Students leaving primary school will be required to have a strong knowledge of spelling, grammar and multiplication tables under new plans unveiled by the education secretary over the weekend.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Conservative minister Nicky Morgan said she was declaring "war on illiteracy and innumeracy" with the standards, which would see primary school leavers facing new tests of their English and maths skills.
Ms Morgan said every pupil should know their times tables off by heart and be able to do long division by the age of 11. They should also be able to read a novel and write a short story using accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar.
She added: "Some will say this is an old-fashioned view, but I say that giving every child the chance to master the basics and succeed in life is a fundamental duty of any government."
The proposals would put a new focus on the pass rate for specific skills tested in sections of existing end of primary school exams, the Guardian noted. This would specifically concentrate on multiplication and long division, as well as adding new questions on novels that pupils will have been expected to read.
A Whitehall source told the newspaper the Department for Education has asked the National Literacy Trust to assist in drawing up a list of age-appropriate novels that year six pupils will be expected to answer questions on.
While individual students would not be required to re-sit the tests if they failed to meet the required standard, schools could be subject to measures if they do not ensure 100 per cent of pupils gain a passing grade.
Appearing on the BBC's Andrew Marr show to discuss the proposals, Ms Morgan said the Conservatives will look to ring-fence most of the schools budget, should they win May's general election.
She added: "We have to be ambitious for our young people. If you don't get it right at primary, then it becomes much harder for children to catch up at secondary school."
Posted by Harriet McGowan