Provisional figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) have shown that only 53% of year 6 pupils have met the new expected standards in reading, writing and maths.

80% of students met the required standard last year across all three subjects. The DfE has stressed the 53% result from this year were “not comparable to test results from previous years” because they’re part of a “tougher” curriculum and a new marking standard.

A DfE source said: “These results show that our children and teachers are capable of achieving the higher standards we expect of them and vindicate the reforms introduced by Michael Gove and continued by Nicky Morgan.

“While previous governments were happy to celebrate ever higher results at the expense of declining standards, these bold secretaries of state have taken the important decision to prioritise our children’s future ahead of short-term political wins.”

Head teachers argued the results should not have been made public because they label pupils as “failures”.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said the results were not ‘representative’ of the hard work of pupils or the quality of education provided by their teachers. He said, “Parents and teachers already know that assessment this year has been chaotic and confusing. Fortunately, schools will be able to interpret these results for individual families and children in end of term reports but at a national level, it’s clear that this data is meaningless.”

Nicky Morgan, the Education Secretary, said: “This is the first year we have assessed pupils under the new more rigorous system and it is no surprise that this year’s results look different to previous years, but despite that the majority of pupils have achieved above and beyond the new expected standard.”

Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said: “The primary school curriculum has been reformed and the SATs tests made tougher this year, with the commendable aim of giving the children a better start in life.

“But something clearly isn’t right if half the children are suffering the disappointment of failing to meet expected standards.

“We need to find out whether the demands being made on schools are too great, or whether they need to raise their game considerably.”

We want to know your opinions – what do you think of the new primary testing standards?

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