The major policy challenge of raising attainment in Welsh secondary schools has persisted throughout the past decade. Given that the early years of secondary school lay the foundations for future examination performance, the apparent dip in pupil performance between the ages of 11 (end of Key Stage 2) and 14 (end of Key stage 3) gives particular cause for concern.
Yet there is hope. This book profiles five Welsh schools that maintain their pupils' progression throughout Key Stage 3. Separately, each case study provides detailed insight into the individualised strategies employed by these schools. Collectively, they reveal five factors common to the schools' success, each of which is characterised by a number of commonalities in its implementation.
The combination of in-depth case studies and synthesis of the key features aims to provide practitioners and policy makers with a new level of information about good practice in Welsh schools.
The findings also have implications for future education policy. The principal message is that a balance must be struck between central monitoring of targets and autonomy at the school level over how those targets are met.