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Revealed: The 52 Norfolk schools at risk of becoming “coasting schools”

07:18 22 January 2016

Dozens of schools could be classed as coasting, depending on their exam results this summer. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Dozens of schools could be classed as coasting, depending on their exam results this summer. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

The EDP can today name dozens of schools who have until this summer to improve their exam results, or risk being branded “coasting” and turned into academies or transferred to a new academy sponsor.

How the government plans to define a “coasting school”

The 2015 Conservative election manifesto promised to “introduce new powers to force coasting schools to accept new leadership”.

A school will only be officially classed as “coasting” if it meets all of the criteria for three years in a row.

Results from summer 2014 onwards count, and schools that met all the criteria in both 2014 and 2015 are in danger of being classed as “coasting” if they also fail to clear the bar in exams being taken this summer.

For primary schools, the criteria for 2014 and 2015 are fewer than 85pc of pupils reaching the expected level in reading, writing and maths, and the percentages of pupils making expected progress in the three areas falling below the national median.

For high schools, the criteria for 2014 and 2015 are fewer than 60pc of pupils getting the GCSE gold standard, and the percentages of pupils making expected progress in English and in maths being below the median.

From 2016 onwards, new measures will be used.

The government last year announced a new category of “coasting schools” it believes are not stretching their pupils enough.

Its definition will use exam results from three consecutive years, the first being 2014, and no school will be classed as coasting before their 2016 results are known.

However, an EDP analysis of 2014 and 2015 results has identified seven Norfolk high schools and 45 primary schools that met the criteria for the first two years, and could be coasting if the same happened next year.

The list of potentially coasting schools includes Lakenham Primary, which Ofsted last month rated good with outstanding features.

In a consultation document, the government said: “Unlike failing schools, where there is no question that swift intervention is required, we want our approach to coasting schools to focus on support and tailored action. Where a coasting school can demonstrate that it can improve sufficiently, it should be allowed to do so.”

Regional schools commissioner Tim Coulson will judge this.

Scott Lyons, of Norfolk NUT, said: “They are looking to academise schools doing well, but who don’t want to become academies, and finding chinks in their armour.”

Norfolk County Council said it “includes the proposed definition within the broad range of achievement criteria we monitor”, and said it supports schools through its A Good Education for Every Norfolk strategy.

List of Norfolk schools that met the “coasting school” criteria in 2014 and 2015:

Norfolk high schools:

Acle Academy

City Academy Norwich

Flegg High School

Great Yarmouth VA High School

King’s Lynn Academy

North Walsham High School

Wayland Academy

Norfolk primary schools:

