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
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
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.