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As we prepare for the new Curriculum for Wales, there have been a number of policy changes that have impacted on school reporting requirements. Whilst these reforms are ongoing, the information below sets out the current regulatory requirements for reporting school and pupil information.
Disruption due to coronavirus
Modifications were made to some of the regulations underpinning the reporting and collection of school information to take account of the disruption to schools as a direct result of coronavirus. The Welsh Government recognised that schools and local authorities may have been unable to comply with certain statutory requirements and the disproportionate administrative burden they may have posed during these challenging times. Amending regulations were brought into force to modify or dis-apply a number of school reporting requirements in relation to the 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021 school years.
These changes include the permanent revocation of the School Performance and Absence Target Setting (Wales) Regulations 2011. Further guidance is available on the full implications of coronavirus for school performance reporting arrangements.
The Relaxation of School Reporting Requirements (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2022 came into force on 1 April 2022. The Regulations amend the School Information (Wales) Regulations 2011 and the School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) Regulations 2011. The changes are made to ease administrative burdens on schools and governing bodies at this time.
For the 2021 to 2022 academic year:
- local authorities and schools will not be required to include data on authorised and unauthorised pupil absences in their prospectuses
- governing body annual reports will not include performance and attendance data for 2021 to 2022; the most recent Summary of Secondary School Performance (SSSP); or the number of authorised and unauthorised absences in the school year. This relaxation applies in relation to all pupils registered at the school
The Education (Amendments Relating to Teacher Assessment Information) (Wales) Regulations 2018
These Regulations supported the Welsh Government decision to cease publishing comparative information about end of phase or key stage teacher assessment data and National Reading and Numeracy Test data at a school, local authority or regional consortium level.
Schools, governing bodies and local authorities continue to have access to their own data, alongside national level data and, therefore, are still able to consider their outcomes in a national context to inform their self-evaluation and improvement planning.
The Welsh Government continues to collect individual pupil level data to enable research and evaluation around particular policy interventions, for example to understand the impact of learner outcomes on additional developmental programmes throughout the education system. Teacher assessment data is unavailable for 2019 to 2020 and 2020 to 2021, as a result of the disruption due to coronavirus and the relaxation of reporting requirements as explained above. End of phase or key stage assessments will cease to exist for learners rolled-out on the new curriculum.
Head Teacher’s Report to Parents and Adult Pupils (Wales) Regulations 2011
These Regulations require headteachers to provide a written report on a pupil’s progress and achievements to parents and adult pupils each school year.
This includes the results of any statutory assessment carried out in accordance with the assessment arrangements specified by the Welsh Ministers in the Education (National Curriculum) (Assessment Arrangements for Reading and Numeracy) (Wales) Order 2013.
The report must contain, at a minimum, the information detailed below:
- brief particulars of the pupil’s achievements and progress in relation to each area of learning, subject or activity drawing attention to any particular strengths and weaknesses
- the pupil’s skills and abilities and general progress at school during the period to which the information relates
- where levels of achievement are included, a statement should be included indicating whether or not these levels have been determined in accordance with the statutory assessments
- particulars of any subject from which the pupil is exempt
- details of any qualification or part of a qualification obtained by the pupil during the period to which the information relates
- a summary of pupil attendance during the period to which the information relates, to include the number of authorised and unauthorised absences
- details of arrangements whereby parents/guardians, or adult pupils, may discuss the report with teachers
- for pupils following Key Stage 4 study programmes the report should be accompanied by the most recent Summary of Secondary School Performance (SSSP)
We recommend that schools make every effort to make reports interesting, engaging, informative and accessible to parents and carers. Additional recommendations to make reports engaging and informative:
- ‘brief particulars’ should take the form of a short commentary in the subject activity concerned. Strengths and particular achievements should be highlighted together with areas of weakness, improvement goals and suggestions of how the learner may be encouraged to develop in a particular area
- details of general progress could include an overview of behaviour, contribution to school life, special achievements, and general wellbeing
- information relating to reasons for absence or lateness and a summary of any exclusion information relevant to the period could be included
- arrangements to discuss the report could include details of parents meetings, Governors’ Annual Meeting and other key events in the school calendar
- including the names of relevant teachers and information about different ways to engage with the school and teachers may help to increase engagement
- draw attention to the importance of parental engagement and the contribution that parents can make to their children’s education and the life of the school
School Governors’ Annual Reports (Wales) Regulations 2011
These Regulations require every governing body of a maintained school to produce an annual report to parents, including the information they need to understand the progress of their child’s school. A summary report must be distributed to all parents and include the required information and details of how a parent can request a copy of the full report. Schools must make the report or summary report available to parents no less than two weeks before the date of the annual meeting where the report is considered.
