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AMs defend schools banding slump

Published date: 18 December 2013 |
Published by: Kirstie Dolphin
Read more articles by Kirstie Dolphin


 

ASSEMBLY Members have leapt to the defence of Llangollen and Bala’s high schools as the latest Welsh Government figures suggest standards have fallen.

Dinas Bran in Llangollen dropped from band one to band two in the National School
Banding System while Ysgol Y Berwyn in Bala slumped from band two to three.

Banding is based on complex calculations that take into account measures like attendance and “socio-economic factors” such as free school meals.

The best-rated schools are in band one, and the lowest-rated in band five.

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates praised standards at Dinas Bran while North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd slammed the banding system – saying it
unnecessarily pits schools against each other and is not the way forward in improving standards.

He said: “Banding does not provide a whole view of a school’s performance.

“We have always maintained that a constructive evaluation process that leads to targeted support should be adopted, instead of creating artificial league tables through the banding system.

“The volatility of the banding system underlines the fundamental reason why it it will not prove an effective way to raise school standards. Schools shoot in and out of support systems within a year, there is no consistency and progress is lost."

St Brigid’s School, Denbigh, and Ysgol Glan Clwyd, St Asaph, have remained in band two and Denbigh High School remained in band three.

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said: “Dinas Bran is a fantastic school which quite rightly has an excellent reputation in Denbighshire and beyond, and its high standards of teaching and pupil achievement have again been reflected in this
year’s bandings.

“Staff and students celebrated another brilliant set of exam results this summer and the school remains an example to many others.”

Labour AM for the Vale of Clwyd, Ann Jones, has welcomed the publication of the banding, which aims to give parents a clearer way to see how their child’s school is performing.

Mrs Jones said: “Ysgol Glan Clwyd achieved a good result, staying on band two.

“However, what these results also show is that there is some disparity in results across the county. Some schools have gone down a band and this should be a cause for reflection. It is now down to Denbighshire County Council and individual school governing bodies to consider their results and put in place measures to make sure they achieve a better result next year.

“Schools who have achieved disappointing results will be given extra support.

“Banding is an important and useful tool in measuring that schools are improving.”

Region’s Schools
Ysgol Brynhyfryd – dropped from band two to three
Ysgol y Berwyn – droped from band two to three
Ysgol Dinas Bran – dropped from band one to two
St Brigid’s – remained in band two
Ysgol Glan Clwyd – remained in band two
Denbigh High School – remained in band three

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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