Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan announces secondary schools will be classed as ‘coasting’ if they fail to ensure that 60% of their pupils get five good GCSE grades.
Earlier in the year the government announced it would be targeting 1000 ‘coasting schools’ in order to raise standards. Since then, the teaching profession has been waiting for a precise definition of this term and what it means for their school.
Until now, coasting schools have been considered to be those which have shown a ‘prolonged period of mediocre performance’ or ‘insufficient pupil progress’ but no clear-cut definition has been available.
The illustrative regulations, which have now been published by the Department for Education (DfE) following Nicky Morgan’s announcement, set the ‘coasting criteria’ for primary and secondary schools.
Schools that are classed as ‘coasting’ will be asked to come up with a credible plan for improvement. This will be sent for consideration to the government’s eight regional school commissioners. If the plan is convincing, schools will be supported and offered expert help. If it’s not good enough, the school could become an academy.
Since the announcement, many school leaders believe that this forms part of the DfEs plan to automatically seek academy status for all schools that fall within the definition of coasting.
The illustrative regulation offers some clarity on the definition of a ‘coasting school’ but it doesn’t cover special schools.
The regulations are expected to come into force in 2016 following a public consultation.
The announcement came on the day that the DfE published its Academies Annual Report for the 2013/14. This boasted evidence of the positive impact academies are having on young people’s chances in life. It follows the governments previously announced plans to turn schools rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted into academies. They also promise to sweep away ‘bureaucratic and legal loopholes that previously prevented schools from being transformed.’
However, as with any change in the education sector this is a topic which often brings strong debate.