In a previous article we looked at the definition of 'coasting' for primary and secondary schools after Illustrative Regulations on the term were introduced to clarify its meaning in the Education and Adoption Bill ('the Bill'). It was noted that there was no proposed action for failing or coasting academies within the Bill. However, the Government has recently announced an amendment to address this issue.
The Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, made a written statement on the Bill this month. She acknowledged the fact that the majority of academies are performing well and often significantly improve failing and coasting maintained schools. However, she recognised that there can be restrictions as to how swiftly action can be taken due to the terms of an academy's funding agreement.
As a result, an amendment has been made to the Bill. The amendment proposes to allow for an academy's funding agreement to be read as having the latest provisions around failing and coasting schools, which allow for the Regional Schools Commissioners to intervene, if one of two triggers is met. These triggers are an inadequate Ofsted judgement or performance by the academy that falls within the coasting definition.
Morgan highlights that the aim of this amendment is to allow for swift action to move any failing academy to a new sponsor. The definition of coasting will apply equally to academies as to maintained schools.
The Bill is currently at the report stage at the House of Lords where these amendments will be discussed before the third reading.