The summary report must include the information detailed below as a minimum:
- details of the arrangements for the next annual parents’ meeting to include time, place, purpose and agenda, and a report on any consideration made in relation to any resolutions passed at the previous annual meeting
- information, where available, about arrangements for the next election of parent governors
- for Key Stage 4 only, the most recent summary of Secondary School Performance (SSSP)
Full reports must also include:
- details of term dates
- financial statement
- changes to the school prospectus information
- statement on the use of Welsh Language
- provision of toilet facilities and cleaning arrangements
- extra-curricular activities
- a summary of the school development plan prepared by the governing body in accordance with the Education (School Development Plans) (Wales) Regulations 2014
In addition to the minimum requirements, governors are encouraged to include additional material to help keep parents informed and to make the document as engaging as possible.
The School Information (Wales) Regulations 2011
These Regulations require local authorities to publish general information in the composite prospectus in respect of all maintained schools in the authority. The prospectus must be made available to parents/guardians, schools, public libraries in the local authority, and on the local authority website.
These Regulations also require governing bodies of maintained schools to publish general information, in a single document known as the school prospectus, for parents/guardians, learners and all others with an interest.
The school prospectus must contain as a minimum, the required information detailed below:
- name, address and telephone number of the school
- name of the headteacher
- name of the current chair of governors
- the classification of the school as:
- community, foundation, voluntary controlled, voluntary aided, community special or foundation special school, primary, middle or special school
- comprehensive, grammar or partially selective
- co-educational or single-sex school
- day, boarding or both
- the language of the school as shown in their PLASC category
- any affiliation of the school with a particular religion or religious denomination
- details of the admissions policy for pupils of different ages, including those above or below compulsory school age (not applicable for special schools) and special arrangements for the admission of, and to enable access for, disabled pupils
- secondary schools (but not special schools) should also include details of the number of places for each relevant age group which were available at the start of the preceding year, the number of written applications or references, the number of appeals made and the number of them that were successful
- details of any arrangements for parents to visit the school
- a statement on the ethos and values of the school
- information about the curriculum, organisation of education and teaching methods. This should include details of any special arrangements made for particular groups of pupils including those with special educational needs
- a summary of the content and organisation of sex education
- details of any careers education and any arrangements for work focused experiences for pupils
- a summary of the religious education provided at the school and details of how a parent/guardian, or sixth-form pupil, can exercise their right to choose not to participate in religious education and of any alternative provision made for such pupils
- a summary of the school policies and arrangements in relation to:
- provision for children with special educational needs
- supporting and promoting the education achievement of looked after children
- charges for optional extras and details of the policies in relation to circumstances where these charges will be waived
- equal opportunities policy
- details of the member of staff designated as having responsibility for promoting the educational achievement of looked after children
- information about any determination made in relation to the character of collective worship in the school
- a summary of the sporting aims of the schools and details of arrangements for pupils to participate in sport and extra-curricular sports activities
- details of the term dates and session times for the school, for the year to which pupils are being invited to apply for admission
- the arrangements made to ensure the security of pupils, staff and the school premises
- a summary of the key features of the home-school agreement
- a brief statement about the use of Welsh language in the school, to ensure that parents/guardians and prospective parents can gain a full understanding of the linguistic character of the school.
- This should include:
- use of Welsh as a language of instruction in different key stages, different subjects and if appropriate the availability of alternative instruction in English
- details about the use of Welsh as a usual language of communication at the school outside of formal instruction
- any restriction to the ability to choose the language of instruction
- arrangements at the school for facilitating continuity for pupils instructed through the medium of Welsh whilst registered at the school or when transferring from primary to secondary school
- details of any exception from the National Curriculum in Welsh as long as inclusion of this information does not identify an individual pupil affected
- the most recent Summary of Secondary School Performance (SSSP) - for Key Stage 4 only
- secondary schools should include details of the proportion of pupils aged 15 or 16 at the start of the previous academic year who:
- continued in full-time education, training or work based learning
- went on to employment
- are known to have not continued in education or gained employment or whose destination is unknown
- details of the most recent annual attendance and absence figures for the school
- a statement of how a complaint can be made
In addition to the required information, schools should make every effort to make the school prospectus interesting, engaging, informative and accessible to a wide audience.
