William Eichler 09 November 2018

Whitehall announces plans to ‘simplify’ school accountability system

Whitehall announces plans to ‘simplify’ school accountability system

Floor and coasting standards will no longer be used to trigger an academy conversion but will instead only be used to identify schools that need help.

The Department for Education has today confirmed plans to simplify the school accountability system that were first announced by the secretary of state in May.

The decision to use floor and coasting standards as a means to alert the Government to which schools need extra support, rather than as a trigger for conversion into an academy, is aimed at providing clarity for teachers.

The schools minister Lord Agnew said that where a school is judged by Ofsted as ‘Requires Improvement’ in two inspections, it will receive support from a high-performing school leader, as well as access to up to £16,000.

Lord Agnew also confirmed that the ‘coasting’ measure will no longer be used as the starting point of a formal intervention and that Regional Schools Commissioners will no longer issue warning notices to schools on educational grounds unless they have been rated inadequate by Ofsted.

‘Today’s changes will simplify the school accountability system so teachers and school leaders know where they stand and simplify a system that we know can be a concern amongst the profession,’ said Lord Agnew.

‘Where a school is struggling, we will aim to take swift action, providing practical hands on support and, where necessary, more formal steps.

‘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 National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: ‘Today’s announcement is a welcome clarification of the promises made by the secretary of state at our annual conference in May this year.

‘It also marks a significant point in the ongoing work between NAHT and the DfE to address some of the big concerns of school leaders.

‘Accountability is obviously a key concern, and today’s announcement clears up some of the confusion regarding the roles of Ofsted and RSCs, as well as providing much needed reassurance that schools seeking to improve will receive support rather than sanction.

‘This is an important step forward, and consistent with the findings of our Improving School Accountability report which was published in September.’

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