1. ITV Report

1 in 4 children in the East 'fail' new grammar test

28% of children in the East of England failed to met expectation in the new primary school grammar test. Photo: ITV News Anglia

Primary schools across the East of England fell below the national average in the Government's new national spelling, punctuation and grammar test. Children aged 10 and 11 took the test for the first time in the spring term.

In the East of England, 72% of children reached the expected level in the test compared to 74% across England. In Norfolk, the figure was 67% which was among the lowest percentage of any area of the country.

The percentage of children reaching the expected level in the new spelling, punctuation and grammar test varied from place to place across the Anglia region:

  • Bedford - 70%
  • Cambridgeshire - 71%
  • Central Bedfordshire - 69%
  • Essex - 74%
  • Hertfordshire - 79%
  • Luton - 72%
  • Lincolnshire - 72%
  • Milton Keynes - 75%
  • Norfolk - 67%
  • Northamptonshire - 71%
  • Peterborough - 68%
  • Southend - 72%
  • Suffolk - 68%
  • Thurrock - 71%
The government says the new grammar test encourages schools to focus on the basics.

"The figures show the majority of children are performing well and they, along with their parents and teachers, should be congratulated for their achievements.

However, the statistics also reveal that 1 in 4 children is leaving primary school without a firm grasp of spelling, punctuation and grammar. The new test encourages schools to focus on these basics."

– Liz Truss, Education Minister and SW Norfolk MP

Teaching unions have criticised the introduction of the new test. The National Union of Teachers said the test along with a new phonics reading test for 5 and 6-year-old were "unnecessary and harmful because they test children's skills out of context."

The new grammar test results were released at the same time as other primary school results in maths, reading, writing and science.

Primary results in the East were below the national average in reading, maths and science Credit: ITV News Anglia

The East of England results were below the national average in reading, maths and science. In reading, 85% of primary children reached the expected level in the East compared with 86% nationally. In maths, it was 83% compared with 84% nationally and in science, 87% compared with 88%.

The National Association of Head Teachers said the improvement in primary school results was down to sustained hard work of teachers and pupils but sounded a warning about the amount of change the education system is going through.

"Schools and families deserve recognition for their outstanding efforts to get so many of our children to the required level, even in the face of so much change and turmoil. It is important not to lose ground on this positive trend, however, by imposing yet more change in our assessment and accountability measures."

– Russell Hobby, General Secretary, National Association of Head Teachers