Commenting on the publication of the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum Assessments, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“These results once again demonstrate considerable achievement and pupils and teachers should be congratulated on their hard work.

“These results give lie to the constant claims that education standards are falling and children are leaving primary school unable to read, write or add up.

“They are a testament to the skill and dedication of our primary teachers, who have worked hard to achieve these outstanding results against a backdrop of budget cuts, excessive workload and attacks on their working conditions and professionalism.

“The slight narrowing of the attainment gap and evidence of the progress being made by pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds is especially welcome, but schools and families need more support and resources if this progress is to be maintained and speeded up. Too many children are still being held back by the effects of poverty on their ability to learn and achieve.”


Commenting on the Ofsted Annual Report, published today, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union in the UK, said:

"As with every other Chief Inspector's Annual Report published during Ofsted's two decades of existence, this year's edition claims that the education system in England is improving but is falling significantly short of the mark.

“Sir Michael Wilshaw's reprise of this well-worn assertion will come as no surprise to teachers and school leaders. However, it does beg important questions about the role Ofsted has played in maintaining and enhancing the quality of education offered in England's schools.

“Ofsted has made significant changes to its inspection system in recent years which need to be borne in mind when drawing any conclusions about Ofsted’s assertions in its Annual Report.

“Any conclusions drawn about the quality of the education system based on the findings of inspections carried out over the past year have to be treated with some degree of caution.

“Ofsted appears to be focusing its attention to an increasing extent on the quality of leadership and management in schools. However, the consequence is that this pressure is leading too many school managements to impose workload-intensive and punitive requirements on teachers which are diverting them from focusing on the needs of pupils and do nothing to raise standards.

“If Sir Michael Wilshaw is serious about ensuring that his expectations are understood correctly across the education system, he should ensure that his inspectors challenge such practices and hold those school leaders to public account when they seek to use Ofsted as an excuse for ineffective leadership and management.

“Supporting teachers and school leaders in focusing their time and energies on teaching and learning will make the biggest contribution to retaining our high-quality education system.”