Early Years and School

Impact of COVID-19 on Attainment data

Statutory assessments for Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP), Key Stages 1 and 2 were cancelled in both 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. GCSE grades were awarded to pupils based on centre assessed grades. The Department for Education (DfE) was clear that those results were not to be used for school accountability and have not been aggregated nor published.

As a result, the latest available data for all key stages is 2019 and that has been used below.

Early Years

Ninety-four percent of three and four year old children are taking up some funded early education, as are 70.1% of eligible two year olds (average take-up 2020/21 academic year) which is slightly higher than the national rate of 69%.

The Foundation Stage assessment measures a child’s development and achievement at the end of their Reception year. The three prime areas assessed cover communication and language; physical development; and personal, social and emotional development. In 2019, there were only small differences between the Wakefield district and regional (70%) and national (72%) averages, and a total of 71% of children were determined to have achieved a good level of development.

Key Stage 2

In 2018/19, attainment levels were slightly below the England average. A lower proportion of boys than girls reached the expected standard in reading, writing and maths and pupils for whom English is not their first language lagged behind other pupils (across England as a whole there was almost no difference). Disadvantaged pupils were less likely to reach the expected standard than other pupils, and this gap was larger than that seen across England as a whole (see tables below).

Key Stage 2 headline performance 2018/19. Source: Department for Education

Percent of pupils reaching expected standard in reading, writing and maths by pupil characteristics, 2018/19. Source: Department for Education

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

New Key Stage 4 attainment measures were introduced in 2015/16. The ‘Attainment 8’ score reflects GCSE performance in English, maths, three other English Baccalaureate subjects, plus three other GCSEs (or approved equivalents). The ‘Progress 8’ measure reflects the progress made in these subjects between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4. In 2018/19, attainment levels were slightly below the England average. Within the cohort of pupils, girls did better than boys and pupils whose first language is not English did slightly better than those for whom English is their first language. Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds did markedly less well than other pupils, the difference being very similar to the picture nationally (see tables below).

Key Stage 4 headline performance 2018/19. Source: Department for Education

Average Attainment 8 score per by pupil characteristics, 2018/19. Source: Department for Education

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer exam series for the 2020/21 academic year was cancelled.

Instead, for 2020/21, pupils were only assessed on the content they had been taught for each course. Schools were given flexibility to decide how to assess their pupils’ performance, for example, through mock exams, class tests, and non-exam assessment already completed. GCSE grades were then determined by teachers based on the range of evidence available and they are referred to as teacher-assessed grades, or TAGs.

This is a different process to that of 2019/20 when pupils were awarded either a centre assessment grade (known as CAGs, based on what the school or college believed the pupil would most likely have achieved had exams gone ahead) or their calculated grade using a model developed by Ofqual – whichever was the higher of the two.

The changes to the way GCSE grades have been awarded over the last two years (with CAGs and TAGs replacing exams) mean 2020/21 pupil attainment data should not be directly compared to pupil attainment data from previous years for the purposes of measuring year on year changes in pupil performance.

Key Stage 4 headline performance 2020/21. Source: Department for Education

Average Attainment 8 score per by pupil characteristics, 2020/21. Source: Department for Education

School Inspections

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages, including the district’s maintained primary and secondary schools and academies.

At the end of June 2021, 81% of the district’s primary schools were rated by Ofsted as good or outstanding, as were 78% of the district’s 18 secondary schools. Across England as a whole the Ofsted good/outstanding inspection performance is 88% for primary schools and 76% for secondary schools.

There was a step-change in performance in June 2018 when Ofsted applied a slightly different methodology that affected the total number of schools (denominator) used in the percentage calculation. Source: Ofsted

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