North East children exceed national expectations at Key Stage Two

Children in the North East are outperforming the rest of the country by the time they leave primary school, new figures show

Dave Thompson/PA Wire First school children in class
First school children in class

Children across the North East are exceeding the standards expected of them by the time they leave primary school, new figures show.

For decades, performance in national curriculum tests, known as Sats, showed our children falling behind the national average.

But this year’s Key Stage Two results show an improvement in the proportion of 11-year-olds gaining at least a level 4, the standard expected in reading writing and maths.

In the North East, 79% of youngsters achieved this level or higher in all three of the subjects tested - which puts them a percentage point higher than the national average.

Attainment has improved across every North East local authority, with the region as a whole up from 75% two years ago.

This has been a ‘steady and consistent recovery’ for the region’s primary schools over the last 20 years or more, according to Gateshead MP Ian Mearns.

Simon Hobson Ian Mearns MP for Gateshead
Ian Mearns MP for Gateshead

The Labour MP, who is also a member of the Education Select Committee, said: “For a number of years, North East children were well below the national average in achieving the standards expected of them in the three Rs.

“The year before I became chair of the education committee in Gateshead in 1992, Gateshead had less than 30% of its under-achievers getting five good GCSE grades.

“Now, schools are in line with the national average and slightly above.

“The region’s progression has been over a long period of time but it also shows that improvements in our schools are sustainable.

“Considering our socio-economic background, these results are quite outstanding.

“Improvements in our schools is also a driver for employment and business because people want to live where there are good schools and children are performing well.”

Youngsters gaining Level 4 or above in reading, writing and maths tests at KS2 was highest in Gateshead, with 80% achieving the standards expected of them.

This is closely followed by children in County Durham and Northumberland who achieved 79% and then Newcastle with 78%.

Key Stage Two results in the North East


Children achieving level 4 or higher in reading, writing and maths


Eleven-year-olds gaining at least a level four in the three Rs in North Tyneside is 77%, while in South Tyneside the proportion is 75%.

School Reform Minister Nick Gibb said around 80,000 more children were reaching Level 4 in reading, writing and maths, than five years ago.

“It means in the long term these children stand a far better chance of winning a place at university, gaining an apprenticeship and securing good jobs,” Mr Gibb said.

“We have set unashamedly high expectations for all children, introduced a new test in the basics of punctuation, spelling and grammar, and removed calculators from maths tests.

“Our education system is beginning to show the first fruits of our plan for education, helping to prepare young people for life in modern Britain.

“There is more to do but teachers and pupils deserve huge credit for such outstanding results.”


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