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New powers to sack 'coasting' heads

Published 17/05/2015

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan wants to speed up the process for tackling failing schools
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan wants to speed up the process for tackling failing schools

Headteachers at "coasting" schools could be sacked under new plans to improve failing institutions, it has been announced.

The move, in a new Bill due to be introduced in the Queen's Speech, could potentially affect hundreds of schools in England.

Under the plans, so-called "coasting" schools - those that are not considered to be performing as well as they could be - will be put on an immediate notice to improve, and face being taken over, and turned into an academy if they fail to come up with a clear improvement plan. The school's leadership would also be replaced.

Faster action will also be taken to turn around failing schools, the Department for Education (DfE) said, with new teams of top headteachers parachuted in to oversee swift changes.

In these cases, headteachers could also be sacked if there is no clear plans in place to improve.

The Government insisted that the measures are designed to spread opportunity and educational excellence to every part of the country so that children from every background get the best possible start in life.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: "Our big priorities will be to speed up the process for tackling failing schools; extend our academies programme to tackle 'coasting' schools; and deliver on our commitment to open new free schools.

"First, we will take new powers to step in from the moment that a school is found to be failing. From day one, Regional Schools Commissioners will be able to bring in new leadership and support from other excellent schools and heads, and we will speed up the process of turning schools into academies to make sure that new expert leadership is found for all schools that need it as quickly as possible.

"Second, we'll introduce new powers to intervene not just in failing schools, but in 'coasting' schools - with a clear message that it is not ok to be just above the level of failing.

"These schools must improve too and will be put on immediate notice and required to work with our team of expert headteachers. Those that aren't able to demonstrate a clear plan for improvement will be given new leadership - we know this works in turning schools around."

It is understood that as yet, there is no firm definition of a 'coasting' school.

There are around 3,300 rated as "requiring improvement" but not all of these are likely to face action. The new powers are more likely to apply to those facing issues such as a significant drop in results or missing government benchmarks.

The Government is currently intervening in around 220 schools

Plans to take action in 'coasting' schools were included in the Conservative election manifesto.

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