National Gradings - Some proposals from Paddy

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Paddy Flower, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    There has been a general theme running through a lot of recent threads here and it questions things like the size of certain sections, how many bands should qualify for the finals, whether or not Kapitol will permit a region to promote and relegate ‘unevenly’ in order to ‘even-up’ anomolies in their numbers as well as how can we keep bands contesting (especially in the Fourth Section).

    Nobody likes being stuck in a 20-odd band Fourth section when the talent around the stand would be better suited to Third or even Second section banding (are those players going to stay the 3 years?).

    By the same token nobody likes having to work up an area piece that is clearly beyond the standard of their band, “Wouldn’t it be easier if we just withdraw this year and got relegated”.
  2. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    I think there’s a huge disparity of standard in some regions compared to others. The obvious example to hold up here is the North-West area. One of the strongest championship sections yes, but HEAD and SHOULDERS ahead of the other 7 when it comes to the general standard of their lower section bands. This is borne out not only when you look at how they as a region get on when competing outside of the National Championship contests, but also their terrific recent record at the Lower Section Finals, something that will continue throughout the foreseeable future I think.

    Let’s take the leading THREE active Fourth section bands in the country at the moment (IMHO). They are all in the North-West and by happily coincidence made up the 1-2-3 at this year’s area, I am of course referring to Besses’ Boys, Boarshurst Silver and Ramsey Town. As you know I extensively research results to get a fairly accurate reflection of form and I can tell you that these 3 bands are of at least equal if not a better standard than SIX First Section bands from other areas that I could name (but won’t).

    I have lots of these shocking examples but in the spirit of not wanting outright war, I’ll keep them to myself (but I’m sure other Brass Band stattos know what I’m talking about).
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  3. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    So what’s to be done?
    Should we even up the number of bands in each section NATIONALLY not by region?
    I say “yes”, but how can we achieve this?

    My proposal may take a few years to filter it’s way through to the desired outcome but nothing worth doing should be rushed, see what you think…

    Firstly how many qualifying places should be given to each area? Well there are approximately 100 bands per section (1st-4th) at the moment so why not aim for 20+ in each of the Lower Section Finals. That means at least 1 in 5 would qualify every year. This means that if the area qualifier has…
    1-6 bands - ONE qualifies
    7-11 bands - TWO
    12-16 bands - THREE
    17-21 bands - FOUR
    22+ bands - FIVE

    If this was effective this year we would have 20 First Section, 22 (Second),20 (Third) & 25 Fourth section finalists.

    L&SC: 14 (Lower Section) finalists from 65 entries
    Midlands: 13 from 64
    North: 6 from 29
    North-West: 13 from 62
    Scotland: 9 from 40
    Wales: 7 from 33
    West: 14 from 63
    Yorkshire: 11 from 46
  4. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    At the other end of things EVERY region relegates based on the 3 year model used by the Scottish area (see to see how they do it).

    Again, how many they relegate should depend on how many there are in that section. I think 15 (out of 100) should go down nationally so…
    1-9 bands - ONE goes down
    10-18 - TWO
    19+ - THREE

    With 15 bands down we need to promote 15 bands back up and I propose that they should be the top-15 at the Finals. This way we can have consistency among the standard of the promoted bands. If FOUR go up from the West of England or North-West area it’s because they merited it, only ONE goes up from Yorkshire or Wales again it’s because they were the only band from that region that merited the promotion on the day.

    A variation on this could be that each region ALWAYS relegates TWO regardless of section size, with the top-16 at The Finals gaining promotion.
  5. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    My basic proposal is that we should continue to use The Areas (and only The Areas) for relegation BUT The Finals (and only The Finals) for promotion.

    Within 5 years we would have ended the days of huge differences in the standard of a band from ‘region A’ vs a band from ‘region B’. Bands would feel more comfortable with the pieces they are being asked to play and Fourth section bands would (I hope) be back in numbers and not considering moves across the county lines in frustration at their promotion prospects where they are.

    I know this is a radical proposal, I also know that Kapitol aren’t going to listen to the opinions of the anonymous Paddy Flower but perhaps if there’s enough agreement here on tMP, who knows, someone might like to take the idea forward officially.

    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  6. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Not so. In fact, it is ONLY the Scottish region that relegates based on a weighted average, in my understanding. All the rest of us just tot up the three placings. I'd prefer something similar to the Scottish system, personally - and would also prefer a weighted three-year average for promotions too, but it isn't how it is.

    Give us a chance to digest the rest, will come back to this...
  7. Paddy Flower

    Paddy Flower Active Member

    Hi Dave, I think you misunderstood my context. It's my proposal that all areas use the Scottish model.

    So we're in agreement, happy days!! :p
  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Oh I see! Silly me...
  9. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Obviously a lot of thinking has gone into thism,but I am very wary of the number of bands qualifying. There have on occassion been National Finals, which have finished at 1am on the Monday Morning - Torquay 2002, and getting on for 11pm Sunday evening -Harrogate last year. The number of bands that you would see at the finals, could end up making it a three day weekend. With work and school added to the mix, I think there would be a few declines to take up the offer of a place at the finals.

    Other than that I think the prom/relegation certainly needs looking at. Even if you are at the top of your game in the second section, qualifying the first year up from the 3rd sectionyou probably wouldn't want to bounce straight up to the 1st section, and then get an almighty smack in the gob. I.E., The Once and Future King to Kingdom of Dragons to Carnival Romaine in three area contests. Mr Baker's piece is nearer to Mr Harper's piece, but Mr Harper's piece is a country mile from the Berlioz.

