Challenges and triumphs as Bridgend school performance to be discussed

(Title Image: Wales Online)

Later this week, a Bridgend Council scrutiny committee will discuss a report on the performance of schools in the county (pdf).

Here’s a summary of the key points.

School Categorisation

Schools in Wales are placed into four colour-coded categories by the Welsh Government which determines how much support a particular school needs to maintain or improve upon its current performance:

  • Green – A highly effective school requiring the minimum level of support at 4 days.
  • Yellow – An effective school which requires up to 10 days of support.
  • Amber – A school in need of improvement and requiring additional support of up to 15 days.
  • Red – A school which requires urgent improvement and more intensive support of up to 25 days; schools in this category are often at risk of being placed into special measures.

The report provided figures for the last three years (2015-16 to 2017-18). Support is offered by the Central South regional consortium.

Schools which have improved their school category by at least one place over the last three years

  • Primary: Brackla, Caerau, Corneli, Mynydd Cynffig, Newton, Ysgol Cwm Garw
  • Secondary: Archbishop McGrath RC High, Coleg y Dderwen, Porthcawl, Ysgol Bryn Castell

Schools which have dropped at least one school category over the last three years

  • Primary: Archdeacon John Lewis, Brynmenyn, Coety, Llangynwyd, Nantyfyllon, Nottage, Ogmore Vale, Penyfai, Plasnewydd, Tremains, Tynyrheol, Ysgol Bro Ogwr
  • Secondary: Cynffig, Maesteg

The Public Referral Unit has improved, rising from Amber to Yellow.

By my count, 17 primary and secondary schools maintained a Green category for each of the last three academic years.

The only schools which were placed in the Red category for 2017-18 were: Plasnewydd Primary, Ogmore Vale Primary and Tynyrheol Primary.

The next set of school categories are due for release sometime in February 2019.

In what ways are Bridgend’s schools doing well?

  • All but two secondary schools (Brynteg & Pencoed) have increased their A*-E pass rate at A-Level; 6 schools have 100% pass rates.
  • Bridgend schools have improved their overall national rankings with regard GCSE pass rates, including good pass rates (5 GCSEs at grades A*-C).
  • The proportion of pupils achieving Level 5 or above at Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) is generally exceeding expectations, particularly during 2016-17.

What are the key challenges facing Bridgend’s schools?

  • Bridgend secondary schools have slipped 7 places down the national rankings for GCSE science.
  • Primary schools are performing below targets for Foundation Phase (Reception-Year 2) and for pupils achieving a Level 4 or above at Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) – but performance is generally good.
  • The proportion of secondary pupils achieving Level 5+, Level 6+ and Level 7+ at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) have fallen short of targets by a fair margin.
  • Areas identified as in need of additional support include: verbal reasoning & vocabulary development, reading comprehension, understanding and presenting graphs and data, the under-achievement of boys, stretching more-able pupils and subject leadership. The report outlines in some detail what particular types of support have been offered by the regional consortium.
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