Last week, the Department for Education (DfE) released data on the phonics and Key Stage 1 attainment of pupils in England for 2023. The DfE's data reveals that although attainment has increased this year compared to 2022, it is still below pre-pandemic levels.
The Phonics Screening Check (PSC) measures a child’s grasp of phonics and is a review of the knowledge learned throughout reception and year 1. Pupils take the PSC at the end of year 1, typically aged 6. Those who do not meet the expected standard take the check again at the end of year 2, typically aged 7. Pupils are assessed at the end of key stage 1 (year 2) in reading, writing, maths, and science.
In year 1, 79% of pupils met the expected standard, an increase from the 75% figure of last year. By the end of year 2, 89% of pupils demonstrated the required level of proficiency, up from 87% in 2022. Key Stage 1 attainment data shows promising improvements across all subjects (reading, writing, maths and science) rising by an average of 2% compared to 2022.
While this improvement is welcome, a shortfall in attainment on pre-pandemic levels still needs to be addressed. In 2018, 82% of pupils met the required standard in year 1, increasing to 92% in year 2.
Interestingly, the attainment of disadvantaged pupils has increased more in 2023 than that of other pupils across the board, closing the disadvantage attainment gap.
We should celebrate this achievement, as it demonstrates the effectiveness of targeted interventions put in place over the last three years, such as the DfE’s National Tutoring Programme. Despite adverse media coverage, the Programme, aimed at the most disadvantaged, has delivered 3,843,370 hours of tuition, with 47.9% of those tutees eligible for free school meals and 27.8% having special educational needs.
Protocol Education has delivered tuition to more than 18,000 children as part of this programme, 42% of whom were eligible for pupil premium and 16% with an Education, Health, and Care Plan.
As we celebrate the progress made, it is important to note that end of Key Stage 1 assessments will become non-statutory starting from the 2023/24 academic year. This means that schools will have more flexibility in how they assess their pupils' progress. However, the publication of the PSC data will continue beyond this point, allowing us to keep track of the phonics journey.
It is heartening to see the dedication of educators and the progress of our young learners. If you are a teacher or school leader looking to support learning and ensure sustained progress for your pupils, Protocol Education is here to help. Contact us today to discuss our intervention packages designed to support phonics and Key Stage 1 improvement, further empowering your pupils on their educational journey.
Remember, while attainment data is one measure of success, every pupil's individual progress and growth are equally important. Let us continue to inspire a love for learning and create an inclusive education system that nurtures the potential of all our children.