The School Performance Information (Wales) Regulations 2011
These Regulations relate to the collection of information about the performance of schools. They impose duties on headteachers of maintained schools to make available information to governing bodies to enable governing bodies to comply with their obligations under these Regulations.
Governing bodies of maintained schools are currently required to provide local authorities with information about the foundation phase, the second key stage and the third key stage assessment results. Requirements are that:
- the local authority must provide the Welsh Ministers with information about the foundation phase, the second key stage and the third key stage assessment results for all registered pupils in the foundation phase, the second key stage and the third key stage at the schools maintained by the local authority
- governing bodies of maintained schools and proprietors of non-maintained special schools and independent schools with pupils aged 15, 16, 17 or 18 must provide the Welsh Ministers with specified information about their results
- governing bodies of maintained schools and the proprietors of independent and non-maintained special schools must provide the local authority with information about authorised and unauthorised absences and this has not changed
In accordance with these Regulations, schools are required to share statutory assessment results with local authorities (the Regulations do not extend to regional consortia). However, the policy position remains that personalised assessments are for formative use only, so that teachers in all maintained schools have information on the reading and numeracy skills of their learners and a common understanding of strengths and areas for improvement in these skills. They are for use within schools and for reporting to parents and are not to be used for school performance or accountability purposes. Since 2018, online personalised assessments have been phased in and have now replaced the paper-based National Tests.
As the first cohorts of learners transition to the new curriculum, the end of foundation phase and key stage 2 teacher assessments have been proposed for removal. Subject to public consultation, changes to the regulatory requirements related to the reporting of teacher assessment outcomes are planned. Key Stage 3 arrangements will not be affected until a later stage of curriculum rollout.
The Government of Maintained Schools (Training Requirements for Governors) (Wales) Regulations 2013
These Regulations require local authorities to ensure that school governors receive training on understanding and utilising school data, and set the content of that training. School governors are expected to undertake training on the areas contained which are specific to their schools. Local authorities and any other governor training providers must have regard to the content of Welsh Government guidance when producing their mandatory programmes on understanding school data. This training will not apply to any governor who, before coming into force of The Government of Maintained Schools (Training Requirements for Governors) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016, completed the school performance data training as set out in the 2014 document (Guidance document number 140/2014).
The requirement to ensure school governors continue to receive the necessary training to use data to hold schools to account will continue.
The Welsh Government guidance to school governors for understanding performance data has been amended so that it no longer includes references to teacher assessment and test data, in relation to ‘datapacks’ and the School Comparative Reports.
The updated data training guidance is available.
In accordance with mandatory content for maintained schools (other than special schools), Governors should understand:
- the difference between ‘achievement’ and ‘attainment’; achievement: how well pupils do, relative to their age and assessed ability; attainment: how well pupils do, measured against a standardised test
- ‘reliability’ and ‘validity’, reliable information is that which can be trusted and valid information is logical and in the correct context
- which groups of pupils are statistically at risk of under-achievement
Mandatory content for special schools:
Special schools are required to record and analyse the extent to which pupils achieve their individual learning goals and governors should expect the school to provide an evaluation of this. According to the more specific needs of individuals, the school will also record the degree to which pupils:
- develop mature and appropriate behaviour
- learn to use and apply communication devices and systems to overcome barriers to Learning
- develop important life skills
- develop Literacy and numeracy skills
- attend school
- access more inclusive and age-appropriate settings
- develop Independence
- achieve accredited qualifications (suitable to their needs)
- the training programme for governors of special schools must cover the following areas:
- accredited qualifications where appropriate. There is a plethora of courses used across special schools in Wales. Examples include ASDAN (both primary and secondary), Edexcel (both primary and secondary), Entry Level GCSE, Level 1City and Guilds, Level 1 B Tech
The Education (School Development Plans) (Wales) Regulations 2014
These Regulations require governing bodies to draw up school development plans to exercise their responsibility for conducting a maintained school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement, and this will continue. The school development plan has effect over a three-year period. Governing bodies are required to revise the plan on an annual basis, and following an inspection by Estyn.
Further guidance on school development plans is available.
A summary of the school development plan must be prepared by the governing body, to cover the areas outlined below.
- The school improvement priorities for the current school year and priorities for the two school years immediately preceding the current school year.
