A testing time for Peterborough pupils

As you may be aware, schools and pupils across Peterborough have entered the busy exam period, writes Jonathan Lewis, service director for education in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire.

Saturday, 18th May 2019, 6:55 am
Pupils taking exams

I recently wrote to all the heads thanking them for their hard work and commitment to supporting children and young people at their schools to get them to this point.

School staff have put in a phenomenal amount of effort and dedication over many years to ensure children are best placed for transition onto the next stage of their education.

Many readers will be familiar with the types of exams being taken, such as GCSEs and A-Levels, having sat them themselves.

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But not everyone will be familiar with Key Stage 2 or SATs exams, as they are commonly known, which were only introduced in the mid-90s.

For these exams, children coming towards the end of Year 6 sit tests in reading, maths and spelling, punctuation and grammar. They cover four days and started on Monday and finished on Thursday.

These tests are both set and marked externally, and the results are used to measure the school’s performance (for example, through reporting to Ofsted and published league tables).

The papers are marked externally, with no teacher assessment involved. Each child receives a raw score (though you probably won’t be given it as a parent), a scaled score, and confirmation of whether or not they achieved the national standard (‘NS’ means the expected standard was not achieved; ‘AS’ means the expected standard was achieved).

The range of scaled scores available for each KS2 test ranges from 80, the lowest possible scaled score, to 120, the highest possible scaled score.

A scaled score of 100 or more means that the child has met the expected standard in each KS2 SATs test; a scaled score of 99 or less means they haven’t reached the government-expected standard.

Finally, here’s a question from a previous maths Key Stage 2 paper, with the answer at the end of the column.

Q: If a cat sleeps for 12 hours each day, then 50 per cent of its life is spent asleep. A koala sleeps for 18 hours each day – how much of its life is spent asleep?

From the 2019/20 academic year onwards all schools in England will be required to administer an online multiplication tables check for year 4 pupils.

The national curriculum specifies that pupils should be taught to recall the multiplication tables up to and including 12 × 12 by the end of year 4.

The purpose of the multiplication tables is to determine whether pupils can recall their times tables fluently, which is essential for future success in mathematics.

Moving on to another area of education now, as a council we are keen to promote apprenticeships.

Not everyone wants to go into further education and apprenticeships are a great way of learning practical skills firsthand which can open up a career path.

In 2017 the government introduced an apprenticeship levy to improve the quality and quantity of apprenticeships in England.

The scheme is already making a real difference and locally there have been several success stories.

The Ken Stimpson school for example, have almost spent their total levy payments but the council will continue to support future apprentices, regardless of how much levy is in the school’s pot.

They are a great example of how a school can utilise the levy to develop their pupils’ skillsets, giving them opportunities they might otherwise struggle to obtain. A big well done!

A: 75 per cent