Opinion Former Article

Banding failing Welsh pupils – NUT Cymru

The school banding system has been a total failure according to Wales’ largest teaching union.  NUT Cymru, commenting on the publication of this year’s banding scores, said the system has proved divisive, ill-thought through and not fit for purpose.  The Union has also criticised the failure to ensure support is provided for those schools suffering as a result of the Welsh Government’s league table style system.

NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said:

“When the league table style banding system was first announced, we warned that it would prove divisive for schools in our communities, give a misleading picture of performance to parents and would fail to help to target and provide support.  We take no pride in being right on this issue, but those fears have been proved correct.

“The Minister himself has openly admitted, very recently, that schools have not been given the right levels of support. The rush to banding means that we have had a year of undermining the hard work of teachers, pupils and parents but very little actual support.  That is a record the Welsh Government simply cannot be proud of.  What we can be proud of is that schools, even without support, have worked hard to continue to improve.  They deserve credit for that commitment.

“It is hard to see how a system that has so little support amongst the profession can continue in its current format.  It is causing real difficulties for schools and unless that is addressed, risks creating a long-term crisis for Welsh education.  We only need to consider the fact that the school ranked at the top of Band 1 last year but now finding itself in Band 4 to see that this is a seriously flawed system.”

On the future of banding David Evans added:

“We know this system has failed students and teachers in Wales over the past 12 months.  The fact that the number of schools in each band remains relatively constant shows it is a worthless indicator of national standards.  At individual school level, we can only see schools moving up the bands if others fall downwards, creating a system which pits schools against one another.  Whilst the Welsh Government may argue that schools are performing better within those bands, there is no way for parents looking simply at the band rankings to appreciate that.

“We are all for accountability in our schools.  That is something as a Union we support, and it is right that parents have information available to them.  Packaging it in this crude way does nothing to build relationships between schools and their communities.  Unless the Welsh Government recognises the mistakes they have made with banding, we will continue to see it failing the education system.”

Notes to Editor:

Below is a survey response on banding that NUT Cymru previously conducted with members:


Contact: Owen Hathway, NUT Cymru, Ty Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818. Mob: 07921 146 442 e-mail: cymru.wales@nut.org.uk

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