Progress 8: nearly 400 secondaries expected to be defined as ‘coasting’ under new measure

Analysis gives an indication of the number of schools that may be targeted for intervention

Eleanor Busby

News article image

Nearly 400 secondary schools would be classed as “coasting” on the basis of last week’s provisional GCSE results, analysis has found.

Under the new coasting threshold announced by the Department for Education this week – a Progress 8 score of less than -0.25 – an estimated 374 secondaries would be defined as coasting, the Education Policy Institute (EPI) has revealed.

The thinktank’s analysis has estimated that 212 academies and 162 local authority schools would be coasting under this new threshold, based on provisional key stage 4 data released last week.

Schools will only be officially judged as coasting once revised data is published in January. But the provisional data gives an indication of the number of schools that may be targeted for intervention or turned into academies.


A coasting school is one which has failed to push every pupil to reach their full potential over a three-year period.

For a secondary school to be judged as coasting, fewer than 60 per cent of its pupils must have achieved five A*-C GCSEs in 2015 and 2016 and it must be below the median level of expected progress in English and maths. And this year, its Progress 8 score would have to fall below -0.25.

Coasting 'linked to disadvantage'

The EPI report, from Jon Andrews and Jo Hutchinson, also shows that schools with a higher proportion of disadvantaged pupils are still more likely to fall below the floor, or to be coasting, than their more privileged peers. 

The report says: "It is the distribution of schools labelled as coasting that should be most concerning for government as this was a measure introduced to capture schools in 'leafy areas with more advantages'.

"Yet it is clear that schools are far more likely to be labelled as coasting if they have rates of disadvantage that are above average."

Last week, Rebecca Allen, director of Education Datalab, also revealed that almost a third of free schools have GCSE results that place them below the new Progress 8 floor standard – a score of -0.5 or lower.

Want to keep up with the latest education news and opinion? Follow TES on Twitter and like TES on Facebook

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Latest stories

Boy reads book in front of large window in luxury flat

Reading list: Children's books set in flats

In a Tes article, Becka White argued that children who live in flats are not fairly represented in children's fiction. She has drawn up a reading list of books that counter this trend
Becka White 8 Aug 2020