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Teachers to vote on call to scrap end of year primary exams

Key Stage 1 and 2 exams to test primary students are due to come into force in the summer Credit: Dave Thompson/PA

Teachers are set to vote today over calls to scrap proposed end of year exams for primary school students.

Members of the National Union of Teachers will vote at their spring conference in Brighton on whether to call on Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to cancel planned Key Stage 1 and 2 exams, due to come into force in the summer.

According to the union the exams are "age-inappropriate" and a survey of its members found 86% of primary school teachers believed there would be "chaos surrounding implementation" of the exams.


Councils face squeeze on primary school places

In some areas four and five-year-olds will not got the place they wanted at a primary school. Credit: Thomas Eisenhuth/DPA/PA Images

A Press Association survey of local councils suggests that in some areas around one in 10 youngsters have not been offered their first choice of primary school, while in others, the figure is around one in six.

More than 500,000 four and five-year-olds are finding out today where they will be attending primary school from this September.

Initial figures show that in Kirklees, 90.4% of youngsters have got their first place, along with 90% in Oldham.

In East Sussex, 84.68% got their first choice, while in Southampton the percentage was 85.4%.

And in Kent it was 85.81% - this was up from 84.9% of infants in the county who got their top preference last year.

The results below show the proportion of children in each area of England who have secured a place at their first preference of primary school for September:

  • East Sussex - 84.68%
  • Southampton - 85.4%
  • Kent - 85.81%
  • Solihull - 87%
  • Manchester - 87.3%
  • Brighton & Hove - 87.8%
  • Leicester - 88%
  • Sandwell - 88.45%
  • Leicestershire - 88.7%
  • Wigan - 88.7%
  • Sheffield - 89.69%
  • Oldham - 90%
  • Kirklees - 90.4%

Parents await news on primary school placements

500,000 four and five-year-olds will find out where they will be going to primary school. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Families across England will find out today whether their child has been placed at their preferred primary school as concerns grow over 'supersized' classes.

Councils will send out details of where more than half a million four and five-year-olds will be attending school from this September.

But while for many parents 'National Offer Day' will bring joy and relief, others are set to experience disappointment.

A continuing squeeze on places - particularly at primary level - fuelled in part by a rising birth rate in recent years, combined with the effect of immigration in some areas - means that some parts of England are still struggling to accommodate every child.

Patrick Leeson of Kent County Council said: "Our schools admissions team has been working hard, as usual, to ensure that as many pupils as possible get a school from among their preferred choices and we are pleased to see that the number of both first and second choices has increased.

"However, we will not lose sight of the fact that four per cent of pupils have not been given a school from their preferences.

"While many will secure places through waiting lists and reallocation, I am aware that this will be a difficult time and we will do what we can to offer a good outcome.

Last year, 87.7% of youngsters were were awarded a place at their first-choice school, according to national figures for England, indicating that about 76,600 children lost out on their top pick.

Academy status for weak schools 'best for pupils'

The best action for primary schools that are "not stepping up to the mark" is for them to be taken over by academy sponsors, according to the Department for Education.

Schools with a long history of under-performance, and who are not stepping up to the mark, will be taken over by an academy sponsor.

The expertise and strong leadership provided by sponsors is the best way to turn around weak schools and give pupils there the best chance of a first-class education.

– Department for Education spokesman

Despite DfE findings that 767 schools are failing to meet the Government's new tougher targets, the data suggested that overall primary schools are improving.

Last year 834 primaries would have fallen below the new standards.

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