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£16k for schools rated ‘requires improvement’ twice

Floor and coasting standards will remain for the time being, as DfE delays consultation on a replacement

£16,000, coasting, requires improvement, money, suport, DfE, Agnew

Floor and coasting standards will remain for the time being, as DfE delays consultation on a replacement

Schools that have been rated "requires improvement" in their last two Ofsted inspections will be given access to up to £16,000, the government has said today.

In an announcement about how schools are held to account, the Department for Education also said that struggling schools "will receive support from a high-performing school leader".

The statement follows a pledge by education secretary Damian Hinds to simplify the system used to hold schools to account.

The announcement reiterates that the regulator's floor and coasting standards are being used to identify schools that need help, "rather than as triggers for intervention ahead of an academy conversion".

However, the consultation on replacing them with a single measure, which had been due to get underway this autumn, has now been pushed back to the new year.

Academies minister Lord Agnew had indicated as recently as 19 October that the consultation on reforming school accountability would take place in the autumn term.

The announcement stated that schools that met the criteria for extra support would be able to access up to three days’ support from a designated National Leader of Education (NLE).

It added that, for those also judged as "requires improvement" in their last two Ofsted inspections, there would be "an additional offer of up to £16,000 that can be put towards the costs of implementing the activity agreed between the NLE and school".

DfE guidance issued today says schools meeting the following criteria, but not judged inadequate, will be given the offer of support:

  • Primary schools defined as below the floor standards or coasting based on key stage 2 revised data published in December 2018.
  • Secondary schools defined as below the floor standards or coasting based on key stage 4 revised data published in January 2019.
  • Those that "require improvement", as judged by Ofsted, and that are not subject to below the floor or coasting.

Schools minister Lord Agnew said: "The support that we are offering will be focused around delivering support that can be embedded into a school’s teaching programme for the long term.”

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT headteachers' union, described the announcement as "an important step forward".

He added: “Accountability is obviously a key concern, and today's announcement clears up some of the confusion regarding the roles of Ofsted and RSCs [regional schools commissioners], as well as providing much-needed reassurance that schools seeking to improve will receive support rather than sanction."

He also said that while the £16,000 "won’t make a difference to the school funding crisis", the announcement "does mark a welcome change of direction in government thinking, and that could be priceless for some leaders who have the difficult task of improving standards in their schools".

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