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Wales school branding system criticised

27/12/2012 Joanna
A ranking system in Wales which was designed to give parents a clear and concise picture of how their child's school is performing against others has been criticised for presenting a confusing picture after a large number of institutes experienced dramatic falls or rises this year.

This year's results of the Welsh branding system indicated that some schools had dropped out of the top Bank One this year into one of the lowest groups while others had experienced the reverse, which has caused education unions to mock the system as divisive and misleading.

However, education minister Leighton Andrews claimed the extreme movements are a strength of the system rather than a weakness as it is based on improvement and does not reward schools that fail to implement changes.

"[In England] you have simply a scoring system that doesn't pick up schools that are coasting," he explained.

"We're determined to drive up performance in schools in Wales and the results that we can see ... particularly to schools in Bands Four and Five, is that performance is going up."

Nevertheless, head teacher of Ysgol Tryfan in Bangor Gwyn Tudur, told BBC News that he "questions a system which allows such a big change" after his school fell from the top of Band One to Band Four in the latest results.

In total, ten top-performing schools have dropped out of the Band One ranking into Band Three or Four, while others that were previously in Bands Four and Five have experienced dramatic rises.

However, because banding is a relative measure based on improvement, the results do not necessarily represent any change in the teaching standards in any educational institute.

The Ucac teaching union accused the government of undermining its own argument that competitive banding played a role in raising standards within schools.

Institutes are graded according to improvement in a number of aspects, including GCSE results and attendance.

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801513019-ADNFCR
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