Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “We have learned today that only 53 per cent of children have met the new expected standard in reading, writing and maths.
“The government has decided that nearly half of pupils have failed at the end of their primary education. This is not representative of the quality of their education, nor of the hard work pupils have put in this year.
“Parents and teachers already know that assessment this year has been chaotic and confusing. It will be impossible for parents not to compare this year’s percentage with last year and not to worry that the new, higher expectations mean that their children appear to have performed worse than children in previous years.
“It is not just that these results cannot be compared to previous years. They cannot be compared to each other.
“The floor standard is untenable in 2016. The floor standard defines unacceptably poor attainment. It is set at 65%, well above the average performance. The majority of schools will be below the floor, labelled by their government as failures. In reality, they have given their all and performed brilliantly in the face of adversity.
“Fortunately, schools will be able to interpret these results for individual families and children in end of term reports but at a national level, it’s clear that this data is meaningless.
“NAHT’s members have also experienced severe variations in the ways in which pupils’ work was moderated, meaning that the reliability of this part of the assessment process should also be called into question.
“The Secretary of State has stressed that this data should not be compared to last year. The simplest way to guarantee that this doesn’t happen is to not publish the data for 2016 in league tables. However, the government still insists on making the results public, even though it is clear that it’s not useful for parents to judge either how good a school is or how well their child is performing.
“It would be irresponsible to hold schools to account on the basis of this data.
“Assessment is a vital part of the education system but yet again, it will fall to schools to make sense of the chaos and confusion that the government could have avoided if it had listened to the profession when the reforms were being planned.”
First published 15 December 2017