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While Kent's Key Stage 2 are getting better, Medway's took a dip this year putting the Towns at the bottom of the national table

By Lizzie Massey

Medway got the country’s worst set of Key Stage 2 results, according to government statistics released today.

Attainment levels for all subjects range between 1 and 5, with 1 being the lowest. The tests a marker of primary school standards, being taken by 10 and 11-year-olds in Year 6.

And while nationally and in Kent the number of primary school children getting level 4s and 5s in their tests is on the rise - in the Towns it took a hit.

Exam stock picture

Exam stock picture

Just 73% of pupils got their level 4, compared to 80% in Kent and nationally.

It puts Medway below last year's performance of 75%.

The drop is due to a huge crash in performances from the boys.

As usual girls out-performed the boys, but the difference was more drastic this year, with just 69% of boys achieving the level 4 compared to 76% of girls - which was actually the same percentage as the previous year.

Only Poole was on a par with Medway’s 73%, putting the Towns right at the bottom of the country's league tables.

Cllr Mike O’Brien, Medway Council’s head of Children’s Services, today promised to take appropriate action - and warned teachers and governors to "shape up or ship out." 

Cllr Mike O'Brien, cabinet member, children's services Medway Council

Cllr Mike O'Brien, cabinet member, children's services Medway Council

"The reality is I'm bitterly disappointed with the results," he said. "The information we had been given previously indicated this wasn't going to be the case."

Cllr O'Brien said there had been huge variations, within Medway, in Key Stage 2 results this year and there was not one common reason why.

He added: "It doesn't reflect the fantastic individual success we've had at A level and GSCE.

"We've got some fantastic schools in Medway. We've got fantastic heads and fantastic teachers - but unfortunately we've got some that are letting the side down.

"I will be writing to the governing bodies of poorly performing schools to ask what they're doing to improve. The governors are responsible.

"We've worked tremendously hard with all of our schools and the results are not there.

Asked if some responsibility should be shouldered by the LEA, he said: "We've given them leadership - the reality is the schools are run by the governing bodies and it's the governors that recruit the teachers. I'm an ex-teacher but I can't go round a thousand-odd classrooms myself."

He added: “We have high aspirations for our children and we will do our upmost to ensure that schools give them the very best start in life.”

Key Stage Two exam results have been released. Stock image.

Key Stage Two exam results have been released. Stock image.

Others said the Conservative council had to accept responsibility.

Cllr Adam Price, Medway Labour's spokesperson for Young People said "What is most galling is the small level of improvement in 2014 has been lost, at a time where the Tory Cabinet has deleted the cabinet post for School Improvement. 

"The cabinet need to look long and hard as to whether they are doing all they can and if deleting the portfolio holder of School Improvement is sensible at a time where Medway is once again bottom of the class."

Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour Leader added: "Many areas across the country have seen further progress in reaching level 4 in primary schools. 
 
"The fact that Conservative Controlled Medway Council is not only the worst in the country but have actually gone backwards in the last 12 months says to me there needs to be some fundamental change when it comes to the issue of primary education and the cabinet."  
 
"They have chosen to scrap the post of School Improvement portfolio, but increase the cabinet overall by two, at a time where on this measure we have gone backwards. It shows complete disrespect to parents, pupils and professionals that there isn't a greater focus."

The percentage of pupils getting level 5 stayed the same as last year at 19%, but while the ratio of girls achieving that actually improved, the boys dipped again.

It was also down against Kent’s success with 25% getting the grade and 24% nationally.

Other plans may include:

  • An accelerated Year 6 programme bringing in some of the best teachers to poor performing schools to speed up learning
  • Referring academies that under-achieve to the regional schools commissioner
  • Issue warning notices to governing bodies so they tell us exactly what they are going to do to improve the situation
 

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