among schools nationally with the lowest proportion of children achieving the benchmark Level 4 for both maths and English in the national curriculum tests.

In fact only 27 per cent of Guyhirn pupils achieved the minimum target.

Schools with less than 60 per cent are considered under-performing if their pupils are also failing to progress fast enough.

Others in our area which failed to hit this target were: Friday Bridge - 56 per cent; Manea, 53 per cent; Upwell 42 per cent; Westmere, 45 per cent.

The results mean some schools could face government intervention as earlier this year Education Secretary Michael Gove announced that schools that consistently do not meet the standard level could face intervention and in extreme circumstances even closure - although each will be looked at individually.

Leverington was the top performing school in the area with 96 per cent achieving Level 4 in maths and English. And the school’s CVA (Contextual Value Added - a measure to show how much progress pupils have made) was also the best at 101.9..

All Saints School at March had 83 per cent of its pupils hit the target, and its CVA was 101.1. West Walton was close behind with 83 per cent with Level 4s in maths and English and a CVA of 100.9.

There were three schools in this area that joined a national boycott of the tests and these were Anthony Curton, Thomas Eaton and Walpole Highway Schools.

The national boycott was called because teachers objected to the use of the test results in league tables and also argued the system forces teachers to ‘teach to the test’ too much.

Among the best improving schools in this area was Gorefield, despite being in special measures.

The school had 78 per cent of its Year 6 pupils hit Level 4 in maths and English compared to 63 per cent last year.

Orchards 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 school also featured in the list of lowest performing schools in the country being ranked at 25th, with 40 per cent of pupils hitting Level 4 in maths and English.

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.

“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 nice percentage points, a considerable improvement on previous performance.”