Agenda Item No 7


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 9 February 2015


Report of the Director of Learning and Skills


National Categorisation - Outcomes for Vale Schools


Purpose of the Report

1.         To advise Members of the categorisation of Vale schools following the national categorisation process.


1.         To note the categorisation of Vale schools.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.         To advise Members of the categorisation of Vale schools


2.         National categorisation is a new three step process that results in each school being assigned to a category.  This category indicates where the school is on its improvement journey and the level of challenge/support required to ensure its further improvement. Categorisation replaces the former banding of secondary schools and the regional arrangements for categorising schools as A, B, C or D.

3.         The first step in the process is the assigning of the school to one of four standards groups, 1-4. This is determined by The Welsh Government using a range of data. Details can be found in Appendix 1a for Primary and Appendix 1b for Secondary. The second step is to assign the school to one of four groups, A-D that reflects the school's ability to improve. This is determined by the school's Challenge Adviser based on a range of evidence, including the school's improvement processes. The third step uses the outcomes of the first two steps to determine the category and resulting level of support/challenge needed.  The categories are: Green, Yellow, Amber or Red.

4.         Definition Of Categories:

Green Categorisation – these are the best schools who:

  • know themselves well and identify and implement their own priorities for improvement;
  • have resilience within the staff team;
  • are rewarded by greater autonomy;
  • will be challenged to move towards or sustain excellence; and
  • have the capacity to lead others effectively (school to school support).

Yellow Categorisation – these are our good schools who:

  • will know and understand most of the areas in need of improvement;
  • have many aspects of the school's performance which are self-improving; and
  • will receive bespoke challenge and support deployed according to need.

Amber Categorisation – these are the schools in need of improvement who:

  • do not know and understand all the areas in need of improvement;
  • have many aspects of the school's performance which are not improving quickly enough;
  • will receive bespoke challenge and intervention deployed according to need
  • will receive an automatic letter from consortium;
  • self-evaluation and school improvement plan will be signed off by the consortium;
  • will be expected to remain in an amber category for only the short-term; and
  • will receive time limited, focused challenge and intervention to support improvement.

Red Categorisation – these are the schools in need of greatest improvement who:

  • will receive critical intervention;
  • receive an automatic warning letter from LA and subsequent use of statutory powers where necessary;
  • trigger intensive and effective collaboration between LA and consortium;
  • trigger the all-Wales common school causing concern arrangements; and  
  • will lose autonomy and be subject to a more directed approach.

5.         Following categorisation of a school the Local Authority and Joint Education Service agree a bespoke programme of support, challenge and intervention. Those schools categorise as amber and red receive a greater level of support than those categorised as yellow or green.  Details are provided in Appendix 2 which is taken from the Central South Consortium's Framework For Challenge and Support.

Relevant Issues and Options

6.         The position of Vale schools on the grid used within the national categorisation    process is provided within Appendix 3. The standards group and capacity to improve are plotted along the y and x axis respectively to determine the level of school's category.

7.         The categorisation for each of the schools within the Vale of Glamorgan is provided in Appendix 4.

8.         New schools, pupil referral units and nursery schools do not have a standards group as the data needed to determine the group is not available. Their capacity to improve and category is determined by the Challenge Advisor.

9.         Of the 54 Vale schools assigned to a standards group, 20.35% are in group 1, 48.1% in group 2, 27.75% in group 3 and 3.7% in group 4. (Where one school represents 1.85%.)

10.      With regards to the schools' capacity to improve, of the 60 schools (Each school represents 1.66%) 34.86% are judged to be A, 48.14% B, 16.6% C and no schools judged as D.

11.      Within the Vale of Glamorgan 31.4% of 60 schools are Category Green, 39.84% Yellow, 24.9% Amber and 3.3% Red. (Where each school represents 1.66%.)

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.      Statutory challenge, monitor and intervention functions are funded via a financial contribution to the Joint Education Service.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.      There are no sustainability and climate change implications.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

The categorisation process may trigger statutory intervention as set out in the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013.


Crime and Disorder Implications

14.      There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.      There are no equal opportunities implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

16.      To support and challenge schools and settings to improve the range of teaching and learning in order to increase achievement.

Policy Framework and Budget

17.      The recommendations of this report are within existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

18.      Not required.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

19.      Lifelong Learning

Background Papers



Contact Officer

Mike Glavin, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion


Officers Consulted

Meryl Plumber, Lead Officer for School Improvement.

Paul Wolstenholme, Senior Challenge Adviser, Regional Joint Education Service


Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills