The preliminary attainment data on school performance in the KS2 SATs are now available. Governing boards need to take time to reflect on their school’s results, taking into account the fact that, as the DfE noted, these results are not comparable with previous years.
First, schools faced a new curriculum and a new standard, with new tests, measured in a completely different way. No conclusions about trends can be drawn from this data; we've started again from scratch.
Second, the data is incomplete. It should not be used on its own to draw conclusions about a school’s performance, or to make comparisons with other schools, and it provides no intelligence on the rate of improvement of teaching and learning. We only have attainment results now; schools are awaiting the progress results, which should be ready in September.
The floor and coasting standards for schools consist of both attainment and progress measures. If a school is above the threshold on progress, it is above the standard altogether. Therefore, no school can be described at this time as being below the floor or as coasting. Nor is it possible to predict what the progress score will be - it is a relative measure formed in comparison to other schools' results. What we do know is that no more than 6% of primary schools in the country can be below the progress threshold as the government has set a firm cap.
Teachers, parents and pupils may well be feeling demoralised by the fact that across the country 47% of children are not considered to have met the expected standard and this will be a challenge for schools to deal with. The introduction of the new curriculum and the testing regime has been extremely challenging for all concerned: pupils, teachers and parents and all involved in schools should be proud of the work they have put in to implement them in what has been a very short time-scale.
Emma Knights Russell Hobby
Chief Executive of NGA General Secretary of NAHT