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National School Categorisation System

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The system’s main purpose is to identify which schools are in most need of support.

The system ensures that, in partnership with local authorities and regional consortia, we direct our support and resources to improve our school system and as a result, raise standards and performance in Wales.

The system is about providing support and encouraging collaborative improvement by putting schools into a position that enables them to identify the factors that contribute to their progress and achievement, or what areas to focus on to achieve further development. It is not about labelling or creating league tables.

The system is a three step model that is not purely data-driven but also takes into account the quality of leadership and teaching and learning in our schools.

  • Step one: A broad range of performance information is provided by the Welsh Government to inform schools’ self-evaluation of their capacity to improve in relation to teaching and learning. This year we have changed the process so that we will no longer calculate or publish a standards group for schools. Instead a broader set of information will be considered when evaluating how schools are doing, which will take into account their local circumstances. This will also form the starting point of discussions between schools and their regional consortium challenge advisor about their performance and areas for improvement.
    This change has been made as a result of our work to change accountability within our education system and make sure that schools, and their learners, are given the right support at the right time so they can fully achieve their potential.
  • Step two: Challenge advisers from regional consortia evaluate the school’s capacity to improve, taking account of evidence about the standards achieved and the quality of leadership and learning and teaching. They will also use information from the Welsh Government to inform this evaluation and discussions with schools.
  • Step three: The outcomes from step two are used to decide on each school’s final support category. The final categorisation is a colour code that shows the level of support a school needs and triggers a tailored programme of support, challenge and intervention. The support categories are green, yellow, amber or red (with the schools in the green category needing the least support and those in the red category needing the most intensive support).

The coloured support category for each primary, middle and secondary school is now available.

The system is co-constructed between regional consortia and Welsh Government.

The full outcomes (external link) of the categorisation system are available on the My Local School website.

As part of the agreed National Model for Regional Working, Welsh Government, local government, regional consortia and the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) have worked together to ensure a national and consistent approach to the categorisation of schools.

If you have any queries on categorisation please contact SMED2@gov.wales