Upon regaining control of the country the Tories wasted little time before re-affirming their intentions to tackle “coasting schools”. The word “coasting” has already caused quite a stir, and we are still waiting for confirmation of the definition and what it means for schools in the requires improvement category.
However, what is clear is that any maintained school rated as inadequate will be targeted for conversion under a new fast track process. During an interview on BBC Breakfast on 3 June 2015, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan confirmed that under the new fast track process certain steps (including local consultation) would be dispensed with, and that the conversion process should take only two months. I watched the interview, and Mrs Morgan and was asked on at least four occasions how many academies were rated as inadequate. The question was posed in response to her reference to the 1000 maintained schools targeted for conversion. Rather embarrassingly (although not all together surprisingly), she ignored the question on each occasion. The truth is there are also numerous academies rated as inadequate and that while conversion to academy status will often lead to improvement, it does not guarantee it.
We await further announcements from Nicky Morgan including confirmation of the definition of “coasting”.