Every year, every school in Wales is judged to be in a particular support category. Various factors are involved, including how effectively a school is managed and led, the quality of teaching and learning, down to the attendance figures. We're not going to judge how fair this system is—it is what it is, and it is what we've got.
The colour of the category indicates how much support that school needs to improve—and that's support that it should get through its local authority and consortium. Green = up to 4 days. Yellow = up to 10 days. Amber = up to 15 days. Red = up to 25 days.
We've done two things. First we mapped the support categories for each local authority and for the whole of Wales. Here's the all-Wales map.
We learned a few things from the all-Wales map. For example you can see that the schools of Swansea need much less support than those in Pembrokeshire. Or that the schools of north Powys need more support than those in south Powys.
Local authority specific maps gave us more detail. Here's one for Caerphilly, which shows that there are no secondary schools in the green category and most are in amber.
What does that mean? Welsh Government may say that support categories are not league tables. But they are a system which judges a school on its management, and its teaching. And similarly judgements can be made on how well a local authority is supporting its schools if improvements do not occur.
The maps are a snapshot. We decided to see if we could spot trends. We took each support category for each school for each year from 2014 to 2018 and turned it into the maximum number of days support. This allowed us to come up with an average number of days support for primary and secondary schools for each local authority, and we could see how this changed.
Here's Blaenau Gwent's primary school support category graph. The blue line is Blaenau Gwent's and you can clearly see that overall the primary schools there need less support than they did in 2014. The schools have improved. And Blaenau Gwent's primary schools have improved at a faster rate than Wales overall (black line).
Now let's look at Wrexham's secondary schools. Here there's been no real improvement and performance has been erratic. Wrexham's secondary schools need more support than the Welsh average and on average Welsh secondary schools need more support than do Welsh primary schools.
Why not take a look at some of the authorities support category pages and see what you find out. We'd welcome your feedback.
Blaenau Gwent … Bridgend … Caerphilly … Cardiff … Carmarthenshire … Ceredigion … Conwy … Denbighshire … Flintshire … Gwynedd … Isle of Anglesey … Merthyr Tydfil … Monmouthshire … Neath Port Talbot … Newport … Pembrokeshire … Powys … Rhondda Cynon Taf … Swansea … Torfaen … Vale of Glamorgan … Wrexham