Government reforms to target ‘coasting’ schools

More schools in England are to be taken out of local council control and given new leadership as academies, under powers to be outlined in the Queen’s Speech.

The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, says schools classed as “coasting” will face quicker direct intervention by the government.

She said where schools do not have a plan to help students progress, the government would intervene.

The Department for Education said new teams of top head teachers would be brought in to oversee changes at schools.

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Ms Morgan said: “Our big priorities will be to speed up the process for tackling failing schools; extend our academies programme to tackle ‘coasting’ schools; and deliver on our commitment to open new free schools.

“First, we will take new powers to step in from the moment that a school is found to be failing.

“From day one, Regional Schools Commissioners will be able to bring in new leadership and support from other excellent schools and heads, and we will speed up the process of turning schools into academies to make sure that new expert leadership is found for all schools that need it as quickly as possible.

“Second, we’ll introduce new powers to intervene not just in failing schools, but in ‘coasting’ schools – with a clear message that it is not ok to be just above the level of failing.”

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said the announcement gave a “worrying impression about the state of England’s education system.”

“It is worth reminding ourselves then that about 80 per cent of our schools are rated as “good” or “outstanding” at any one time, and that this achievement is the result of a remarkable amount of hard work and dedication by school leaders and teaching staff,” he said.

“As school leaders, we share the government’s commitment to making sure every school delivers the best possible education in what is already a strong and rapidly improving system. However, we have misgivings about the proposals unveiled on Sunday.”

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