- The governing body must take account of the national priorities.
School improvement targets, expected outcomes and strategy
- A brief statement setting out the school improvement targets and expected outcomes and the governing body's strategy to meet those targets.
Professional (learning) strategy
- Details of the governing body's strategy for the current school year as to how it will further the professional (learning) of staff at the school in order to meet the school improvement targets.
Working with the community
- Details of how the governing body will seek to meet the school improvement targets for the current school year by working with: (a) pupils at the school and their families; and (b) people who live and work in the locality in which the school is situated.
School staff and school resources
- Details of how the governing body will make best use of the current school staff and school resources (including its financial resources) to meet the school improvement targets for the current school year.
- School staff and school resources (including financial resources) the governing body anticipates will be available to it to meet the school improvement targets for the next two school years immediately preceding the current school year.
- A brief statement setting out the extent to which the school improvement targets for the previous school year were met and where they were not met fully, a brief explanation as to the reasons for that failure.
The Education (Information About Individual Pupils) (Wales) Regulations 2007
These Regulations require maintained schools to provide information to local authorities about individual pupils as determined by Welsh Ministers. The regulations support the Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC), which is mandatory for all school sectors. Recent Regulation amendments have not affected The Education (Information about Individual Pupils) (Wales) regulations and all requirements remain unchanged.
The Pupil Information (Wales) Regulations 2011
These Regulations specify requirements in relation to the maintenance of curricular and educational records and provide for the secure transfer of information through the Common Transfer System (CTS) when pupils change schools.
The CTS is a secure system used to transfer a pupil’s record electronically when they move from one school to another. The use of the CTS reduces the administrative burden of data collection and increases the accuracy and continuity of records. It also supports local authorities in meeting their obligations to identify and prevent pupils from going missing from education by facilitating the identification of records where pupils leave one school and do not appear to register at another.
The Common Transfer File (CTF) must contain, as a minimum, the required information about the individual pupil(s) as detailed below:
- Unique Pupil Number (UPN)
- including any temporary UPN and/or previous UPN
- Unique Learner Number (ULN) where available
- first name(s)
- date of Birth
- ethnicity and details of who provided the information about the pupil’s ethnic group
- national identity (ethnicity and national identity information is required for all learners over 5 years of age)
- first language
- level of fluency in the Welsh language
- whether or not Welsh is spoken at home
- details of who provided the information about the pupil’s fluency in Welsh and use of
- Welsh at home
- Free School Meal (FSM) eligibility
- where a pupil is learning English as an additional language, details of the level of
- language acquisition
- where a pupil has special educational needs
- confirmation of the primary and any secondary identified need
- SEN provision forming part of the graduated approach adopted pursuant to “The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice for Wales”
- an indicator of whether the pupil is looked after by a local authority and if so the name of the local authority
- the address where the pupil normally lives
- the surname of at least one contact person for the pupil and the details of their relationship to the pupil
- an indicator where medical information exists that may be relevant to the pupil’s new school
- the total number of:
- sessions in the school year to the date the pupil ceases to be registered at the old school
- such sessions in the school year attended by the pupil
- the pupil's authorised and unauthorised absences (within the meaning of the Education (Pupil Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2010) in the school year
- the LA number and the school number for each of the old school and the new school
Requirements relating to educational and curricular records
The curricular record is a formal record of a pupil’s academic achievements, skills, abilities, and progress. It must be updated at least once a year. The educational record is a record of any information, including the curricular record that relates to the pupil, other than information processed by and for the sole use of individual teachers.
In every case where the pupil is under consideration for admission to another school (including independent school), or to a further education college or any other place of education or training, the headteacher must transfer the pupil’s educational record, free of charge within fifteen school days of receiving the request. The record supplied must not include the results of any assessment of the pupil’s achievements.
When a pupil transfers to another school, the head teacher is required to:
- transfer the entire educational record to the receiving school when a pupil is re-located to another learning organisation. This information may be transferred in electronic format, on paper, or a mix of formats
- within 15 days, provide a copy of a pupil’s educational record to the pupil’s parent on receipt of a written request. A charge may be made for provision of the copy not exceeding the cost of supply
- within 15 school days, provide a copy of the educational record (excluding Information regarding results of any assessment of the pupil’s achievements) to a school, FE college or other place of education or training that are considering the pupil for admission
Further guidance on the transfer and retention of pupil records is available.