Writing attainment for children aged 10 to 11 (key stage 2)

Published

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2017/18, 78% of pupils met the expected standard in writing by the end of key stage 2 (when they are usually 10 or 11 years old)
  • 20% of pupils met the higher standard
  • out of all ethnic groups, pupils from the Chinese group were the most likely to meet both the expected and higher standards
  • White Gypsy/Roma pupils were the least likely to meet both the expected and higher standards
  • pupils from the Chinese ethnic group made the most progress between key stage 1 and key stage 2
  • White Irish Traveller pupils made the least progress
  • girls were more likely than boys to meet both the expected and higher standards in all ethnic groups
Things you need to know

In 2017/18, there were 619,473 pupils assessed in writing in year 6 (the final year of key stage 2) in state-funded schools in England, and ethnicity was known for 613,924 (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.

Pupil numbers for key stage 2 vary between measures of attainment for different subjects. This is because pupils who don't have a valid result for a particular subject are excluded from the total. For more about valid results, see the Methodology section.

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.

Attainment in writing is not directly comparable to previous years because of changes to writing teacher assessment frameworks. Teachers must use these frameworks to make their assessment judgements for pupils at the end of key stage 2.

What the data measures

This data measures the writing attainment of pupils at the end of key stage 2 (year 6) when pupils are 10 or 11 years old.

The data covers the academic year 2017/18 (September 2017 to July 2018). Download the data if you want data for the academic year 2015/16 and 2016/17.

Standards in writing are divided into 2 categories:

  • expected standard – to meet this, pupils must have been assessed 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 been assessed as ‘working at a greater depth within the expected standard’

The progress score measures the progress that pupils make between the end of key stage 1 (primary school year 2) and the end of key stage 2 (year 6). A pupil’s results are compared with the actual achievements of other pupils nationally with similar key stage 1 attainment.

This data shows an average progress score for each ethnic group. A progress score of 0 (the national average) means pupils are making the expected amount of progress. A positive score (0.1 and above) means they are making more progress than average, and a negative score (-0.1 and below) less progress than average.

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 writing, and progress score, by ethnicity
Ethnicity Expected Higher Progress
All 78 20 0.0
Asian 81 22 0.9
Bangladeshi 82 22 1.6
Indian 86 29 1.0
Pakistani 77 15 0.6
Asian other 83 25 1.1
Black 78 18 0.6
Black African 80 20 0.9
Black Caribbean 73 13 -0.4
Black other 77 17 0.6
Chinese 89 40 2.0
Mixed 79 22 0.2
Mixed White/Asian 84 27 0.5
Mixed White/Black African 80 20 0.4
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 74 15 -0.6
Mixed other 81 24 0.6
White 78 20 -0.2
White British 79 20 -0.3
White Irish 79 25 0.1
Gypsy/Roma 32 2 -0.3
Irish Traveller 36 3 -1.1
White other 74 18 1.6
Other 74 17 1.3
Unknown 64 16 0.0

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • overall, in 2017/18, 78% of pupils met the expected standard in writing by the end of key stage 2 (when they are usually 10 or 11 years old), and 20% met the higher standard
  • pupils from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest attainment out of all ethnic groups, with 89% meeting the expected standard in writing, and 40% meeting the higher standard
  • White Gypsy/Roma pupils had the lowest attainment out of all ethnic groups, with 32% meeting the expected standard in writing and 2% meeting the higher standard
  • between key stage 1 and key stage 2, pupils from the Chinese ethnic group made the most progress in writing, with a progress score of 2.0
  • White Irish Traveller pupils made the least progress, with a progress score of -1.1

3. By ethnicity and gender

Percentage of pupils meeting the expected and higher standards in writing by ethnicity and gender
Boys Girls
Ethnicity Expected Higher Progress score Expected Higher Progress score
All 72 15 -0.8 84 25 0.8
Asian 77 16 0.3 86 27 1.5
Bangladeshi 78 16 1.0 87 27 2.1
Indian 83 23 0.4 90 35 1.5
Pakistani 72 11 0.0 82 19 1.2
Asian other 79 19 0.5 87 31 1.7
Black 72 14 -0.1 84 23 1.3
Black African 75 15 0.3 85 24 1.5
Black Caribbean 64 9 -1.3 82 18 0.5
Black other 69 11 -0.2 84 22 1.5
Chinese 85 31 1.2 93 48 2.8
Mixed 73 16 -0.6 86 27 1.0
Mixed White/Asian 79 22 -0.1 89 33 1.2
Mixed White/Black African 74 14 -0.4 86 26 1.2
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 66 10 -1.6 82 20 0.4
Mixed other 75 18 -0.2 87 30 1.4
White 72 14 -1.0 84 25 0.7
White British 72 15 -1.1 85 25 0.5
White Irish 73 19 -0.9 85 30 1.0
Gypsy/Roma 26 2 -1.1 38 2 0.6
Irish Traveller 32 2 -1.8 42 4 -0.5
White other 69 13 0.8 80 23 2.4
Other 69 14 0.8 78 21 1.9
Unknown 58 12 -0.9 70 20 0.9

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

The data shows that:

  • overall, in 2017/18, 84% of girls and 72% of boys met the expected standard in writing by the end of key stage 2 (when they are usually 10 or 11 years old)
  • 25% of girls and 15% of boys met the higher standard
  • girls were more likely to meet the expected and higher standards than boys in every ethnic group
  • overall, girls made above average progress in writing between key stage 1 and key stage 2 (with a progress score of 0.8), while boys made below average progress (with a progress score of -0.8)
  • girls from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest attainment of all of the ethnic groups across boys and girls, with 93% meeting the expected standard and 48% met the higher standard
  • girls from the Chinese ethnic group also made the most progress between key stage 1 and key stage 2, with a progress score of 2.8
  • White Gypsy/Roma boys had the lowest attainment out of all ethnic groups, with 26% of them meeting the expected standard
  • White Irish Traveller boys made the least progress between key stage 1 and key stage 2, with a progress score of -1.8

4. 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 2 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 in 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

Confidence intervals: Confidence intervals are available for the ‘progress score’ if you download the data. These confidence intervals are calculated for a school based on a specific group of pupils. A school may have been just as effective, but have performed differently with a different set of pupils. Similarly, some pupils may be more likely to achieve high or low results, independently of which school they attend. To account for this natural uncertainty, it is best to interpret these school scores alongside their associated confidence intervals.

A 95% confidence interval around progress scores means that if the progress scores of 100 random schools were taken, then 95 times out of 100 their progress score would fall between the upper and lower confidence interval. But 5 times out of 100 it would fall outside this range.

School scores are interpreted alongside their associated confidence intervals in the following manner: If the lower confidence interval is greater than zero, it can be interpreted as meaning that the school has achieved greater than average progress compared to pupils with similar starting points nationally. Similarly, if the upper confidence interval is below zero, then the school has made less than average progress. Where the 95% confidence intervals overlap zero, this means that the school’s progress score is not significantly different from the national average.

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

Rounding

Percentages given in charts, tables and downloads are rounded to the nearest whole number. Progress scores are given to 1 decimal place.

Related publications

Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2018

Quality and methodology information

5. 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.

6. Download the data