NUT: Secondary banding farce shows importance of scrapping plans for primary banding

Wales' largest union for qualified teachers has reiterated its call for primary school banding to be scrapped.  NUT Cymru says that the baffling and misleading results seen at secondary level totally undermined the credibility of the system.

NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said;

"Let’s be honest, the banding results published in December were a farce.  There is little or no confidence in the system from those actually working in classrooms across Wales.  To see results that send a school previously ranked the best in Wales to band 4, or a school placed in band 3 in the same year as it receives a sector leading Estyn inspection, is ridiculous.  The whole system lacks any credibility and is causing immense damage to teaching morale and standards.

"We have to recognise the impact this system is having on schools in the secondary sector. It cannot be appropriate to extend the practice to also hit children, teachers and pupils in the primary system.  This league table judgment totally contradicts the ethos of the foundation phase that primary education in Wales is based upon.

"The Welsh Government has to rethink plans to implement primary banding or risk putting primary schools under the sort of pressure that will break the system."

NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, added;

“The primary banding system is one that is pretty much universally opposed.  Very few people outside the Welsh Government’s education department have any confidence in its value.  The fact that we are seeing the reintroduction of SATs at a primary level, simply as a way to band schools, shows how misguided the approach is.

“Primary bandings are not due to come into effect until 2014.  There is still plenty of time for the Welsh Government to reconsider the policy.  We know this was a manifesto commitment for Labour but there is an opportunity to show leadership on this issue and scrap the proposal.  Implementing something that is going to damage children’s education, simply because it was a past commitment, is not something teachers or parents will appreciate in the long-run.

“We all share the Welsh Government’s ambitions for education.  It is something we are keen to work with them to achieve.  However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that those aspirations will not be met while banding is in place.”

Contact: Owen Hathway, NUT Cymru, Ty Sinnott, 18 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff CF24 5PJ.  Tel: 029 20491818. Mob: 07921 146 442 e-mail:  cymru.wales@nut.org.uk