Coasting schools: more questions than answers

Since the definition of ‘coasting’ schools was released today, I feel like it’s created more questions in my mind than it’s answered. I’ve splurged them all here.

Note: no doubt at least some of them have been addressed somewhere and I haven’t yet found the information so please do point me in the right direction if you have further information about any of them. Feel free to add your own questions too.

Does coasting school status ultimately trump Ofsted judgement? According to Education Datalab there are currently four outstanding schools, which would be classed as coasting, and I’m wondering if that means automatic academisation regardless of the fact that it’s been judged as outstanding?

Is it right/fair/proper that regional schools commissioners will be the ones looking at progress measures, Ofsted judgements and scrutinising school improvement plans to decide if intervention is needed when their whole purpose is to ‘work with school leaders to promote and monitor academies and free schools’? There is a bias there, isn’t there?

What does regional schools commissioners working with coasting schools in ‘an open way‘ really mean?

How long after drawing up the school improvement plan they will be required to create does a coasting school have to turn things around? How will that be proved/judged if coasting school judgements are made over three years’ worth of data?

Is turning a coasting school into an academy the answer?

What happens to a coasting academy?

Why are the floor standards at primary (85%) and secondary (60%) different? How are they calculated? What is the reasoning? There are reasons behind them, right? @HeyMissSmith got me thinking about that one.

Isn’t this really all about turning all schools into academies no matter what anyway?

Flickr Photo: milos milosevic – CC BY


  • I think you could have missed the whole of your post out and just written the last sentence. Looking for logic and evidence in this policy is a wasted effort. They came up with the soundbite ‘coasting schools’ then tried to create a policy around it. It’s an insult to all those hardworking teachers in schools that have been struggling manfully to reach floor targets only for the goalposts to move yet again. It’s no surprise that the definition of coasting is an attainment target because since scrapping levels they have nothing left to measure progress on. Ludicrously, they never considered that there would be a time gap of 3 years between introducing a National Baseline test and the KS1 SATs against which progress could be measured. So, at a stroke we are left with targets that effectively allow them to pick on anyone they want.

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