‘Coasting’ UK Schools Keeping Children Behind

Up to 51,000 11-year-olds who achieved high grades at the age of seven have been held back after being left to coast in math and English, writes Sarah Harris at the Daily Mail.

More than 7,500 primary schools seem to have failed their brightest pupils. Four in ten youngsters who were above average at English and math at seven failing to fulfill their early promise by not meeting comparative grades in Key Stage Two tests at 11, official league tables show.

Critics claim the figures affirm what many have feared – a league table culture, whereby schools are judged on how well they do in getting pupils to level four, with many teachers focusing their efforts on borderline pupils to improve their league table positions.

The Department for Education has published school-by-school data for around 15,000 state primaries in England. The results reveal how more than 2,000 primary schools are serving their middle achievers better than their brightest pupils in English lessons.

Professor Alan Smithers of Buckingham University claimed highly achieving children are “perhaps too often left to their own devices”:

“The way schools are judged has a massive effect on their behavior. If they are asked to account for how many children are getting to level four, that’s where their effort is going to go.

“We don’t do enough for the really able in our education system.”

This comes after the Prime Minister announced his plan to tackle “coasting” schools that often fall under the radar despite still having a detrimental effect on students’ education. And with his new targets set, nearly one in ten state primary schools could face possible closure or takeover.

However, Paul Fisher, the head of Oakridge Primary School in Stafford, one of the country’s best primary schools has attacked the Government’s education reforms, claiming that the changes would focus on facts instead of skills, and said:

“Do we want a society that’s great at pub quizzes or one that’s great at thinking and problem solving?”

Ministers have identified 200 primaries that they deem the worst performing in the county. These schools will be pulled out of local authority control and turned into academies under new leadership teams in the next fall.

Hundreds more will now be ordered to improve or face similar intervention.

Saturday
12 31, 2011
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