New school stan­dards ‘are only ad­e­quate’

Western Mail - - NEWS - AB­BIE WIGHTWICK Ed­u­ca­tion ed­i­tor news­[email protected]­line.co.uk

STAN­DARDS AT a new flag­ship £40m su­per-school are only ad­e­quate and need im­prove­ment, ac­cord­ing to in­spec­tors.

Ys­gol Bae Baglan in Port Talbot had its first in­spec­tion by Estyn in Novem­ber and the re­sults have now been pub­lished.

The ed­u­ca­tion watch­dog rated it good in four of the five ar­eas looked at, in­clud­ing teach­ing, but over­all stan­dards were only ad­e­quate and in need of im­prove­ment.

In­spec­tors found that teenage boys and the rel­a­tively high pro­por­tion of pupils el­i­gi­ble for free school meals in years 10 and 11 at the school do worse than peers at sim­i­lar schools.

But girls are do­ing bet­ter than those in sim­i­lar schools.

The re­port by Estyn shows that more than 30% of pupils are el­i­gi­ble for free school meals at the school, far higher than the na­tional av­er­age of 16.4% for sec­ondary schools and 18% for pri­mary schools in Wales.

More than two-thirds of pupils at the 1,512-pupil school live in the 20% most de­prived ar­eas of Wales.

The new-build school for pupils aged three to 16 opened in 2016 af­ter the amal­ga­ma­tion of Cwrt Sart, Glan Afan and Sand­fields com­pre­hen­sive schools and Traeth­me­lyn Pri­mary.

At pri­mary level in­spec­tors found the ma­jor­ity of pupils aged seven to 11 do not use a rich enough va­ri­ety of lan­guage to ex­press them­selves and do not have suf­fi­ciently de­vel­oped read­ing skills.

It found that about half of pupils aged seven to 11 have poor hand­writ­ing, don’t present their work with enough care and do not use their literacy skills well enough across the cur­ricu­lum.

For older pupils per­for­mance also ap­pears to be drop­ping and does not rate well with other sim­i­lar schools.

In years 10 and 11, when pupils are aged 14 to 16 and pre­par­ing for and tak­ing GCSEs, per­for­mance in the level two thresh­old of five GCSEs A* to C, in­clud­ing English and maths, was above av­er­age for sim­i­lar schools in 2017.

But Estyn warned that pro­vi­sional re­sults for 2018 show a de­cline which would place the school well below sim­i­lar schools.

Per­for­mance of boys aged 14 to 16 in nearly all in­di­ca­tors is below the av­er­age for boys in sim­i­lar schools and “per­for­mance of pupils el­i­gi­ble for free school meals is below the av­er­age for their coun­ter­parts in sim­i­lar schools in all in­di­ca­tors,” in­spec­tors said.

“At key stage 4 (years 10 and 11), the per­for­mance of boys in nearly all in­di­ca­tors is below the av­er­age for boys in sim­i­lar schools.

“Girls’ per­for­mance in 2017 is above the av­er­age for girls in sim­i­lar schools in many in­di­ca­tors.

“The per­for­mance of pupils el­i­gi­ble for free school meals is below the av­er­age for their coun­ter­parts in sim­i­lar schools in all in­di­ca­tors,” the

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