Reading, writing and maths attainment for children aged 10 to 11 (key stage 2)

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2017/18, 64% of pupils met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths by the end of key stage 2 (when they are usually 10 or 11 years old)
  • 10% of pupils met the higher standard
  • out of all ethnic groups, pupils from the Chinese group were the most to meet both the expected and higher standards
  • White Gypsy/Roma pupils were the least likely to meet both the expected and higher standards
  • girls were more likely than boys to meet both the expected and higher standards in most ethnic groups
  • pupils eligible for free school meals (used as a sign of disadvantage) were less likely to meet the expected standard than other pupils
Things you need to know

In 2017/18, there were 619,350 pupils assessed for reading, writing and maths in key stage 2 in state-funded mainstream schools, and ethnicity was known for 613,802 (99%) of them.

Of those whose ethnicity was known, 75% were White, 11% were Asian, 6% were Black, 6% were Mixed, 0.4% were Chinese and 2% were from another ethnic group.

Attainment in all of reading, writing and maths is not directly comparable to previous years because of changes to writing teacher assessment frameworks.

Previous versions of this page included attainment figures broken down by local authority area. The 2017/18 figures for local authorities will be added as soon as they are available.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of eligible pupils who met the expected and higher standards in reading, writing and maths at the end of key stage 2 when children are 10 or 11 years old.

The data covers the academic year 2017/18 (September 2017 to July 2018). Data for the academic year 2015/16 and 2016/17 is available in the download file.

The standards are:

  • expected standard – to meet this, pupils must have achieved a ‘scaled score’ of 100 or more in reading and maths, and have been assessed in writing as 'working at the expected standard' or 'working at a greater depth within the expected standard'
  • higher standard (sometimes called the ‘high score’) – to meet this, pupils must have achieved a ‘scaled score’ of 110 or more in reading and maths, and have been assessed in writing as 'working at a greater depth within the expected standard'

A pupil’s scaled score can range from 80 to 120. A scaled score allows for variations in test difficulty year on year by standardising each pupil’s test results. This allows a clearer comparison between years.

You can read more about scaled scores at key stage 2.

The ethnic categories used in this data

This data uses categories from the Department for Education’s school census. These groupings are broadly based on the 2001 national Census, with 3 exceptions:

  • Traveller of Irish Heritage and Gypsy/Roma children have been separated into 2 categories
  • Sri Lankan is included in the Asian/Asian British group but is not reported separately
  • Chinese pupils have been assigned a separate category from Asian

These changes were made after consultations with local authorities and lobby groups.

Data is reported for broad and detailed ethnic categories. These are

Asian/Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Sri Lankan
  • Other Asian background

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British:

  • Black African
  • Black Caribbean
  • Black Other

Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Other Mixed background

White:

  • White British
  • White Irish
  • Traveller of Irish Heritage
  • Gypsy/Roma
  • Other White

Chinese

Other ethnic group

2. By ethnicity

Percentage of pupils meeting the expected and higher standards in reading, writing and maths by ethnicity
Ethnicity expected standard higher standard
All 64 10
Asian 68 12
Bangladeshi 69 11
Indian 76 18
Pakistani 61 7
Asian other 72 15
Black 63 8
Black African 66 9
Black Caribbean 55 5
Black other 61 7
Chinese 81 28
Mixed 66 11
Mixed White/Asian 72 16
Mixed White/Black African 65 10
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 57 6
Mixed other 68 13
White 64 10
White British 65 10
White Irish 70 15
Gypsy/Roma 18 0
Irish Traveller 22 0
White other 61 9
Other 61 9
Unknown 52 8

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • overall, in 2017/18, 64% of pupils met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths (when they are usually 10 or 11 years old), and 10% met the higher standard
  • pupils from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest attainment of all the ethnic groups, with 81% of pupils meeting the expected standard and 28% meeting the higher standard
  • White Gypsy/Roma pupils had the lowest attainment, with 18% meeting the expected standard and 0% meeting the higher standard

3. By ethnicity and eligibility for free school meals

Percentage of pupils meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and maths by ethnicity and free school meals
Ethnicity FSM Non-FSM
% %
All 46 68
Asian 57 70
Bangladeshi 63 70
Indian 61 77
Pakistani 53 63
Asian other 58 74
Black 54 66
Black African 57 68
Black Caribbean 47 58
Black other 54 63
Chinese 77 82
Mixed 50 70
Mixed White/Asian 52 76
Mixed White/Black African 51 69
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 44 62
Mixed other 53 71
White 43 67
White British 43 68
White Irish 40 75
Gypsy/Roma 15 19
Irish Traveller 20 29
White other 48 62
Other 49 64
Unknown 45 53

