Ranking of traffic lights for schools removed by Welsh Government

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A traffic light system used to assess school performance has been scrapped by the Welsh government, after being halted during the pandemic.

The Welsh Government has released a new framework for measuring school performance, replacing the national categorization system.

Previously, schools were ranked by one of four colors – red, orange, yellow and green – to measure their performance.

Welsh Education Minister Jeremy Miles said the new system, which will come into effect alongside the new curriculum in September, “sets out clear expectations so that every pupil is properly supported”.

Wales Education Minister Jeremy Miles
Wales Education Minister Jeremy Miles

According to the Welsh Government, the color coding system will be replaced by a “robust” self-assessment system, which will see schools create their own development plans.

These plans will focus on well-being and improvement, with input from local authorities.

The Welsh Government has also said the new system will allow parents to access more ‘up-to-date’ and ‘detailed’ information, with each school’s priorities and development plan being made public.

Estyn School Inspectorate will also carry out more regular inspections from September 2024 as part of the changes.

In a statement, the Welsh Government said: ‘Assessment should be used in the best interest of pupils, enabling teachers to adjust teaching strategies to support their progress.’

Education Minister Mr Miles said: “By putting learner progression at the heart of our reforms, we will help every learner reach their full potential.

“By ending national categorization, we are doing two things. First, replace it with a framework defining clear expectations so that each student is properly supported.

“And second, to provide better and more up-to-date information on each school’s improvement plans, so that the focus is on learner progress rather than credential descriptions.”

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Mr Miles said he was “confident that this framework will encourage greater collaboration between schools, which will provide high standards and aspirations for all our learners and support their well-being”.

Owen Evans, Chief Inspector at Estyn, welcomed the changes and said: “We will continue to inspect schools and make judgments based on a wide range of evidence and information, covering the extent of activity school.”

Mr Evans also said schools would be monitored if the standards “are not high enough”.

However, South Wales East Senedd Regional Member Laura Anne Jones, who is the Conservative Shadow Education Minister, said the changes were ‘complex of risks’.

Ms Jones said: ‘A colour-coded system is simple, but each category should have had a much clearer explanation from the Welsh Government.

“Implementing a ‘self-assessment’ system is fraught with risk, and there needs to be strong oversight for it to work in the best interests of students.

“I don’t have much faith in Labor – under their watch the Welsh education system is the worst performing in the UK and is consistently underfunded.”

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