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Schools minister Stephen Twigg today welcomed a new report by Ofsted, ...
Schools minister Stephen Twigg today welcomed a new report by Ofsted,

the independent schools inspectorate, which found that the national

literacy and numeracy strategies 'continue to have a considerable

positive impact in primary schools' (see LGCnet).

Since 1998 the strategies have dramatically boosted results in Maths

and English in primary schools. This year 75% of pupils achieved the

expected level in English, 10% more than in 1998 and 73% of pupils

achieved the expected level in maths, a 14% rise from 5 years ago;

Ofsted's report 'The national literacy and numeracy strategies and

the primary curriculum' said:

- the strategies have improved the quality of teaching and learning

of literacy and mathematics;

- teaching is good or satisfactory in 7 out of 8 lessons;

- teaching assistants play an important and effective role in the

delivery of the strategies;

- the literacy strategy has been particularly effective in raising

teachers expectations in other subjects;

- the strategies have broadened teachers' approaches to teaching, in

particular, their skills at demonstrating modelling and explaining to


The report comes at a significant time for primary education and

Ofsted also identifies some important challenges for government, LEAs

and schools.

These include tackling teachers' weak subject knowledge, especially

in the case of mathematics, areas of poor leadership and management

and the failure in some schools to tackle unsatisfactory teaching and

promote a broad, rich curriculum.

Speaking and listening is one of the key weaknesses preventing

schools from improving pupils' learning and teachers' understanding

of pupil performance.

Responding to the report, schools minister Stephen Twigg said:

'I welcome this report from Ofsted. Through the hard work of teachers

and pupils and the impact of the national literacy and numeracy

strategies, there has been a step change in primary results over the

last six years.

'Everyone would like to see faster progress for those 11 year olds

not currently reaching the expected standard, but I am confident that

the measures in place to raise primary school standards further are

the right approach.

'Most of the challenges Ofsted identify we are already tackling

through Excellence and Enjoyment, our strategy for primary schools

published earlier this year. As part of this, schools will be urged

to take a fresh look at their curriculum, their timetable and the

organisation of the school day and week, and think about how they

would like to develop and enrich the experience they offer their

children across the curriculum.

'We are improving the leadership capacity of schools through a

primary leadership programme involving underperforming schools and

training another 4000 subject leaders to help teachers gain even more

specialist expertise in their subjects.

'All schools have recently received new guidance on promoting

pupils' speaking and listening skills. They are designed for use

across the whole primary curriculum. In literacy, we are producing

new materials this year on raising standards' of boys' writing and on

systematic phonics.'

Stephen Twigg also announced a new package of support to help schools

in disadvantaged circumstances. More than 1,000 primary schools will

get extra money and support to help them raise standards in the


This builds on the success of the Excellence in Cities Primary

Pilot that has been running in 1000 EiC schools for the last two

years. The schools involved in the pilot have improved their Key

Stage 2 results, on average, at a faster rate than other schools. The

extension of this support means that all primary schools in the

country that face severe disadvantage will now benefit - both those

in EIC areas and those outside.

Schools will be targeted where, on average, more than 35% of pupils

have been eligible for free school meals over the last three years.

They will be able to raise the aspirations of their pupils and help

them to realise their potential, for example by providing for extra

opportunities for gifted and talented children and by employing

learning mentors. Local EiC partnerships will be responsible for

agreeing which schools benefit.

The funding will also support the development and delivery of a

specialist support package for early years practitioners so that they

can begin to tackle the challenges faced by disadvantaged children as

soon as they enter the Foundation stage. A particular focus for the

specialists will be to improve the speaking, listening and

communication skills of these children.

Stephen Twigg said: 'The National Primary Strategy is raising

standards in primary schools by investing in teaching and learning.

However, we recognise that some schools will need more support than

others. We know that schools in disadvantaged communities face greater

barriers to teaching, learning and engagement; but we also know from

the Excellence in Cities primary pilot that these barriers can be

successfully tackled and performance raised.

'The extension of opportunities for the gifted and talented and of

behaviour support at primary level means a more level playing field

for children everywhere and a better chance of success than ever

before for those children who face the most severe disadvantage.'

£16m in 2004/05 and £37m in 2005/06 will be available for this

expansion, with another £20m to support development of

foundation / early years, especially focusing on speech and language

and parental engagement.


This Notice applies to England.

1 Excellence in Cities is a targeted programme of support for

schools in areas of socio- economic disadvantage.

2 The EiC programme brings provides both strategies and resources to

help these schools tackle barriers to learning and deliver the

education pupils deserve.

3 Whole authority Excellence in Cities partnershipsare running in

57 local authorities. In addition, 44 excellence clusters have been

created to provide the benefits of the EiC programme to smaller

pockets of deprivation elsewhere.

4 The expansion of EiC primary support has been targeted to all

schools where, on average, the percentage of pupils eligible for free

school meals has been 35% or above for the past three years. Funding

will be allocated to LEAs against the total number of pupils in these

35% FSM schools.

5 As a guide to likely per-school support through Gifted and

Talented and Behaviour Support, we would expect;

- a school of 250 pupils to receive £27,700

- a school of 500 pupils to receive £53,950 and

- a school of 100 pupils to receive £11,950

6 Additional funding will not be provided to LEAs for schools in

Phase 1 or excellence clusters (or in EAZs transforming to clusters)

as they already receive similar support through EiC.

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