School system ‘unrecognisable’ compared to a generation ago, says Nick Gibb

As parents discover where their children have been offered primary school places, the school standards minister has praised the state of education

Nick Gibb, the school standards minister, has been outspoken about his confidence regarding primary schools as parents discover where their children have been offered places.

He stated that the school system is ‘unrecognisable’ compared to a generation ago.

With 87% of primary schools now judged good or outstanding, compared to 67% in 2010, Gibb said parents should be reassured that their children will be getting a good education as standards continue to rise.

Last year, 97.7% of primary pupils were offered one of their top three choices, while 91% of were offered their first choice of primary school. These numbers have been gradually improving since 2014.

Gibb said: “Any school place offer day is a big event for families, but parents should be reassured that the improvement in the school system means that they would probably find the schools themselves unrecognisable from a generation ago.

“The curriculum has been revitalised, the phonics check is helping thousands of six-year-olds become fluent readers, the Teaching for Mastery programme means many pupils are being taught maths using world leading techniques and the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers is falling.

“What this means in practice is that even in instances where parents aren’t getting the news they hoped for today, the likelihood is that their child will be attending a school which will provide a first-class education.

“Standards have risen since 2010 with 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools. As of December 2018, 85% of schools were judged to this standard, compared to 68% in 2010.”

The attainment gap between disadvantaged students and their peers has also narrowed since 2011 and there have been notable improvements in Key Stage 2 achievement.

To ensure every child has access to a good school place, the government is on track to create a million new school places by the end of this decade – the largest increase for at least two generations.

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Since 2010, 921,000 school places have been created, with 636,000 of these in primary schools. This follows a decrease of 100,000 places between 2004 and 2010.

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