Swindon’s primary schools make giant strides in Key Stage 2 performance

Primary schools in Swindon are among the most improved in the country following the publication of provisional Key Stage 2 data.

Last year, 46 per cent of 11 year olds in the borough achieved the required standard in reading, writing and maths compared to the national average of 53 per cent.

The statistics, which were highlighted by Ofsted last year, were attributed to the introduction of a new writing assessment with Swindon schools interpreting government guidance very strictly.

But the hard work of teaching staff in primary schools across the borough has resulted in a marked upturn in results.

The latest provisional figures published by the Department for Education (DfE) show that Swindon schools are now on a par with the national average with 61 per cent of 11 year olds now reaching the required standards in reading, writing and maths. The borough’s schools have moved up 78 places in the provisional league tables for all authorities in this key measure.

The increase in the figures has been due to the hard work of primary school staff and governors, the sharing of best practice between schools, support from education advisors and governor support staff and the fact that teachers have adjusted to the new system.

Earlier this year, education leaders in Swindon set out their bold vision for improving educational outcomes in the town’s schools through the launch of a new strategy.

The Swindon Challenge Board aims to ensure excellence underpins all education provision in Swindon and brings together key stakeholders in education including the Regional Schools’ Commissioner, headteachers, the teaching schools, governors, local businesses and senior council leaders. Ofsted also has observer status to the board.

Improving educational opportunities and attainment forms part of Swindon Borough Council’s Priorities and Pledges, and the Council has set aside £600,000 over the next three years to help achieve the outcomes set out in the Swindon Challenge strategy with the funding being used by schools to access a range of expertise and training designed to help raise school attainment.

Cllr Fionuala Foley, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and School Attainment, said: “Although the provisional results published by the DfE should be treated with some caution at this stage, they paint a very encouraging picture.

“We always felt our Key Stage 2 results in writing were particularly out of kilter last year due to the new national assessment and that had a major impact on our overall figure for the three performance indicators.

“If these results are validated, it will put us back in line with the national average and will be a big tonic for our hard working primary teachers and staff. They do an incredible job and I would like to thank every one of them for continuing to give our young people the best possible start in their journey through education.”