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Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education

First published:
31 January 2019
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The National School Categorisation System  provides a clear picture of how well schools in Wales are performing. Today the support categories for primary and secondary schools have been published for a fifth year. 

The purpose of the categorisation system is to identify the level of support our schools need to improve. It offers a holistic approach to school improvement, which allows the context of the school and a broad range of information to be taken into account when determining a judgement on the school`s self-evaluation and capacity to improve. 

The system evaluates and assesses schools and places them in a support category using the following process: 

  • 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; and inform the starting point of discussions with their regional consortium challenge advisor about their performance and areas for improvement; 
  • Step Two: assessment of the schools’ self-evaluation by challenge advisers in the regional consortia;
  • Step Three: after the outcome indicators and self-evaluation information have been analysed, a draft support category is agreed in discussion with the school. This category is moderated by the local authority and regional education consortium, verified nationally, and leads to a colour-coded support category for the school which will trigger a tailored programme of support, challenge and intervention.

The process has not changed from last year. We have made available refreshed guidance which sets out the categorisation process in more detail.

The figures we have published today show that 88.4 per cent of primary schools and 69.4 per cent of secondary schools are now in the green and yellow categories. 

I’m encouraged that the percentage of schools in the green category has gone from 35.4 per cent last year to 41.6 per cent this year. This tells a story of school improvement that needs to be recognised and bodes well for the new curriculum. These schools will have a key role to play in supporting other schools in Wales, by sharing their expertise, skills, and good practice. In this way they will be making a vital contribution to driving forward improvements in Wales and moving us towards a truly self-improving system. 

The publication of these outcomes today is a strong indicator of the supportive and collaborative system that we are building in Wales and will ensure that schools, and ultimately learners, are given the right support at the right time to enable them raise standards for all.

As in previous years, my officials will work with the regional consortia to review the categorisation process. This year, I have asked them consider whether, and how, it may need to evolve to work within with the proposed new Evaluation and Improvement arrangements.  I will make a further announcement on these arrangements in the coming weeks.