No matter how schools in Wales have performed over the year, we already know that there will be a fixed amount of schools in each band. That is just far too crude and simplistic a system. Too often we are hearing of how parents are confused why their children’s school has been rebranded despite the fact its results have stayed the same.
The Welsh Government must be doing more to ensure that there is a better understanding of what banding actually means. I have sympathies with the Minister’s wishes for this not to be a case of naming or shaming schools, but I’m not convinced that won’t be the case.
I am concerned about the quality and level of support that is being offered to schools in bands 4 and 5. The banding system must be used in a way to help improve our schools. Simply banding them and then hoping for improvement isn’t enough. The Welsh Government needs to ensure that the system is put to good use by making sure it monitors whether there is effective support to the schools that are not reaching their full potential.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that monitoring 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.