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Criticism as SATS results in Derby and Derbyshire fall after two-year test gap

today6 September 2022 1

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Test results for 11-year-olds across the country, including in Derby and Derbyshire have fallen dramatically according to the provisional results published by the Government today. They show that in Derby, just over half (53%) of children achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths for pupils of their age, compared to 2019 – the last time SATs (Statutory Assessment Tests) were taken.

The Covid pandemic put paid to the exams being taken in 2020 and 2021 and the children taking them this year experienced disruption to their learning at the end of years four and in year five. In Derbyshire primary and junior schools, 56% of pupils gained the expected level in reading , writing and maths – down from 64% in 2019.

Nationally, the average was 59% down from 65% three years ago. The newly-published figures also show that the results gap between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged pupils has increased from 2.91 in 2019 to 3.21 in 2022. The results will be ratified over the next three months and the confirmed figures will be published in December.

Meanwhile, the Department for Education has also been forced to concede that thousands of thousands of SATs papers are still missing, leaving hundreds of pupils without marks as they start secondary school. It is estimated that more than ten times as many papers have gone missing than in any other recent years, with more than 2,000 lost scripts impacting more than 500 schools – it has not been revealed which schools are affected.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “As expected, today’s data shows a wider attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils. As the government themselves suggest in their analysis, this is most likely a reflection of the impact of the pandemic, the impact of which was felt more greatly for disadvantaged families and children.

“Schools are currently under unprecedented financial pressure due to the cost of living, which is forcing cuts to teaching and support staff that directly impacts the most disadvantaged and high needs pupils. The Government cannot sit back and let this second massive blow to disadvantaged pupils hit. In five years’ time these same students will be sitting their GCSEs – only through proper investment in education can we expect to see an improved picture then.

“Regarding the missing papers, we know that hundreds of pupils do not have results for the tests they sat, which is simply unacceptable. It also leaves many primary schools with incomplete results that could skew their data.

“Schools are held to incredibly high standards when it comes to handling SATs papers; the threat of maladministration looms at every step in the process. The Government must be held to the same standard. We need a full investigation into what went wrong this year, so that we can be absolutely assured it will not happen again.”

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