The beginning of September saw the release of Key Stage 2 attainment data for the academic year 21/22. The DfE data release highlighted the widening gap between disadvantaged pupils and other children.
All regions saw a decline in the percentage of pupils reaching the expected standard in reading, writing, and maths this year, compared with 2018/19. The North East has consistently come second in reaching expected standards, behind only London (59% and 65% in 21/22 respectively). However, the gap between London and the North East has increased, from 4% in 2018/19 to 6% in 2021/22. Prior to 2018/19, the gap had only been 2%.
This mirrors the similar patterns we saw with A-Level and GCSE results this summer. The worrying trends on the disadvantage gap in attainment appear to have been exacerbated by the unequal impact of the pandemic, at all stages of education.
In the Levelling Up White Paper and Schools White Paper, the government set out its mission to ‘level up’ education, with a target for 90% of primary school children to achieve the expected standard in KS2 reading, writing and maths by 2030.
While North East schools perform above the national average at KS2, it is clear that all regions are far from achieving the government’s ambitions. If the government is serious about ‘levelling up’ education, then it is crucial that schools have a properly thought through and resourced ‘recovery’ plan.
Support provided so far has been welcome, but has been insufficient to meet the needs of schools in the North East, and across the country, especially those working with the most disadvantaged students.
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