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ATL union: 'No one takes banding system seriously'

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’

– Dr Philip Dixon, ATL union

Minister: banding helps support poorest performing schools

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.

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.

– Huw Lewis AM, Education Minister

Banding data for secondary schools released

The system places secondary schools in one of five bands Credit: PA

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.


Welsh government welcomes numeracy report

This report shows where we have been successful in developing numeracy skills in our schools and in teaching numeracy across the curriculum and where performance needs to be strengthened. The recommendations will inform the ongoing work of the Welsh Government, local authorities and schools to ensure that numeracy levels are improved. We welcome the report's findings and congratulate those schools and local authorities highlighted whose effective approaches and collaborative work in helping to raise learners' numeracy skills are leading the way.

We have clear evidence that the best results are obtained where there is an agreed, co-ordinated approach to teaching and learning in numeracy. Where numeracy is given the requisite priority in school improvement plans and where numeracy skills are taught systematically and pupils given enough opportunities to apply their skills substantial improvements can be achieved.

The recommendations in Estyn's report illustrate why the actions outlined in the National Numeracy Programme are key in helping to raise overall levels of attainment in numeracy in schools in Wales.

– Welsh government spokesperson
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