New school ranking system will discriminate against pupils in Wales’ poorest areas, union warns

Wales Online is reporting that a union representing head teachers in Wales has hit out at the Welsh Government’s new school categorisation system, claiming those operating in most challenged circumstances will be harshly treated…

The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) Cymru said a new colour-coded model for holding schools to account was “at odds with government policy” and gave those in areas of high deprivation “more hoops to jump through”.

A row between secondary school leaders and government officials has been brewing for some time but appears to have boiled over just weeks before Wales’ national categorisation system is due to go live.

Every school in Wales will be placed into one of four groups next month, although there is some concern about the data being used to group them.

The nation’s regional consortia are said to be annoyed because the “indicative” criteria they have been working against has changed, resulting in a significant number of provisional categorisation judgements being changed.

It is believed that less emphasis on pupil attendance and more onus on the performance of those eligible for free school meals – a measure of poverty – has come as a blow to some schools in more disadvantaged areas.

Guidelines state that no school will be allowed into the higher echelons of the categorisation system if it fails to meet the 25.8% Wales average of pupils gaining five A*-C grades at GCSE including English or Welsh and maths (Level 2+), regardless of contextual factors.

And a delay in disseminating actual scores – officials only confirmed to consortia how the data would impact on schools on December 12 – has left heads with just a matter of weeks to undertake a contributing self-evaluation process.

A combination of performance data and moderated self-evaluation will determine which colour a school is given in January, and the promised input of teachers themselves has been integral to winning the support of unions.

Robin Hughes, who as secretary of ASCL Cymru represents the majority of secondary school leaders in Wales, said: “Categorisation is a good idea, but the way that Welsh Government are going about it is yet another example of how they seem to be able to make a pig’s ear out of a silk purse…”

More at: New school ranking system will discriminate against pupils in Wales’ poorest areas, union warns

 

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Comments

  1. Janet2

    Evidence (OECD, EEF) shows that all pupils perform lower than might be expected if they attend schools which have a majority of disadvantaged pupils.  This inconvenient fact is ignored by politicians who want to rank schools.  It discriminates against schools with such a large proportion and in favour of schools with very few disadvantaged pupils.

    http://www.oecd.org/pisa/46624007.pdf

    http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/uploads/pdf/EEF_target_schools_and_studentsFINAL.pdf

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove All school ranking systems disadvantage someone or something which is why they should never be taken at face value

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove All school ranking systems disadvantage someone or something which is why they should never be taken at face value

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove All school ranking systems disadvantage someone or something which is why they should never be taken at face value

  5. Janet2

    @andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Unfortunately, they are taken at face value by politicians and the media.  And careers can be wrecked if teachers are judged against criteria which fails to take account of context.  The effect is likely to be teachers will avoid such schools and play safe by chasing jobs in schools with a large number of advantaged pupils.  This means that disadvantaged schools who need high-quality teachers will only be able to fill vacancies with lower-quality teachers, temporary or unqualified staff.

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