Today the government has launched its formal consultation on the definition of a coasting school and new powers of intervention for coasting and failing schools.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, says: "We welcome the opportunity to provide feedback on this, as there are substantial areas of concern. On the one hand, we are reassured by comments to the effect that, 'where a coasting school can demonstrate that it can improve sufficiently, it should be allowed to do so.' There is not a default presumption of academisation. Nonetheless, the judgement is at the discretion of the regional schools commissioner and we need more transparency and consistency about how these decisions will be made fairly.
"On the other hand, we are also told 'a higher progress bar will be set for the coasting criteria in 2016 than for the floor standard'. This is of serious concern. The floor for progress is already over 90% and there is no real room for an increase. We are also already in the academic year leading to 2016 results. The government has promised not to introduce major changes with a notice of less than one academic year. This decision seems in conflict with that.
"In our response, NAHT will be pushing for open, fair and stable criteria for decision making so that we can be clear what will free a school from the threat of intervention - enabling school leaders to focus on raising standards. We will look for proper consultation with the school and its community. Forcing solutions on schools often leads to delay and alienation. Above all, we will ask the government to reduce its over reliance on sanctions and focus on building capacity, investing instead in the quality of teaching. This is what makes the difference in the long run."
Page Published: 22/10/2015