’Coasting’ schools: Talking tough doesn’t raise standards

Date: 30.06.15
General Secretary comments on Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s interviews on “coasting schools”.

30 June 2015 

“Coasting" schools: “Talking tough doesn’t raise standards” 

Commenting on Education Secretary Nicky Morgan’s interviews on “coasting schools”, Deborah Lawson, General Secretary of Voice: the union for education professionals, said: 

“It is wrong to accuse schools and their dedicated staff of being ‘complacent’ or ‘coasting’. 

“We could see the ridiculous and confusing situation of schools being labelled both ‘good’ and ‘coasting’, questioning the credibility and purpose of Ofsted inspections!  

“Schools will fear not only Ofsted but a ‘Coasted’ judgment. 

“Instead of labelling schools, the Education Secretary should be talking about providing support for schools to meet the challenges that they face such as increasing child poverty, problems recruiting and retaining teachers and headteachers, falling budgets, growing class sizes, and an ever-growing workload because of government targets and ‘gold plating’ for inspections. 

“Talking tough doesn’t raise standards. 

“A target-based curriculum centred on ‘intellectually rigorous’ GCSEs and the EBacc is not appropriate for all students. 

“The Government’s targets of 60% of secondary pupils to achieve five good GCSEs and 85% of primary pupils to achieve the expected standard in their national curriculum tests are artificial and inappropriate and do nothing to tackle the issue of teaching to the test. 

“The Education Secretary and her colleagues have an ideological academy fixation. 

“There is no evidence that academies are more likely to provide higher standards than other schools and many could also be labelled as ‘coasting’. 

In a recent BBC interview, Nicky Morgan was not able to say how many existing academies were ‘unsatisfactory’.  

“Chopping and changing will not provide the stability and long-term vision that schools need. 

“Many schools are struggling to recruit headteachers and there is little incentive to take on a job with increasing responsibility and pressure to perform in a very short timescale but decreasing job security.  As Sir Michael Wilshaw of Ofsted has pointed out, it could be hard for schools to find enough outstanding heads to take on the new academies. 

“Academies have been promoted as some sort of panacea that can magically transform education. However, changing the way schools are organised and governed is not a guarantee of success or better education. 

“While there are many excellent academies, a rushed, forced academisation programme can have a negative impact. 

“We look forward to further details and the consultation, to which Voice will respond.” 


Further information

Nick Morgan's BBC Breakfast interview (30 June 2015)

 DfE's press release


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Blog post on academies   

Blog post on EBacc


Contacts:

Voice Press Office
Email: pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk

General Secretary Deborah Lawson
Email: deborahlawson@voicetheunion.org.uk