Confusion over ‘coasting’ definition sparks concern in schools

The TES is reporting that teachers and school leaders have warned that a lack of clarity about how schools will be defined as “coasting” could raise unnecessary fears following the Queen’s Speech yesterday…

…TES understands the Department for Education’s definition will include those with relatively good results but low levels of pupil progress. Ofsted results, pupil attainment and the progress of disadvantaged groups are also set to be judged.

The definition of a “coasting” school will be set by the DfE, but decisions about interventions are expected to be taken by the eight regional schools commissioners. 

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers’ union, told TES: “A more humane approach would be to define the term before using it, otherwise you risk making everybody afraid that they’re going to be included in it.

“If you want to form better relationships with the profession, being really clear about who you’re going to target and who you’re not would be a good step.”

Mr Hobby said he expected the first schools to be targeted would be those in Ofsted’s “requires improvement” category whose pupils were making low levels of progress…

But Anne Heavey, education policy adviser at the ATL teaching union, said others, including grammar schools, could be targeted…

More at: Confusion over ‘coasting’ definition sparks concern in schools


So really we are none the wiser after the Queen’s Speech: “coasting” schools will be targeted but we don’t know how they will be defined.

Is it a fundamental error by the government and DfE to have done it this way round or is it inevitable they need to announce the bigger picture first and then the detail?

If you were in charge, what would be the key factors you would be looking at when defining a school as “coasting”?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Policy.


  1. ‘Coasting’ will mean whatever the Regional Commissioners, politicians and academy brokers says it means.  No school less than Good will be safe; no school where results remain the same (even if these were high a proportion reaching the benchmark) or, worse, dropping even a tiny bit.
    It’s a cynical ploy to enforce conversion on to every school in England.  Yet academies are no more successful than non-academies – and the policy costs billions.  

    So why the haste?  It’s to allow schools to outsource their running to for-profit providers.  Gove said he would be happy to let groups like SERCO run schools (speech to Policy Exchange before 2010 election).  It’s likely this will now happen.

  2. motiv8222

    SchoolsImprove What a Banal statement … surely a Govt has a duty to inspire, support, develop and improve ALL schools ?

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