Underperforming schools in England are set to receive extra support under Government plans to raise standards in classrooms across the country.

Following a pledge by the Secretary of State to simplify the school accountability system, giving teachers freedom to get on with their job without interference, Schools Minister Lord Agnew has set out how the department will support schools that are underperforming and how they will be identified.

The following measures will be used to identify schools that need additional support. They include:

  • The floor and coasting standards being used as ways to identify schools that need help, rather than as triggers for intervention ahead of an academy conversion;
  • Where a school is struggling it will receive support from a high-performing school leader, as well as access to up to £16,000 for the small number of schools judged as ‘Requires Improvement’ in their last two Ofsted inspections; and
  • The ‘coasting’ measure will no longer be used as the starting point of a formal intervention – this was a key pledge by the Education Secretary during a speech to school leaders earlier this year.

Regional Schools Commissioners will no longer issue warning notices to schools on educational grounds unless they have been rated inadequate by Ofsted.

The changes come ahead of a formal consultation in the New Year looking at whether the floor and coasting standards used to judge school performance should be replaced by a single measure.

The changes confirmed will make the school system easier for school leaders and parents to understand.

Schools that meet the criteria for extra support will be able to do so in two ways:

  • Up to three days’ support from a designated National Leader of Education (NLE) who will work with the senior leadership of the school or trust to identify their specific needs and ways these can be addressed through DfE funded programmes; and
  • For those also judged as ‘Requires Improvement’ in their last two Ofsted inspections, an additional offer of up to £16,000 that can be put towards the costs of implementing the activity agreed between the NLE and school.

The announcements follow the Education Secretary’s commitment with teaching unions and Ofsted to strip away unnecessary workload for teachers, and are part of a drive led by the Education Secretary to trust the best school leaders to make decisions in their staff and pupils’ best interest.