‘Coasting’ schools – look at pupil context rather than school accountability – expert reaction

Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has set out a definition of what it thinks a coasting school is.  Hundreds of coasting schools will be targeted for improvement under a new measure which will identify those schools which are failing to push every pupil to reach their potential.

These schools, which have been deemed to be ‘coasting’ for a number of years, will be offered help from education experts to improve their results and will be required to produce a clear plan for improvement.

Expert reaction from Michael Jopling, Professor of Education, Northumbria University:

“It was only last week that Nicky Morgan told the House of Commons that ‘coasting’ would be determined by pupil performance over three years, depending chiefly on whether pupils achieved their potential ‘based on their starting point’.

Yet research has long indicated that variations in student learning can be explained by a range of factors external to a school, such as a child’s family environment or the influence of their peers, which schools cannot address alone.

Therefore, the extent to which a school can be regarded as ‘coasting’ needs to be identified locally with reference to its context and student population using rather more sophisticated accountability measures than those the government is currently proposing.”


Research – Sahlberg, P. (2010) Rethinking accountability for a knowledge society. Journal of educational change, 11(1), 45-61 http://pasisahlberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Rethinking-accountability-JEC-2010.pdf

Education Datalab – Choose your own coasting schools http://www.educationdatalab.org.uk/Blog/June-2015/Choose-your-own-coasting-schools.aspx#.VZF8pmDvHfi

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