Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Cabinet Meeting: 27 January, 2014


Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services


Vale Secondary School Banding for Academic Year 2012 -2013


Purpose of the Report

1.         To advise members of the final level 2 threshold performance and Secondary School Banding results for 2012-13.

2.         To refer to Lifelong Scrutiny Committee.


1.         To note the report and receive progress reports on individual schools in due course.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To advise members of the recently published final GCSE results and bandings for local secondary schools.



3.         National School Banding is a way of using national data on school performance in context to group schools according to where they are on their improvement journey relative to other schools in Wales.  The system groups secondary schools into bands reflecting their outcomes and progress, taking account of the challenge they face from socioeconomic circumstances. Special schools are not banded.

4.         In parallel with other performance analyses, National School Banding provides a starting point for discussion with consortia and local authorities about priorities for support and challenge. In turn, it gives consortia and local authorities a starting point for discussion with schools.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         The final and confirmed level 2 threshold result for Vale schools for 2013 stands at 55.42%.  This represents a 0.1% increase on last year (55.31%), effectively stemming the recent downward trend (as indicated in the provisional results reported in November 2013), whilst continuing to maintain performance above the all Wales mean of 52.73%.

6.         Vale of Glamorgan Banding results for academic year 12/13, as well as a 3 year overview, are set out in Appendix 1.

7.         Banding uses the relative performance of schools across four sets of data to group them into one of five bands – those in band 1 show good overall performance and progress and those in band 5 show weak performance and progress relative to other schools.

8.         Within each band relative performance is measured to take account of actual performance, progress over time and performance relative to context and cohort.  Performance is measured by reference to attainment at the end of key stage 4, through the external key stage 4 examination results, with progress measured by the value added by schools from the end of both key stage 2 and key stage 3 to key stage 4.

9.         The model uses four groups of data:

·               level 2 threshold i.e. 5 A*-C grades at GCSE including English/Welsh and mathematics

·               capped points score

·               attendance

·               GCSE English/Welsh and mathematics average points scores

10.      The capped points score is an average of the total points awarded per pupil in GCSE and equivalent qualifications. All grades and all types of qualifications at GCSE and equivalent level count. It is capped in that the points for a total amount of learning equivalent to 8 GCSEs are counted - the ‘best 8’ only are used.

11.      The 4 elements, within each data group, that look at performance against each measure, are as follows:

·               raw performance ~ the most recent validated performance

·               performance set against FSM ~ this puts the raw performance in context using the FSM residual model ~ the difference between actual and expected achievement

·               relative progress ~ the progress made over 3 years using the residual FSM model

·               contextual value added ~ to take account of ‘distance travelled’ ~ progress between KS 2 /4 and KS 3/4

12.      Elements within each of the 4 data groups are ranked to give schools’ relative position compared to all schools in Wales.  Relative performance is ‘scored’ according to the quarter in which it falls; quarter 1 represents performance in the top 25% of schools in Wales and quarter 4 represents the lowest 25%.

13.      The elements with a group are equally weighted with the exception of the attendance group which is weighted at 50%.

14.      The scores are totalled to give a group score which are totalled to give an overall score.

15.      Band boundaries are based on the maximum and minimum overall scores possible divided equally.

16.      Vale schools' banding results and underpinning score sheets (Appendix 2) outline the overall picture, as well as the more detailed findings, in individual schools.

17.      Ysgol Bro Morganwg increased from Band 4 to Band 1.

18.      Four schools stayed the same: Bryn Hafren Band 3, Cowbridge Band 2, Llantwit Major School Band 4 and Stanwell School Band 1.

19.      Three schools decreased: Barry Comprehensive School from Band 3 to Band 5, St Cyres from Band 3 to Band 4 and St. Richard Gwyn from Band 1 to Band 3.

20.      These results correlate with existing findings and work being delivered to improve identified schools.

21.      Cabinet received a KS 4 School Performance Report in November 2013 outlining the following:

·               some significant gains and reductions in GCSE results; namely, performance gains in Bro Morgannwg, Stanwell and early indications of improvement in certain areas in Bryn Hafren and Llantwit Major School;

·               performance reductions in Barry Comprehensive and St Richard Gwyn, coupled with decreases in certain areas in Cowbridge and St Cyres; and

·               of particular concern was the decrease in performance in English GCSE and Maths GCSE Level 2 in Barry Comprehensive and St Richard Gwyn, along with the flat lining of both subjects in Llantwit and St Cyres (Maths flat-lined, decrease in English).

22.      Individual School Banding Score sheets (Appendix 3) reflect similar performance patterns to those reported in November:

·               modest progress in GCSE mathematics and attendance in Bryn Hafren;

·               a reduction in GCSE Mathematics in St Richard Gwyn;

·               modest progress in GCSE English but good progress in GCSE Mathematics and attendance in Llantwit Major School;

·               reduction in GCSE Mathematics and attendance in St Cyres School; and a

·               reduction in GCSE English, Mathematics and attendance in Barry Comprehensive School

23.      The first steps in formal and informal statutory intervention have been undertaken with identified schools.  The Directorate has worked with individual schools to agree a set of minimum performance expectations for 2014 for English GCSE and Maths GCSE, Level 2 threshold, as well as attendance.

24.      In accordance with the School Standards and Organisation Act (2013) formal warning letters to improve have been issued to Llantwit Majorl, St Cyres and Barry Comprehensive Schools.  Pre-warning letters to improve have been issued to Bryn Hafren and St Richard Gwyn schools. The content of all letters clearly set out the Council's expectations and ambition for the school and its pupils.

25.      At Cabinet's request Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee established a panel earlier this year to undertake school progress meetings: a meeting has taken place with Llantwit Major Comprehensive School.  The Scrutiny Committee plans to reconvene this meeting for Llantwit Major School as well as convene initial meetings with St Cyres, Bryn Hafren and Barry Comprehensive Schools, early in the Spring Term 2014.

26.      The Council has commissioned a school support programme for identified secondary schools from the Central South Consortium's Learning and Innovation Network for Schools (LINKS) service.

27.      The regional Joint Education Service (JES) will deliver the Council's statutory school improvement functions of challenge, monitoring and intervention.  The Council will work closely with the JES to formally monitor individual school progress against agreed expectations on a termly basis.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

28.      School support is funded from the Local Authority's 20% retained element of the School Effectiveness Grant. Statutory challenge, monitor and intervention functions are funded via a financial contribution to the regional Joint Education Service (JES) SLA for services.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

29.      There are no sustainability and climate change implications.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

30.      End of Key Stage teacher assessment are statutory obligations.

Crime and Disorder Implications

31.      There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

32.      There are no equal opportunities implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

33.      Improving outcomes and wellbeing are Corporate Improvement objectives.

Policy Framework and Budget

34.      The recommendations in this report are within the existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

35.      Not required

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

36.      Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee

Background Papers

School Standards and Organisation Act Wales (January 2013)


Contact Officer

Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion


Officers Consulted

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement

Paul Wolstenholme, Senior System Leader, Regional Joint Education Service


Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Chief Learning and Skills Officer