Proportion of ‘red’ schools in Wales falls by two per cent

Written by: Greg Lewis | Published:

The number of schools in Wales in need of the most support has fallen, according to the latest results in the Welsh government’s school categorisation system.

The controversial colour-banding scheme, which was introduced in 2014 to “help identify those schools in need of support to improve”, also showed that there are more schools categorised as needing lower levels of support.

Under the system, schools are placed into one of four colour-coded support categories – green, yellow, amber and red. Schools in the green category are deemed to be in need of the least support while schools in the red are those identified as needing the most support.

Each school’s category is determined by a range of factors including its performance data and capacity to improve in areas such as leadership, teaching and learning. This year’s results show that:

  • The proportion of “green” secondary schools – those needing less support – has increased by seven per cent.
  • The proportion of “red” secondary schools – those identified as needing most support – has reduced by two per cent.
  • Forty-one per cent of special schools have been categorised as green, and needing less support, with only eight per cent being categorised as red and in need of the most support.

The system has been controversial and last week SecEd reported the latest call for it to be abandoned (Wales urged to ‘stop obsessing’ over data and focus on wellbeing, SecEd, February 2016: http://bit.ly/2kJwxwb). The non-political think-tank, the Bevan Foundation, said it led to “parent-flight” from what are perceived to be low-performing to high-performing schools.

Wales’ education secretary Kirsty Williams said this week: “This system is not about grading, labelling or creating crude league tables, but about providing support and encouraging improvement in our schools. It is about putting schools into a position that helps them to identify areas they can strengthen and what they need to do to achieve further improvements.”

She said the new figures showed that 64.6 per cent of secondary schools are now in the green and yellow categories: “This increase is to be welcomed, as these schools will have a key role to play in supporting other schools, sharing their skills, expertise, and good practice. In this way they will be making a vital contribution to our national mission of driving forward improvements in Welsh schools and moving us towards a self-improving system.”


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