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Written Statement - Publication of National school categorisation system categories

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The system’s main purpose is to identify which schools are in most need of support.
Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills

I previously announced the introduction of the National School Categorisation System in a Written Statement on 25 September 2014.  This provided a detailed explanation of the three step model together with the primary school measures. I subsequently published the details of the 14 measures that underpin the categorisation of secondary schools, on 27 Nov 2014.    I can now announce that following a rigorous assessment process both primary and secondary schools have now been placed into their relevant support categories.   

It is important to remember that the primary purpose of the national school categorisation system is to identify schools that are most in need of support, to ensure that, in partnership with local authorities and consortia, we direct our support and resources most effectively to secure the improvements necessary in our school system. As a result, this will help raise standards and performance in Wales.  

These categories have been determined through the use of the relevant measures, in accordance with the three step model.  Step 1 is a judgement in relation to performance and standards in the school using a range of performance measures provided by the Welsh Government. Step two is a judgement in relation to the school’s capacity to self-improve, based on robust self-evaluation by schools in relation to leadership and teaching and learning.    Step three is a colour support category  based on the combination of the two judgements, corroborated by education consortia challenge advisers and agreed with the school and local authority.  The category outcomes have been moderated both regionally and nationally  to ensure consistency within and across consortia. In relation to secondary schools, as part of the moderation process I made it clear that no school that fell below the 27.2% weighted average for FSM performance would be judged no higher than C at step 2 or above a yellow support category. This supports my relentless focus on improving the performance of FSM pupils - context cannot be used as an excuse for underperformance. 

The colour category of support identified for schools will trigger a bespoke programme of support, challenge and intervention and all schools have been made aware of their category. 

The colour categorisation for all schools will be published today on the Welsh Government website and fuller details published on the My Local School website on 30 January 2015. Full guidance for schools, local authorities and consortia, as well as a guide for parents, has already been published.