Responding to the announcement by Minister of Education and Skills, Leighton Andrews that the banding of primary schools will not go ahead at Easter 2012, Anna Brychan, and Director of NAHT Cymru said:
‘This is absolutely the right decision. We congratulate the Minister on his willingness to listen to teachers’ and school leaders’ concerns about this and hope that we can now work with him to construct a genuinely powerful school improvement and support model for Wales.
NAHT Cymru wants to see a support and challenge system for schools based on the following principles:
· A school profile which measures what we value, rather than simply those elements for which we have data;
· An intelligent but forensic analysis of performance data coupled with a professional dialogue with a credible system leader;
· A more precise assessment system which provides the tools that teachers need to plan and monitor progress to a common format across Wales;
· Mechanisms for sharing and promoting best practice within and between schools;
· Ready access for schools to genuinely expert school support services.
‘Achieving these would be a huge prize for schools and the wider education system in Wales. The originally proposed banding model would not give us that prize. Its flaws included:
i. The reliability and availability of data, including a lack of nationally comparable progress data at KS2. This is not a weakness in teacher assessment but rather in the structure that teachers are required to apply. Local moderation has led to a degree of common understanding at a cluster/local level but progress definitions remain too imprecise to offer anationally reliable measure;
ii. The fact that 30% of schools were not to be banded in any event because of small cohort sizes. This represented a far from level playing field and potentially damaged smaller schools’ access to the support that they need;
iii. Continuing concern that the new consortium-based school improvement structure is not yet able to offer the level and quality of support that the banding system was supposed to attract as an entitlement.
Page Published: 21/02/2012