Teachers' unions have criticised the annual banding of schools across Wales. Results were published today.
The Welsh Government says the system is designed to show which schools need the most support -- and which are performing best.
Richard Morgan reports.
NUT Cymru have always objected to the school banding policy given its flawed approach to measuring performance.
It is hard to see exactly what tangible benefit parents, pupils or teachers have seen since the introduction of school banding.
Seeing schools bounce around widely within the bands does not do much to fill anyone with confidence that they are having a consistent or balanced view of school performance.
– David Evans, NUT
Banding, as it currently is, has become discredited in the eyes of the profession and parents and is really hindering the efforts of those wishing to deliver the highest education standards possible.
Joy Ballard is the Head teacher of Willows High and thinks banding allows schools to benchmark themselves against others, and this can only be a good thing.
The school in the Tremorfa area of Cardiff, have been ranked as a band 3, last year they received a Band 5 rating.
– Dr Philip Dixon, ATL union
No one now takes the school banding system all that seriously. Its continued volatility, which sees some school leaping up and down bands, is at worst an irritant and at best an amusement.
This yo-yo banding system is past its sell-by date. Last week’s PISA results were yet another wake up call to the Welsh Government to think through its policies far more carefully.
We hope that we can cooperate in building an accountability system which uses data more intelligently to make schools accountable but also helps them to improve’
Schools in Band 1 are considered the best performing, while those in Band 5 score the lowest.
2013 is the third year that the data has been published.
Nearly 80% of schools have stayed in the same band or moved up/down by one band between 2012/13.
One school - Ferndale Community School - moved from Band 5 to Band 1.
Banding data is crucial in helping us see how our schools are doing, allowing us to direct support to those schools which need the most help to improve.
If we’re to improve the performance of schools across the board in Wales we need to both challenge and support them. Challenge if they’re underperforming or coasting, but offer the support they need, financially and through sharing best practice, to deliver the best results for our young people.
It’s encouraging that since Banding has been in place absenteeism has fallen and we’re seeing improvement in our exam performance.
– Huw Lewis AM, Education Minister
Recent statistics show an all time high of 15 year olds in Wales achieving the Level 2 inclusive, in other words five good GCSEs including grades A* to C in English or Welsh first language and mathematics.
We’ve seen this reflected in Band 5 schools last year improving their Level 2 inclusive performance by 10 per cent in 2013. We continue to narrow the gap with England on GCSE performance and that’s very encouraging.
A total of 218 schools across Wales are included in the banding figures published by the Welsh Government today
- Band 1 - 20
- Band 2 - 62
- Band 3 - 60
- Band 4 - 51
- Band 5 - 25
The latest rankings for Wales' secondary schools will be published this afternoon.
The so-called 'banding' system groups schools on a level from one to five, according to how well pupils perform in their examinations, and their attendance levels.
Band 1 indicates schools that are performing well, and Band 5 indicates schools that need to improve.
The system also takes into account the number of pupils at a school from poorer backgrounds, and looks at their progress over time.
Last year out of 219 schools, 72 schools moved up at least one band, 71 schools moved down at least one band, and 75 stayed the same.
This is the third year this kind of data has been released in Wales.