More than 800 schools set to be condemned as 'coasting'

Coasting schools face possible DfE intervention and include more than one in ten secondaries.

Martin George

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The first year of the government's new measure is set to see more than 800 'coasting schools' lined up for potential intervention, the Department for Education revealed today.

They include more than one in ten of eligible secondaries that as coasting schools could ultimately faced conversion to academies, if they do not already have the status. 

The provisional data released this morning also shows that in the primary sector a higher proportion of academies than non-academies are likely to be named as coasting, while the situation is reversed for high schools.

This is the first year that schools will fall into the category, which was introduced in this year’s Education and Adoption Act, and is based on the last three years’ test or exam results.

In total, the government estimates that 804 schools meet the definition of coasting. That represents 3.5 per cent of eligible primary schools, and 10.7 per cent of eligible secondary schools.

Regional Schools Commissioners (RSCs) will decide whether coasting schools need extra support to improve, and maintained schools could be forced to become academies.

However, the Department for Education briefing said: “The Department expects that only in a small minority of cases will RSCs direct a coasting maintained school to become a sponsored academy or move a coasting academy to a new trust.”

The Department for Education said 4.3 per cent of eligible primary academies (106 schools) have met all the coasting criteria for the last three years, compared to 3.4 per cent (373 schools) of local authority maintained primaries.

The picture is reversed in secondary schools, where 9 per cent of academies (176 schools) are likely to be coasting, compared to 13.9 per cent (151 schools) of local authority maintained schools.

Schools exempted from the coasting category include those that closed and re-opened as a sponsored  academy, and primaries with fewer than 11 eligible pupils in Key Stage 2, or secondary schools with fewer than 11 eligible pupils at Key Stage 4 in 2014 or 2015, or fewer than six in 2016.  

Pupil referral units, special schools and special academies, alternative provision academies and maintained nursery schools are also exempt.

The final number of schools which meet the coasting definition will not be known until finalised Key Stage 2 results are published in December, and confirmed secondary school GCSE results come out in January.

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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