Wales scraps colour coding system used to compare school performance

The Welsh Conservatives say the new plan is "fraught with risks."

The Welsh Government has decided to scrap the current publicly available system that measures school performance.

The National School Categorisation System ranks schools annually based on how much help they need to improve using a colour-coding system of green, yellow, amber and red.

The Welsh Government says the National Categorisation will finish and be replaced by a "robust self-evaluation system".

The Welsh Conservatives say the new plan is "fraught with risks."

The Welsh Government says the new system is less judgemental. Credit: PA images

The new system aims to "move away" from categorisation and will provide a summary of each school’s improvement priorities, according to Welsh Government.

A development plan for each school will also be made public and published.

The colour coding system was introduced in 2015 and parents were able to see how each school ranked in Wales.

Education Minister Jeremy Miles says the change will put "learner progression" first and it will help to "support every learner to reach their full potential."

He said: "By bringing national categorisation to an end we are doing two things. First, replacing it with a framework which sets out clear expectations so that every pupil is supported properly.

“And second, providing better, and more up-to-date information on each school’s improvement plans, so that the focus is on learner progression rather than on headline descriptions.

"I’m confident that this framework will encourage more collaboration between schools, which will deliver high standards and aspirations for all our learners and support their wellbeing.”

The Welsh Government says there will also be more frequent Estyn inspections for each school from September 2024.

But the Shadow Minister for Education, Laura Anne Jones MS, says the new system will only work with "rigorous oversight".

“Having an easily understandable school categorisation system is essential for parents and teachers alike", she said.

“A colour coded system is straightforward, but each category should have had a much clearer explanation from the Welsh Government.

“Bringing in a ‘self-evaluation’ system is fraught with risks, and there needs to be rigorous oversight for it to work in the best interests of pupils.

“I don’t have much faith in Labour – under their watch, the Welsh education system is the worst-performing in the UK and is consistently underfunded.”