BBC reveals school banding scores

Ysgol Tryfan in Bangor is ranked with the best score

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BBC Wales can reveal the exact scores for secondary schools as part of the Welsh government's new banding system.

Ysgol Tryfan in Bangor, Gwynedd, has the best score and Llanrumney High in Cardiff has the lowest score.

Since December, schools have been placed within one of five bands within the controversial new system.

The government has now released a detailed breakdown under the Freedom of Information Act, following a request from the BBC.

BBC Wales has produced a ranking of the schools using the data provided.

The information gives parents further detail on the position of their children's school within the system.

Ysgol Tryfan recorded the highest mark in each of the 12 categories which make up the banding system.

These include exam performance, but are also weighted for attendance, improvement, and the number of pupils on free school meals.

How secondary school banding works

The system works on five bands, with band one being the highest scoring schools and five the lowest.

The total score each school gets is based upon marks for pupils' GCSE results and their attendance levels.

The number eligible for free school meals is also taken into account, to allow for the challenges of running a school in a deprived area.

Most of the categories also take into account a school's progress over time, rewarding schools that are making improvements in performance.

Schools in the top bands will be expected to share their success and help develop better approaches in other schools.

Local authorities will also use the system to target improvement resources on the schools that need it most.

The school bands will be updated every year.

These are added together to give an overall figure which determines in which band a school should be placed.

Bishop Gore School in Swansea received the second best score, with Dyffryn School in Neath Port Talbot third.

The schools with the lowest scores are Llanrumney High School in Cardiff, Willows High School, also in Cardiff and Daniel James Community School in Swansea.

Education Minister Leighton Andrews says the banding system, which he published last December, is necessary to identify and target schools which need the most help to improve.

But he insists they are not league tables or a means of "naming and shaming" weaker schools.

Banding in primary schools in Wales is currently being developed.

The teaching union NUT Cymru repeated its calls for banding to be scrapped, saying it feared it would "lead to a cycle of decline in Welsh schools for which there could be no escape".

The head teachers' union, NAHT Cymru, said they did not tell the whole story of what schools were about.

Plaid Cymru called for a fairer system, saying the bands were league tables "under another name".

The Welsh government said banding was "at the heart of our school improvement agenda and will give us and parents a clear picture of how secondary schools in Wales are performing."

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