Further to the Department for Education's ("DfE") consultation in 2015, guidance has been issued updating the thresholds under the "coasting" schools definition. The updated definition is subject to parliamentary approval, hoped to be received in autumn 2016.

Definition of "coasting" schools

Primary Schools

Primary schools will be "coasting" if they fall below the following standards in all of the three years:

  • In 2014 and 2015 – fewer than 85% of pupils achieve a Level 4 in reading, writing and maths and below the median percentage of pupils making expected progress in reading and writing and maths; and

  • From 2016 – fewer than 85% of children achieve the expected standard at the end of primary and do not make good enough progress and average progress in reading or writing or mathematics is below a level set against the new progress measures.

Secondary Schools

Secondary schools will be "coasting" if they fall below the following standards in all of the three years:

  • In 2014 and 2015 – fewer than 60% of pupils achieve 5 A*-C at GCSE (including English and maths) and below the median percentage achieve expected progress in English and maths; and

  • From 2016 – the school is performing below a level set against the new progress 8 measures.

What happens if a school is deemed to be "coasting"?

Regional schools commissioners ("RSCs") can only take formal action once the 2016 performance tables have been publicised, however informal discussions may begin prior to this publication.

RSCs have discretion over the action to take with "coasting" schools. They may decide the school:

  • Satisfies the coasting definition but is in fact supporting pupils well, and no action is required; or

  • Has a sufficient plan and capacity to improve, and therefore no action is required; or

  • Will need additional support and challenge in order to improve, and the RCS will decide whether to intervene.