‘Welsh government must put new banding system to good use’ – Aled Roberts

2011 Rhagfyr 8 2:50 PM

Welsh Government's first set of bands for secondary schools has been published today. The system uses criteria including GCSE exam performance and attendance. The score is altered to take into account the number of pupils receiving free school meals, which is an indicator of levels of poverty among pupils.

Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education, said:

"We support the belief that parents are entitled to additional information on their local schools. Nonetheless, there are concerns regarding how the banding system information will actually be used and whether it is sensitive enough. We have sympathies with the Minister's comments that he does not want this to be case of naming or shaming schools that are struggling, but we're not entirely convinced that will not be the case.

"It is essential that the banding system is used in a way to help improve our schools. Results published today illustrate that there are far too many schools that are struggling to make significant improvements. The government needs to ensure that now we have these results, they are put to good use by offering far more effective support to the schools that are not reaching their full potential.

"I believe that tracking the performance of each individual pupil would be a far more effective way to raise standards - so that we could identify children who were not achieving their potential. The government could also monitor the performance of a school on the basis of how many of its pupils were meeting their individual targets."

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