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and eligibility for free school meals’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and eligibility for free school meals’ (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in 2017/18, 15% of pupils in year 6 were known to be eligible for free school meals (FSM)
  • 46% of FSM-eligible pupils met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths, compared with 68% of non-FSM pupils
  • in every ethnic group, FSM-eligible pupils were less likely to meet the expected standard than non-FSM pupils
  • pupils from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest attainment of any FSM-eligible group – with 77% meeting the expected standard – and of any non-FSM group, with 82% meeting the expected standard
  • White Gypsy/Roma pupils had the lowest attainment of any FSM-eligible group – with 15% meeting the expected standard – and of any non-FSM group, with 19% meeting the expected standard

4. By ethnicity and gender

Percentage of pupils meeting the expected and higher standards in reading, writing and maths by ethnicity and gender
Boys Girls
Ethnicity Expected standard Higher standard Expected standard Higher standard
All 61 8 68 12
Asian 65 10 72 14
Bangladeshi 66 9 73 13
Indian 73 15 80 21
Pakistani 58 6 65 9
Asian other 69 12 75 18
Black 58 7 68 10
Black African 62 8 70 11
Black Caribbean 49 4 61 6
Black other 56 5 67 9
Chinese 78 23 85 33
Mixed 62 9 69 13
Mixed White/Asian 69 13 75 18
Mixed White/Black African 61 8 70 11
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 52 5 62 8
Mixed other 65 11 72 15
White 60 8 68 11
White British 61 8 69 11
White Irish 65 12 75 17
Gypsy/Roma 15 1 20 0
Irish Traveller 22 0 23 0
White other 57 8 65 11
Other 57 8 64 10
Unknown 49 7 56 10

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity and gender’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity and gender’ (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • in every ethnic group, girls had a higher attainment than boys at the expected and higher standards, with the exception of White Gypsy/Roma and White Irish Traveler pupils at the higher standard
  • overall, 68% of girls met the expected standard compared with 61% of boys, and 12% of girls met the higher standard compared with 8% of boys
  • girls from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest attainment amongst boys and girls of all ethnic groups, with 85% meeting the expected standard and 33% meeting the higher standard
  • White Gypsy/Roma boys had the lowest attainment amongst boys and girls of all ethnic groups, with 15% meeting the expected standard
  • the largest gap between boys and girls within the expected standard was found among Black Caribbean pupils, with 61% of girls meeting the expected standard compared to 49% of boys – a gap of 12 percentage points
  • the largest gap between boys and girls within the higher standard was found among Chinese pupils, with 33% of girls meeting the higher standard compared to 23% of boys – a gap of 10 percentage points

5. Methodology

The key stage 2 datasets combine information from the following two data sources:

  • prior attainment records (key stage 1 results)
  • school census records

Key stage assessment data received from the Standard Testing Agency (STA) is matched to school census records to identify pupils’ ethnicities and free school meal eligibility.

Pupils with no valid result for a subject are excluded from the calculations for that subject and are not included in the number of eligible pupils or the outcome percentages for that subject.

Valid results are:

  • achieved the expected standard
  • not achieved the expected standard
  • special consideration
  • absent
  • working below the standard of the test
  • unable to access the test

Some pupils are eligible for free school meals (FSM) if their parents receive a qualifying benefit. We refer to these children as ‘FSM-eligible’. FSM eligibility is used as an indicator of disadvantage. However, not all eligible parents apply for FSM and some families who do not reach the eligibility threshold may still be experiencing deprivation.

We refer to pupils who are not eligible for FSM or where eligibility is unknown as ‘non-FSM’.

In 2017/18, 15% of pupils in year 6 (the final year of key stage 2) were known to be eligible for free school meals.

The Department for Education no longer suppress any of the data used in this page.

Rounding

Percentages given in charts, tables and downloads are rounded to the nearest whole number.

Related publications

Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2018.

Quality and methodology information

6. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Department for Education

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The main purpose is to measure schools' and pupils' progress and performance from key stage 1 to key stage 2, in order to monitor and improve standards and inform parental choice when applying to local schools.

7. Download the data