Increase in number of Sunderland’s five-year-olds hitting school targets

Figures have been released highlighting the level of development of five-year-olds in school. Picture by PA Archive/PA Images
Figures have been released highlighting the level of development of five-year-olds in school. Picture by PA Archive/PA Images
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More five-year-olds in Sunderland achieved a good level of development in 2017, according to standards set by the Department for Education.

Over the last school year, 70.5% of the pupils reached this standard in the early years assessment, up from 68.2% in 2016. The average rate for England was 69%.

The department benchmark for children with a “good level of development” is to achieve the minimum expected level in five of the seven areas assessed.

These are personal, social and emotional development, physical development, communication and language, mathematics and literacy.

The evaluation is made by the teacher in the final term of Reception.

The subject where most pupils met the minimum expected score in Sunderland was physical development. About 89.6% of the pupils hit the mark.

The lowest level of achievement was in literacy – 75.9% of pupils met the Government’s minimum required mark.

The topic where children improved their rate of success the most was understanding of the world, where 87.2% met the level expected, up from 73.8% in 2016.

A total of 3,271 pupils were evaluated in Sunderland in 2017, 1,633 girls and 1,638 boys.

The average mark across all the areas assessed was 34.8, out of a possible 51.

In England, the average mark was 34.5 in 2017.

Girls in Sunderland did better than boys, scoring on average three more points.

Rosamund McNeil, assistant general secretary at the National Education Union, considered the assessment positive in terms of helping teachers and parents know more about children’s capabilities.

She said: “The purpose of this assessment is to gather information and help teachers plan the next stage for that child.

“Practitioners are really supportive of it and they are very worried because they feel the Government does not like it because it is not just limited to numeracy and literacy.”

Commenting on the better performance by girls, she added: “Gender is one of the factors, but not critical at this stage.

“You also have to take into account that 20% of the kids may have some additional need and it really matters which month in the year children were born.

“Every child develops at a different pace from the age of three to 18, and that is something that everybody has to understand.”