'Coasting Schools' to face quicker government intervention

 An Education Bill due to be introduced in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May will give the government more powers to intervene quickly by sending in “hit squads” to replace school leaders deemed to be failing. Under these new plans, ministers could force schools missing government benchmarks and classed as “coasting” to become an academy. However, it is unclear how schools would be determined as eligible for intervention, as currently over 3,000 schools are rated as “requiring improvement”.

Writing for the Telegraph, Morgan outlined a three point plan to tackle substandard education in England. The first point outlined “new powers” to intervene in failing schools. This would include “hit squads” that could be sent into schools within hours of a critical Ofsted judgement and a new “fast-track process” to turn failed schools into academies.

The second point put forth that “coasting" schools will be required to produce “urgent improvement plans”, which should outline plans to change methods and raise standards. Refusal to comply will see “governors sacked and replaced with government appointed teams” and could see schools taken over and turned into academies.

The third point announced that an “immediate start” will be made on opening 500 new state funded free schools.

Commenting on Nicky Morgan’s announcement Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “The government is looking in completely the wrong place if they are interested in social justice.

“There is no convincing evidence that the academies programme has improved education overall or for disadvantaged children. However there is overwhelming evidence that the poverty and inequality many children face is a real obstacle to their educational achievement. The government should act on poverty reduction urgently.

“Proposals to sack even more head teachers will exacerbate the teacher and head teacher supply problems that have become evident in the last years of the Coalition Government. These problems will continue and get worse unless the Government changes course.

“As the new Secretary of State, Nicky Morgan should be using her office to argue for protection of the education budget – schools are facing 10 per cent cuts. This, the teacher shortage and the failure to provide enough school places should be her main concerns – not continuing with these unproved experiments.”