the local education authority breakdowns of this year's improved Key Stage 2 results show.
After the first year since the introduction of a daily
literacy hour, the percentage of boys reaching Level 4 or above in
to 78 per cent this year. The percentage of 11-year-old girls
reaching Level 4 in reading also rose by 5 percentage points, from 79
per cent in 1998 to 84 per cent this year.
In English overall, the percentage of 11-year-old boys reaching
Level 4 or above increased by eight percentage points, from 57 per
cent in 1998 to 65 per cent this year. The percentage of girls
reaching Level 4 or above increased by three percentage points, from
73 per cent to 76 per cent.
In writing, boys are up four percentage points to 49% and girls up
three percentage points to 64%. This is the first time since
figures have been collated that there has been an improvement in
performance in writing, reflecting the emphasis on spelling,
punctuation and grammar in the literacy hour.
School standards minister Estelle Morris welcomed the results
breakdown. Ms Morris said:
'My thanks go to all those teachers and pupils who worked hard to
bring in the literacy hour and helped narrow the gap in achievement
between boys and girls. In reading, the difference has narrowed from
15 percentage points to 6 percentage points. This is remarkable
'We are pleased by this improvement but recognise there is still a
long way to go in writing, where there remains a disparity of 15
percentage points between boys and girls. That's why we are training
every teacher of pupils aged 10 and 11 in the teaching of writing
later this term and next term as part of a new focus on writing.
'Increases in the number of pupils achieving Level 5 or above in Key
Stage 2 tests across the curriculum are testament to the fact that
both the literacy strategy, with its focus on phonics, spelling and
grammar, and the numeracy strategy, with its focus on whole class
teaching and mental arithmetic, are working for all pupils, including
the most able. In English, the percentage of 11-year-olds reaching
Level 5 or above rose by five percentage points from 17 per cent to
22 per cent this year. In maths, the percentage of 11-year-olds
reaching Level 5 or above rose by seven percentage points from 17
per cent to 24 per cent this year.
'Schools in a number of areas have done exceptionally well in either
English or maths, but in some areas schools have made impressive
gains in both literacy and numeracy. Both Rotherham and Wakefield
saw percentage points in English and maths up nine and 14 percentage
points respectively, while in Milton Keynes and Kirlklees English
and maths rose by eight and 14 percentage points respectively.
'Many of the LEAs which have performed well are in inner-city areas.
But some authorities need to do more to raise standards in their
schools. The government will work closely with LEAs to ensure the
new£170m from next year's Schools Standards Fund is used in
the most effective way to raise standards and help them meet their
'These results show how important it is for us to press ahead with
this approach in the face of opposition from those who would argue
that schools, regardless of how successful they are, should be able
to decide whether or not to use tried and tested teaching methods
for the 3Rs '.
1. Many schools took advantage of the£18m funding in the
spring to run additional literacy and numeracy classes for children
and saw increases in pupil achievement as a result. An additional
£36m will be made available for schools to run literacy and
numeracy booster classes from this November. This support will be
raised to£42m next year.
2.£17m is committed next year to the very successful literacy
and numeracy summer school programme. More than 1,200 secondary
schools will run summer school programmes specifically targeted at
raising literacy and numeracy standards. Each of these schools will
also run intervention programmes during the first year of secondary
3. The results issued today provide the latest information on the
achievements of 7, 11 and 14 year olds in the National Curriculum
for each local education authority in England for 1999. This is the
third year that results aggregated at LEA level have been released.
4. In maths, the percentage of boys achieving Level 4 or above rose
by 10 percentage points from 59 per cent in 1998 to 69 per cent this