Plaid Cymru urges rethink on banding



Simon Thomas warns of ‘destructive’ policy

Plaid Cymru’s Education spokesperson Simon Thomas AM has urged the Welsh Government once again to revise plans on school banding in favour of a fairer system.  The implementation of school banding is too similar to league tables, he says, and will have equally damaging results.

Leading a debate in the Assembly, Mr Thomas told members that banding offers a narrow view of a school’s performance, and that condensing a school’s performance into a single number was sure to paint a distorted picture of the education system in Wales.

Plaid Cymru has put forward a system whereby parents will receive annual reports on the performance of the school is introduced. This system will keep parents informed of the strengths and weaknesses of each school, without stigmatisation.

Plaid Cymru’s Education spokesperson Simon Thomas AM said:

"The Labour Education Minister has himself recognised that league tables are destructive, yet he continues to press ahead to implement them under another name. Education unions are against school banding, and following the publication of these bands there is increasing concern that the stigma is already beginning to take effect.

"We have warned the Labour government about a number of problems regarding this policy. The fact that many primary schools will be exempt will distort the figures. This policy will isolate the worst performing schools, but as yet we have not been given any suggestion of how the government will help schools in the lowest bands.Setting schools against each other in this way is destructive.

"We have called for a constructive evaluation process to be established, where independent reports would offer a fair overview of a school’s performance without naming and shaming. We want the Education Minister to adopt this constructive approach, and not continue to pursue his destructive policies."