Green light to scrap floor and coasting standards

Plan to use Ofsted 'requires improvement' to trigger school support backed – and DfE says it will not delay assistance

Martin George

The Department for Education is scrapping the floor and coasting measures

Plans to scrap the floor and coasting standards that are used to hold schools to account will go ahead after receiving strong support in a Department for Education consultation.

The two measures, which are both based on data, will be replaced by Ofsted’s "requires improvement" judgement as the trigger for a government offer of support to struggling schools.

The government announced the proposal to use the RI rating in this way in its teacher recruitment strategy in January, as part of an effort to simplify the school accountability system.

Quick read: Hinds to replace 'confusing' floor and coasting standards

Accountability: Heads want 'requires improvement' to replace floor standards

Ofsted: 'Good' schools may be 'coasting', too

In a response to the consultation, published today, the DfE dismisses concerns that the length of time between Ofsted inspections could delay some schools getting support they need.

In the consultation, which received 267 responses, 82 per cent of people supported the use of the RI judgement to identify schools that are eligible for a DfE offer of support.

The importance of Ofsted judgements

The same proportion of respondents agreed that the floor and coasting standards should be scrapped.

Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) said they saw no disadvantage to scrapping the two measures.

In its response, the DfE says: “From the next academic year, we will no longer publish coasting and floor data standards. They will not be used to identify schools for intervention, support or any other purpose.

“Instead, we will use Ofsted 'requires improvement' judgements as the sole method for identifying schools eligible for a proactive, optional offer of support.”

The document reveals that some respondents were concerned that the RI judgement could come “too late” and that "good" schools need support to stay good.

It adds: “Some respondents were also concerned about the length of time between Ofsted inspections, meaning that a school might need support to improve but would need to wait for its next Ofsted inspection to be deemed eligible for support.”

In its response, the DfE says it recognises such concerns.

It adds: “However, Ofsted retains the ability to inspect any school at any time.

"Performance data will still feed into Ofsted’s risk assessment of schools and may trigger an earlier inspection, if necessary.

"We are therefore confident that using Ofsted 'requires improvement' is, on balance, in the best interest of schools.”

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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