St Cyres set targets after slipping down school banding

Penarth Times: IMPROVEMENT: St Cyres has been set targets to improve by next summer (3070039) IMPROVEMENT: St Cyres has been set targets to improve by next summer (3070039)

ST CYRES has been given six months to make improvements after it slipped down the secondary school bandings for Wales,in the latest report published by the Welsh Government.

Schools in Band 1 are the best performing across all measures while schools in Band 5 require additional support.

In the latest rankings St Cyres slipped from Band 3 to Band 4, while Stanwell School maintained its Band 1 ranking from last year.

St Cyres achieved a score of 35.5, while Stanwell School achieved 16.5. The scores were measured by assessing school performance within four broad categories: The percentage of pupils achieving five A* to Cs at GCSE including English or Welsh and mathematics, the best eight GCSEs of pupils, the performance of pupils at GCSE in English or Welsh and mathematics, and attendance.

Across the Vale of Glamorgan Ysgol Bro Morgannwg is in Band 1, Cowbridge Comprehensive is in Band 2, St Richard Gwyn and Bryn Hafren schools are in Band 3, Llantwit Major is in Band 4 and Barry Comprehensive is in Band 5.

A Vale Council spokeswoman said: “The Vale of Glamorgan Council has been working with other local councils in the region for some time, to support and challenge all schools to continue to improve standards, and the council says standards in the Vale are continuing to rise.

“For three secondary schools, Llantwit, St Cyres and Barry, that are not yet making sufficient progress, the council has agreed targets for higher standards to be achieved by the summer.”

In regards to St Cyres a Vale Council spokeswoman added: “Compared with other schools with similar students, attainment in GCSE examinations in 2013 was lower than average in mathematics and English: attendance and the proportion of students achieving five good GCSEs including mathematics and English was also below average.

“The Council has agreed targets with the school for progress on each of these measures in 2014.

“The Council and the regional Central South Consortium Joint Education Service will support and challenge the school to meet the agreed targets.”

Councillor Chris Elmore, Cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “Many secondary schools in the Vale are good, but like schools elsewhere there is room for improvement. “Bandings provide useful information about school performance but they do not give the whole picture. Parents can access many other sources of information about schools.”

He added: "I am delighted to see Vale schools once again in the top bands and congratulate these schools for their achievements. We are working hard with the schools that are currently in the lower bands in order that they can make accelerated progress.”

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in Wales, said that the banding system for Wales was “fundamentally flawed” and “stigmatises teachers, schools, pupils and local authorities”.

David Evans, secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), questioned the “flawed approach” of the banding policy.

“NUT Cymru have always objected to the school banding policy given its flawed approach to measuring performance. It is hard to see exactly what tangible benefit parents, pupils or teachers have seen since the introduction of school banding. Seeing schools bounce around widely within the bands does not do much to fill anyone with confidence that they are having a consistent or balanced view of school performance.”

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