The report concludes that the proportion of classes in which standards in English are satisfactory or better has improved steadily, from around 80% in 1994-95 to around 90% currently. Improvements in pupils' standards of achievement are most discernible in KS2, especially in Y6 and, to a lesser extent, in Y5. However, despite these gains towards the end of KS2, the report indicates that progress towards increasing the amount of good work continues to be slow overall in both KS1 and KS2. The report also notes the general improvements in attainments in NC assessments, particularly at the end of KS2, where the proportion of pupils achieving the level of performance expected of the majority (level 4) has increased significantly over the last three years. However, in Y3 and Y4 classes there is frequently a failure to build effectively on pupils' achievements at the end of KS1.
The report states that the overall performance of boys as a group is significantly weaker than that of girls and that the gap in their achievements increases as they get older. The report identifies the factors that have led to improvements in standards and highlights issues warranting further attention.
Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales, Susan Lewis, commented: 'It is good to be able to record the general improvements in attainment, but the report underlines the continued challenge for primary schools to raise standards in English. The proportion of classes in which standards are judged to be satisfactory or better has improved, particularly towards the end of KS2, but progress towards increasing the amount of good work continues to be slow overall in both key stages. The relatively low proportion of good work in Y3 and Y4 and the continuing relative under-performance of boys indicate clearly that there is little room for complacency and that much still needs to be done.