In May 1997, the Government set ambitious national targets that by 2002, 80% of 11 year olds would achieve the expected standard for their age in English and 75% would do so in mathematics. These targets were rightly viewed as extremely challenging. Since then, very many primary and special schools have transformed their teaching of English and mathematics, supported by the programme of professional development – materials, training and consultancy support – provided by the strategies. The remarkable achievements of heads, teachers and pupils are evident in the improved Key Stage 2 (KS2) test results over the last four years. Since 1998, there has been a 10% point rise in the English results from 65% to 75% and in mathematics a 12% point rise from 59% to 71%. The achievement gap between Local Education Authorities (LEAs) has also narrowed. In English, for example, no LEA now has below 62% of its pupils achieving Level 4+ compared to 1997 when the average across all LEAs was just 63%. That is an impressive achievement.
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