Q2. How well do pupils achieve in science and maths and what is the trend over time for achievement?

Why this is important

Science, maths and English are core subjects at primary school level. Pupil achievement in all three subjects is vital because they provide foundational skills and knowledge essential for all children to thrive and make sense of the world they live.

One of the governing board’s core functions is to hold the headteacher to account for educational performance of the school and its pupils. To do this effectively and to be in a position to identify strengths and weaknesses, governors need to know how well pupils are achieving over time.


Chart 1 below shows the percentage of pupils achieving at least level 4 and at least level 5 in statutory tests for maths and in national sampling tests for science between 2007 and 2012.43

More information on the results achieved, separated by gender, can be found in the benchmarks for Q3.

Chart 1

Chart 1

Chart 2 shows the percentage of pupils at level 4 or above between 2007 and 2013 according to teacher assessment.

Chart 2

Chart 2

Teacher assessment is a different kind of measure from statutory or sampling tests, involving ongoing assessment and monitoring as opposed to a single written test; this means that percentages of pupils deemed to be achieving each level will tend to differ between these different types of assessment, as reflected by the different patterns seen in Charts 1 and 2.

Ideas for improvement

School governors should be aware of the whole-school improvement strategy developed by school leaders and subject leaders, which is designed to maximise the achievement of pupils.

You can:

  • use the FFT Governor Dashboard to get a full picture of achievement in your school
  • ask for internal data from teacher assessments throughout the year, and use this to monitor how well pupils are progressing. If pupils are not making expected progress, you should ask the headteacher why this is, and what is being done about it.

Most importantly, school leaders should ensure that adequate time is given to the teaching of both science and maths in all years, so that pupils can be taught a broad and balanced curriculum.

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