    If we are to use the Scottish method where each year is weighted differently, and the top two get promoted, then this could also see rapid rises through the ranks.

    That's enough rambling on this subject. I'm off to the local hostelry :guiness
  10. davethehorny

    davethehorny Member

    A very interesting proposal Paddy - and seemingly well thought out (still thinking about some of it)

    I agree that promotion and relegation by area leads to very strong lower sections in certain areas and weak areas elsewhere.

    Using my own band as an example, we twice qualified for the National Finals after finishing 3rd both times at the Areas. At the finals our results2004 & 2005 finishing 10th and 13th but didn't achieve promotion either year. In 2006 we only were placed 6th at the Areas but then got promoted.

    What your method would ensure is that a band playing well above their current ranking would move up more quickly hopefully leaving a more level playing field beneath them

    My only concern with the method you have used for promotion is that a rogue result (some may call it bad adjudication) may lead to a band not qualifying for the finals and therefore not being eligible for promotion. We often hear of bands being told by people in the hall they have won by miles only to finish lower down the order.

    Do we, however, run the risk of sections in weak areas eventually ending up with only 6 bands in Sections 1 & 2 and lots of bands in Sections 3 & 4 even if they are of similar standard?
  11. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member

    You are very obviously a man passionate about his banding, and the future of banding in general and i for one applaud you.
    Everything you propose makes absolute sense, and would i believe create the desired outcomes albeit in the fullness of time as you suggest.
    I have been fortunate enough to have a band who has been the doormat of the 4th section historically, and who have recently undergone a period of renaisance and become very lucky as the youngsters i have invested time and effort in have flourished.
    Your proposals would ensure that bands with progressive profiles are promoted on merit and not merely on numbers.
    We are all in this game, i think, to make the best music possible, at the level most appropriate to our levels of competence, and as you obviously are fully aware, those levels of competence fluctuate year on year particularly at the grass roots level as Hazel Grove (great band) and Besses Boys (another great band) have demonstrated just recently.
    Paddy for President!! Vote for Paddy!!:clap::clap:
    Happy Banding
  12. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Why should it be up to a contest promoter, and a private company, to determine the gradings of bands?
  13. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    In the Scottish Model we do relegate based on three years points. Its only recently that we adopted the weighted average of points to give a higher importance to a bands more recent results. Other than that its the same as England.

    Its in promotion where we seem to have it wrong, in my opinion. In Scotland the top two places in the Scottish Championship automatically get promotion, as opposed to England where its aggregated over three years results. This means that a band can get two lower half results in the preceding two years and yet they can be promoted on the third year if they finish in the top two. I have always thought that this puts us at a disadvantage nationally, which seems to be borne out in the National results. It also means that we get a lot of yo-yo bands who gain promotion but aren't strong enough to compete in the higher section so they subsequently go back down the next year.
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... are you thinking of this year's results in particular? Remember, the band in question was drawn no.1 (if I remember correctly) in the preceding two years.
  15. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Not at all Ton. I've felt for years that automatic promotion in Scotland puts us at a disadvantage in the national finals. English bands have to prove their merit over three years to gain promotion. I think that strengthens the overall standard of their sectional setup.
  16. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Fair does John. I've always felt the top section in Scotland is a little too cut throat because of it's size. The threat of relegation (even with the three year aggregate) is too real and worrysome for a good few bands, as you know.
  17. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    not for the next two years. Still cheesing'

    :) :) :)
  18. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... and now the (really) hard work begins lol! ;)
  19. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I like the idea of using the sole annual national reference as a normalisation between areas for promotion within each section. Ideally, something similar would hold for relegation (a 'play-off' scenario), but this would be a bit dispiriting to implement... Thus, I think judging relegations within each area (as you suggest retaining) the only practical scheme.

    I don't like the idea of having so many bands in each section at the finals as you suggest. There are a couple of objections that spring to mind: i) Ordering so many bands always means that some results come out looking strange; and ii) The lower section finals often overrun already, making for uncomfortably late finishes. Your scheme seems to depend on having a larger number of bands playing at the finals than is comfortable - how would you alter it if the number of bands at the finals was kept to a more manageable 15 per section? Maybe the winners of each area plus the seven highest-placed non-winners at the finals?

    I also don't like the fact that bands would be forced to attend the finals in order to be considered for promotion. Every year there is substantial grumbling from competitors about the cost of attending the lower section finals, and (I think?) several bands don't attend, on grounds of not being able to afford the travel and accommodation. The compromise idea I suggested at the end of the previous paragraph would mitigate this, and also keep the normalising effect that you have designed in, albeit in a less strong form.

    The advantage of the 3-year unweighted aggregate is that it mitigates the possibility of a newly-promoted/relegated band fluking a good/bad result, and thus getting promoted/relegated again straight away, into a completely inappropriate section. This scenario is seen with some regularity in Scotland now, where bands can thunder their way up and down the sections much faster than they do elsewhere. For my money, the system we use elsewhere has too much inertia - it takes too long to get into a more deserved section - but the Scottish relegation system doesn't quite have enough. Perhaps if one were to weight the years more like 1, 2, 2 than 0.5, 1, 2, then it would be closer to perfect?
  20. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    It isn't!
    Kapitol "own" the national rules (which include the guidelines for 3 years aggregate points, 2 up 2 down etc) but my understanding of those rules is that the gradings and appeals are governed by the regional committees, which are made up of elected representatives.

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