Poorest primary children are closing the gap on their wealthier peers


The test results for more than half a million 11-year-olds (key stage 2) show 74% of pupils receiving free school meals (FSM) achieved the expected level (level 4) or above in maths compared to 87% of all other pupils.

However, the attainment gap between FSM pupils and their peers continues to narrow - by 3 percentage points since 2011 when children first started receiving the pupil premium.

Disadvantaged pupils, those eligible for FSM in the past 6 years or looked-after children, also showed improvement with the number achieving level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths increasing by 2 percentage points to 63% in 2013. The attainment gap also fell by 1 percentage point.

This year, primary schools where fewer than 60% of pupils achieved at least the expected level (level 4) in the reading test, the maths test and the teacher assessment of writing, and which were below the progress measures in all these subjects, are below the floor standard.

The standard is more challenging than last year, because pupils have to achieve at least level 4 in maths, and both reading and writing, not just in English overall.

This year 767 primary schools are below the floor.

Last year 834 primaries would have been below the floor had the floor been the same as this year.

Schools Minister David Laws said: “It is encouraging to see that the attainment gap continues to narrow between the worst off and their peers but there is more work to be done.

"These figures show a number of local authorities with unacceptable levels of attainment for poorer pupils. Schools in these areas must do better."

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