Jayne Ludlam, Executive Director of Children, Young People and Families, said: “Of course it is worrying to be sent a letter like this and we recognise that, but the details need to be taken in context of an improving trend.

“Primary standards in Sheffield continue to improve across all key stages and recently the rate of improvement in reading, writing and maths has been equal to, or above, national averages.

“As Ofsted knows, these results are actually provisional and the city average is likely to be higher when the final results are published.

“The proportion of good and outstanding schools in Sheffield has continued to increase and the number of schools below Government expectations has fallen significantly. 

“Many of the improvements have been greatest where the local authority, working with school partners, has targeted its work.

“However, we are not and never have been complacent and have high expectations that every child in Sheffield should go to a great school and achieve their full potential.  That’s why we set up Learn Sheffield in July which follows on from the successful City Wide Learning Board.  This new school company will enable an acceleration of school to school improvement across the city as the evidence shows that is the most effective way to drive up standards.

“And let’s be clear here – letters similar to this to our knowledge have also been sent to many local authorities across the Yorkshire and Humber region and also nationally. Sheffield is not alone.”




Notes to Editors:

The data published showing Sheffield’s performance in the 2015 Key Stage 2 tests is provisional. Sheffield has a large number of pupils (around 100) who are recent arrivals to English schools and whose results will be removed when the final figures are published in the performance tables. Our own local calculations show that the final published figure will be 78 per cent.

Performance on the combined measure of level 4+ in reading, writing and maths at the end of KS2 has improved by 18 percentage points between 2010 and 2015 (from 60 per cent to 78 per cent). Over the same time period national performance has improved by only 16 percentage points. This means that Sheffield is closing the gap with the national picture over time. The difference between Sheffield’s performance and the national average was four percentage points in 2010 but has reduced to two percentage points in 2015.

It is important to also consider the progress made by pupils. In writing and maths the percentage of pupils making expected progress between Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 is equivalent to the national average (based on final rather than provisional data) and the percent of pupils making expected progress in reading is only one percentage point below the national average.

At Key Stage 1 the improvements in attainment between 2010 and 2015 seen in Sheffield are greater than the improvements seen nationally over the same time period across all subjects (reading, writing and maths).

Sheffield’s rate of improvement has also been greater than that seen for local authorities within the group of Sheffield’s statistical neighbours. For example, the percentage of pupils achieving a level 2b or above in maths has improved by 12 percentage points since 2010 to 81 per cent, against a national improvement of nine percentage points.

The number of schools below floor standards has reduced from 33 in 2008 to 11 in 2015 (this will be confirmed when final data is released) despite the floor standards becoming significantly more challenging.