High rat­ings for many as politi­cians clash over Welsh Gov­ern­ment colour scheme:

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

SCHOOL colour code rat­ings that grade per­for­mance have sparked a mixed re­ac­tion, with one politi­cian say­ing they should be “taken with a pinch of salt”.

Pri­mary and sec­ondary schools were placed into one of four cat­e­gories – green, yel­low, am­ber and red – to show the level of sup­port the Welsh Gov­ern­ment and school im­prove­ment con­sor­tia think each needs.

As well as look­ing at per­for­mance, this year schools were, for the first time, judged on wider is­sues such as well­be­ing.

There has been a rise in the num­ber of schools in the top two cat­e­gories – green and yel­low – and the bot­tom cat­e­gory, red, with an over­all trend of im­prove­ment.

In North Wales, Gwynedd had the most schools ranked green, with 35. Five schools in Wrex­ham were coded red, the high­est across the six coun­ties.

Cabi­net sec­re­tary for ed­u­ca­tion, Kirsty Wil­liams, said: “I’m pleased to see that more schools are now in the green and yel­low cat­e­gories, which con­tin­ues with the up­ward trend we have seen over the past few years.

“These schools have a key role to play in sup­port­ing oth­ers to im­prove by shar­ing their ex­per­tise, skills and good prac­tice.”

But Plaid Cymru’s shadow cabi­net sec­re­tary for ed­u­ca­tion, Llyr Gruffydd AM, branded the cat­e­gori­sa­tion a “crude traf­fic lights sys­tem”. He said more trans­parency was needed about the true per­for­mance of schools, and added that in­spec­tions by ed­u­ca­tion watch­dog Estyn some­times con­tra­dict cat­e­gori­sa­tion find­ings.

“A com­mon frame­work should be ap­plied to help par­ents, teach­ers and pol­icy mak­ers bet­ter un­der­stand what is re­ally tak­ing place in our schools,” he said.

“If the Gov­ern­ment is se­ri­ous about im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion, it must do more to tackle the ba­sic is­sues of school un­der­fund­ing and a loom­ing work­force cri­sis.

“They also need to ex­plain why there is con­tin­ued dis­par­ity be­tween the cat­e­gori­sa­tion of schools and Estyn in­spec­tions.”

Welsh Con­ser­va­tive shadow ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary, Dar­ren Millar, said: “These re­sults should be taken with a pinch of salt. The lat­est Estyn re­port showed that school per­for­mance is stand­ing still. These re­sults there­fore stand at odds with the im­pres­sion given by to­day’s rat­ings.”

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