UK,April 1(Telegraph) - They were being taught in schools where less than half of pupils achieved basic levels of English and maths.
At almost 800 schools - around one-in-20 - the majority of 11-year-olds were unable to read, write or add to a decent standard, it is revealed.
At a further 6,282 schools, at least a quarter of pupils failed to hit national targets in the three-Rs.
The disclosure is made in primary school rankings published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
Figures chart standards achieved by pupils in around 15,000 primaries in England.
Ministers insist results in the core subjects of English, maths and science have soared under Labour as more children start secondary school with a good grounding in the basics.
But critics claim results are being artificially inflated as schools are forced to “teach to the test” to improve their positions in national rankings.
According to today’s figures:
*329 primaries made sure all 11-year-olds reached the level expected of them in English, maths and science
*351 schools had “perfect” literacy and numeracy results as all pupils achieved the required standard in the three-Rs
*Faith schools dominated the table - 129 out of the 200 top schools were Anglican, Roman Catholic or Jewish
*At 797 schools - collectively teaching more than 200,000 pupils - less than half of 11-year-olds left with a decent grasp of the basics
*Results for more than 30 schools were “lost”
*One school had its English results wiped out over suspected cheating
Controversy over the latest figures escalated last summer following a series of blunders surrounding the marking of tests.
Some schools were forced to wait more than six months for results and others were lost altogether after errors by a private contractor running the exams.
John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Secondary school leaders are particularly concerned that they will be held to account on the basis of the 2008 tests, which experienced significant problems.
“National tests of 11-year-olds are far from perfect and the way they are used can seriously skew the curriculum of primary schools, especially in the final year.”
Pupils take Sats tests in English, maths and science at the end of primary school.
In all, 72 per cent of children achieved at least Level 4 - the standard expected of their age - in literacy and numeracy combined. This compared to 71 per cent a year earlier. The brightest children are expected to gain Level 5 - the standard expected of the average 14-year-old.
Figures show Hall Meadow Primary in Kettering, Northamptonshire, and Combe Church of England Primary School in Witney, Oxfordshire, achieved the best results in the country.
All pupils at the schools achieved basic marks in the three core subjects. Every pupil also passed at the higher Level 5 in maths and science, and 93 per cent gained the elite grade in English.
At two schools - Crays Hill Primary in Billericay, Essex, and Oak Trees Community School in Maidstone, Kent - no child reached the expected level in English and maths.
A third school - Bishops Itchington in Southam, Warwickshire - saw 79 per cent of its pupils reach Level 4 in maths, but its English results were quashed due to malpractice.
A spokeswoman for Warwickshire County Council said: “A judgment was made to annul English results for Bishops Itchington Primary School as there was reason to believe administration processes were not followed correctly.
“As such, the school’s results cannot be used as a reliable indicator of how students performed and will not be included in national statistics.”
A spokesman for Kent County Council said a new headteacher and governing body at Oak Trees school have made “significant improvements” since last year’s tests.
He said: “We have every confidence that the school will continue to grow and improve while providing the children with the best possible opportunities.”
A spokesman for Crays Hill said: “Regardless of their starting point, the school is committed to helping all our pupils achieve their full potential. Our central focus, like every school in Essex, is to provide high quality education for every child.
“The vast majority of our pupils join the school with attainment levels well below national expectations and these results must be seen in that context.” (By Graeme Paton, Education Editor Last Updated: 4:42PM BST 01 Apr 2009)