Pupils in Walsall below national average
Pupils in Walsall are still performing below the national average despite improvements in key areas, new data has revealed.
The ‘Primary and secondary school educational attainment for 2018’ report highlights how pupils across different age groups have achieved better results in reading, writing and maths compared with the previous year.
But many are still lagging behind national averages while neighbouring authorities are also outperforming Walsall in some areas.
Further concern for education bosses will be the results of children who are either receiving free school meals, are in care or who have special educational needs with significant gaps between their performances and the achievements of their less disadvantaged peers across all age groups.
An action plan to address the issues has been drawn up and help bring about further improvements.
The key statistics show that Early Years Foundation stage pupils achieving a ‘good level of development’ rose by two per cent to 68 per cent. This leaves Walsall four per cent below the national average.
It also shows that for Key Stage 1, 73 per cent met the expected standard in reading compared with the 75 per cent national; 65 per cent in writing compared with the 70 per cent national and 74 per cent in maths – two per cent below the national.
There is positive news with the percentage of pupils passing the Year 1 phonics screening test increased by three per cent to 83 per cent – putting Walsall one per cent higher than the national average and two per cent above statistical neighbours.
At Key Stage 2, 61 per cent of seven to 11-year-olds met the expected standard for reading, writing and maths combined – a rise of eight per cent from last year but still three per cent below the national average.
At GCSE level, 57 per cent of students achieved the new standard pass Grade 4 or above in English and maths – two below both the national average and statistical neighbours’ average.
And at A-level, the average point score in Walsall declined slightly from 29.34 to 29.01.
Among the strategies to address issues, the council has implemented a ‘schools causing concern’ protocol from September 2018 to monitor, challenge and intervene where necessary.
Other measures include regular meetings with Ofsted and sharing good practice with neighbouring authorities.
Connie Beirne, the council’s head of service of education standards and improvement, said: “Walsall’s newly implemented Strategic Education and Inclusion Board sets out the goal of ambitious but realistic targets for our young people.
“Schools performance and those of concern will continue to be reported upon through the schools causing concern procedures implemented in September 2018.”
By Gurdip Thandi.