Primary Schools Pupils to be Ranked by Ability
According to a new Government proposal, primary school children will be ranked against their peers in order to boost standards in primary schools. Children aged eleven would sit tests and subsequently be placed in 10% ability bands on a national scale, with parents being updated as to their child’s ranking. The plans, set out by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, are coupled with a £625 payment designed to increase the funding spent on helping primary school aged children from poorer backgrounds.
According to Mr Clegg, the new ranking system will improve the standards of primary schools and prepare children adequately for secondary school. “Every primary school should strive to make its pupils ready for secondary school by the time they leave,” he said. “All the evidence shows that if you start behind, you stay behind. A better start at secondary school is a better start in life. I make no apology for having high ambitions for our pupils. But for children to achieve their potential we need to raise the bar – in terms of tests, pass marks and minimum standards.” The tests are designed to cover a range of subjects and topics including maths, reading, punctuation, writing and grammar.
The new initiative has received a mixed response from parents. Some parents welcome the proposal as they feel it allows them to accurately monitor the progress of the child. Parents will have a clearer picture of the level their child is working at and can focus on helping the child in his/her weaker areas. Improved standards will also provide children with all the necessary skills before moving to secondary skills. On the other hand, a number of parents are strongly opposed to the scheme. They feel the ranking system puts a high level of pressure on children and can lead children to think they have already failed by the age of eleven. Not only can the scheme shatter the confidence of young children, it also dooms children dealing with some form of special needs to failure.