Consultation starts on measures for taking over failing and coasting schools

The Guardian is reporting that Nicky Morgan has launched a consultation on introducing tough measures to intervene and take over failing and coasting schools, with a strong attack on those who campaign against academies.

…The Department for Education (DfE) said the aim was to “sweep away the bureaucracy previously exploited by opponents with ideological objections who could delay or obstruct the process by which academy sponsors take over to improve the running of schools”.

In an outspoken attack, later condemned by the National Union of Teachers, Morgan said: “For too long campaigners have deployed underhand tactics, spread malicious rumours and intimidated parents in order to deny children the opportunity of success.

“Our new measures will allow teachers to get on with the job of improving failing schools and deliver on our commitment to extend opportunity and deliver real social justice.”

The DfE issued a press release in which Morgan backed headteachers speaking out against “hostile” opponents to academies, accusing them of seeking to “deny children the opportunity of success”.

One headteacher quoted in the statement said campaigners “scared and intimidated” parents who supported a move to become an academy. There were also claims that another school was physically attacked several times by protesters who did not want it to be taken over by the Harris Federation and turned into an academy.

The DfE is also seeking views on the much-contested definition of what constitutes a “coasting” school. Those deemed to be coasting for three consecutive years will also be eligible for intervention, though help will be offered first before academy sponsors move in.

According to the government’s proposed definition, a coasting secondary school will be one that falls below 60% of pupils achieving five good GCSEs or an above-average proportion of pupils making acceptable progress in 2014/5.

From 2016, the level will be set based on Progress 8 – the government’s new accountability measure, which shows how much progress pupils make between the end of primary school and their GCSEs.

At primary level, the definition will apply to those schools who have seen fewer than 85% of children achieving an acceptable secondary ready standard in reading, writing and maths over the course of three years, and insufficient pupil progress…

More at: Consultation starts on measures for taking over failing and coasting schools


See more on this from the DfE at: Intervening in failing, underperforming and coasting schools or read the documents below:

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Strong words from Nicky Morgan and the DfE about those campaigning against academy conversion.

Your feedback and reactions, either to the comments or the documents above?

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  1. Nairb1

    ‘ … opponents with ideological objections who could delay … ‘ while those with an ideological obsession with imposing academies become Secretary of State.
    So Nicky Morgan, an expert in the misuse of statistics accuses others of using ‘underhand tactics …’.

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Do realise that “consultation” does not mean you’ll be listened too; it’s a legal to requirement to consult, not to listen

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Not sure why Morgan doesn’t say: we’ll force all schools to become academies whether they want to or not. At least be honest

  4. The embargoed press release was headed ‘Headteachers Hit Back at Enemies of Academies’.  But this wasn’t the one that was eventually published by the DfE.  The published press release toned down (a bit) accusations which implied opponents of conversion were intimidating mobs.  
    The three case studies remained however.  All three were actually improving according to Ofsted monitoring before the DfE announced they would become academies.  In order to justify the enforced conversion inspectors conveniently returned to two of the schools, reversed their monitoring judgement and declared them Inadequate.  Such about-turns bring Ofsted into disrepute.
    The DfE was particularly scathing about Hewett School now taken over by Inspiration Trust.  It said it had been in special measures twice in ten years.  But it overlooked the three Satisfactory and one Good judgements in the same time scale.  Dame Rachel de Souza of Inspiration said opponents spread ‘misinformation’.  That accusation can be made about the DfE.  
    More info here:

  5. TW

    “For too long campaigners have deployed underhand tactics, spread malicious rumours and intimidated parents in order to deny children the opportunity of success.”

    Tory-speak for ‘people told truth about fraudulent claims from Government’.  The Government can’t win the argument with truth so its relying on straightforward deceit and bullying.

  6. gcooksey

    SchoolsImprove surely it would make efficient sense to just pull the tooth rather than protractedly wobble it to the point of breaking.

  7. In another post today the new head of Eton says:

    whole point of school is to prepare young people for happiness and success in
    their personal lives and working lives,” 


    MPs who were at Eton should go back there and learn that education is much more
    than the current measures being imposed on state schools through the exam
    results criteria for coasting.

  8. Steps_2_Work

    SchoolsImprove my school – better av progress, last OFSTED good – Letter from LEA – not on target for new 85% goal post – academy o’ clock

  9. MadgeJesss

    SchoolsImprove Coasting was originally used for schools with better intake that were resting on the laurels of their intake.

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