East Sussex had one of the highest proportions of five-year-olds achieving a good level of development in 2017, according to standards set by the Department for Education.
Over the last school year, 76.5 per cent of the pupils reached this standard in the early years assessment, compared to 69 per cent on average in England.
The department benchmark for children with a ‘good level of development’ is to achieve the minimum expected level in five of the seven areas assessed.
These are personal, social and emotional development, physical development, communication and language, mathematics and literacy.
The evaluation is made by the teacher in the final term of reception.
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The subject where most pupils met the minimum expected score in East Sussex was expressive arts and design. About 89.1 per cent of pupils hit the mark.
The lowest level of achievement was in literacy – just 72.8 per cent of pupils met the Government’s minimum expected mark.
The topic where children improved their success rate the most was understanding of the world.
About 86 per cent met the level required, up from 76.3 per cent in 2016.
A total of 5,663 pupils were evaluated in East Sussex in 2017, 2,752 girls and 2,911 boys.
The average mark across all the areas assessed was 37, out of a possible 51.
In England, the average mark was 34.5 in 2017.
Girls in East Sussex performed better than boys, scoring 2.7 points more.
Rosamund McNeil, assistant general secretary at the National Education Union, considered the assessment positive in terms of helping teachers and parents know more about children’s capabilities.
She said: “The purpose of this assessment is to gather information and help teachers plan the next stage for that child. Practitioners are really supportive of it and they are very worried because they feel the Government does not like it because it is not just limited to numeracy and literacy.”
About the better performance of girls, she added: “Gender is one of the factors, but not critical at this stage. You also have to take into account that 20 per cent of the kids may have some additional need and it really matters which month in the year children were born.
“Every child develops at a different pace from the age of three to 18, and that is something that everybody has to understand.”