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'Coasting' schools set GCSE targets

Published 30/06/2015

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan

Secondary schools which repeatedly fail to ensure 60% of pupils gain five good GCSEs will be ordered to improve or face being turned into academies, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is warning.

Following the announcement last week that schools that are considered to be "coasting" for three years will face intervention, Ms Morgan is setting out further details as to how the scheme will operate.

For 2014 and 2015, the required level for secondary schools will be set at 60% of students achieving five good GCSEs - including English and maths - or an above average proportion of pupils making "acceptable progress".

From 2016, it will be replaced by the Government's new accountability measure known as "Progress 8" intended to show how much progress pupils in a particular school make between the end of primary and GCSEs.

In primary schools, the level will be 85% of pupils achieving an acceptable standard in reading, writing and maths over the course of three years.

In either case, schools which fail to meet the standards for three years will be offered expert help to raise standards and will be required to produce a clear plan for improvement. Those that fail to do so will be turned into academies.

Ms Morgan said: "For too long a group of coasting schools, many in leafy areas with more advantages than schools in disadvantaged communities, have fallen beneath the radar.

"I'm unapologetic about shining a spotlight on complacency and I want the message to go out loud and clear, that education isn't simply about pushing children over an artificial borderline, but instead about stretching every pupil to unlock their potential and give them the opportunity to get on in life."

For Labour, shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said the measures were an "inadequate response" to the scale of the challenge of raising school standards.

"No parent wants their child to be schooled in an inadequate, failing or coasting school," he said.

"But these plans mean that it is likely that under-performing schools will simply pass from one poor provider to another, without the measures required to turn-around sub-standard school leadership and poor classroom teaching."

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