Primary teachers helped key stage two pupils do slightly better on their assessments this year, but a large minority of children are still failing to reach expected standards.
Newly published official figures show 76 per cent of year six pupils achieved the expected level of four or above in reading, writing and maths during 2013, up from 75 per cent last year and 62 per cent back in 2009.
While the proportion of children reaching this level on reading assessments fell by a percentage point from 2012 to 86 per cent this year, on maths assessments there was a one point increase, with 85 per cent attaining at least a level four.
Statistics also show the proportion of pupils reaching expected standards on their writing tests climbed from 81 per cent in 2012 to 83 per cent in 2013, while 74 per cent did so on the newly introduced spelling and grammar tests.
Nonetheless, this still means 139,000 key stage two pupils failed to obtain at least a level four in spelling and grammar this year, including approximately one in three boys and one in five girls.
Education minister Liz Truss commented: "Today's figures show the majority of children are performing well and they, along with their parents and teachers, should be congratulated for their achievements.
"However, the statistics also reveal that one in four children is leaving primary school without a firm grasp of spelling, punctuation and grammar. The new test encourages schools to focus on these basics."
Another first for 2013 is the recording of the number of pupils achieving a 'good' level four - namely, a 4a or 4b - with 63 per cent of year six children doing so this year.
Meanwhile, the share of pupils doing better than expected and getting a level five or above rose by one percentage point to 21 per cent in 2013.
The government plans to increase the minimum share of pupils at each school expected to reach level four from 60 per cent in 2012-13 to 85 per cent by 2016, while in the longer term it intends to jettison the existing system of levels entirely as it considers it too broad and unambitious.
Posted by Charlotte Michaels