Admirals Academy

Angel Road Junior School

Ashill Voluntary Controlled Primary School

Attleborough Junior School

Bluebell Primary School

Bure Valley School

Burnham Market Primary School

Cliff Park Junior School

Colman Junior School

Cromer Junior School

Diamond Academy

Diss Church Junior School

Duchy of Lancaster Methwold CofE Primary School

Dussindale Primary School

Edward Worlledge Community Primary School

Emneth Primary School

Gaywood Community Primary School

George White Junior School

Gooderstone Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School

Great Hockham Primary School

Happisburgh Primary School

Heacham Junior School

Henderson Green Primary School

Hingham Primary School

Hopton Church of England Primary School

Horsford Church of England Junior School

Lakenham Primary School

Litcham School

Magdalen Gates Primary School

Martham Primary and Nursery School

Morley Church of England Primary School

North Denes Primary School

Norwich Road Academy

Queen’s Hill Primary School

Reepham Primary School

Rockland St Mary Primary School

Sculthorpe Church of England Primary School

St Andrew’s CofE VA Primary School, Lopham

St Mary and St Peter Catholic Primary School

St Mary’s Church of England Junior School

St Nicholas Priory CofE VA Junior School

Tacolneston Church of England Primary

Toftwood Community Junior School

Valley Primary School

Wimbotsham and Stow Community School

16 comments

  • Might be interesting to see how many of the coasting Primaries aren't academies currently. Having transformed high schools by turning them into academies, Ofsted's mission is to do the same with primaries in the county. Turning a school into an academy does nothing to improve it. Changing governors or leadership and staff can. But thinking academy = success on it's own is ridiculous. These changes could (and probably should) have been made under the local authority, but that costs the government money. Best to get them out of the public ownership and hand them over to your buddies. It doesn't change much, despite the publicity seeking chains telling you otherwise, they just move the problem by removing underperforming children, or those with SEN, and improve results. Anyone can play that game, but these people who claim to be improving education are merely removing (and therefore failing) underperforming students. Some schools who remain true to a fully inclusive education are suffering at the hands of those who are only interested in the elite. After all, remove a difficult, or low ability child who might take up a bit of staff time and results go up, and everyone's happy. Coastal towns have been a problem for years, and continue to be so. Unfortunately, Norfolk has a rather large coastline with quite a few coastal communities. Some catchments will always struggle, and although this isn't ideal, and in no way should it be left unchallenged, to think some of these schools will ever get to the heights of some of our top performers is ridiculous. Yes, you can dramatically change failing schools, but when you see this, look at the school role and notice the difference. Get rid of 8 or 10 of the worst performers and bingo, percentages go up. All these people are doing is moving the problem. For "coasting schools" read "schools that are refusing to convert to academy status" or "schools that we'd like to move to another chain." All political. There are children caught up in the middle of this.

    Report this comment

    OldSchool

    Saturday, January 23, 2016

  • Oh Jennifer Jane, "What really needs to happen is businesses get together with Education Authority tell them the skills they require and a curriculum is written around that." So up't north we could have children learning about steel production, car manufacturing around Sunderland, we could have businesses influencing what our children learn for the sake of the business instead of instilling an interest in the child to learn for fun. You mention English and maths, but what about Shakespeare? Isn't that English? You sound like one of those people that want to teach children to pass tests. Hopefully, well clearly your grammar is a clue, you're not involved in education.

    Report this comment

    Davidbrian552

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • A nice list of schools in rural and deprived areas - anyone see the connection? Good to see a healthy helping of uber expensive wonder schools (Academies) making up a majority of high schools - when will the government see the light that patching the cracks with millions of pounds does not make a great school?

    Report this comment

    Jonno65

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • The important thing to remember as some have already stated these are children. All children are different and learn in different ways. I am afraid the Department of Education seem to think their way is the right way. When I child gets to secondary school they are looking to there future and expect there education to help them on that pathway. Setting aside maths and english which are the basis of any education do the worksof Shakespere have any interest to a lad who wants to be a motor mechanic or a joiner. You have immediately lost them. Do schools today have woodwork classes or technical drawing. What really needs to happen is businesses get together with Education Authority tell them the skills they require and a curriculum is written around that. You may find children travelling further to school as all schools couldnt cover everything but you would have pupils who could see where their studies are leading them. I still dont know why I studied Henry IV way back in 1965!

    Report this comment

    jennifer jane

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • Daisy: if your IQ and curriculum points were applicable then why is it that many schools in deprived areas across the country do far better? Yes funding helps but it's more to do with leadership (governors included) and the quality of teaching. Your defence of GYHS is misplaced. They still do quite well by their 'smart pupils' as you call them but that's not good enough. You're also wrong to label all schools in GY in the same category. Cliff Park went through a rough patch a couple of years ago but is now outperforming many schools in the county let alone the town and that's not just down to catchment area.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • As my original posting has not got through, the school I know is definitely coasting at best, certainly no attempt to stretch at least some of children. Not something confined to one year either!

    Report this comment

    andy

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • I really dislike the obsession with year on year comparisons. Comparing the results of different cohorts is the same as comparing apples and pears. If children were robots programmed exactly the same then the comparison would be meaningful, but we are talking about CHILDREN.. Every child is different and every cohort is different with varying external influencing factors which will also contribute to their learning, such as levels of parental involvement and encouragement, health, additional needs etc,. The idea that the performance of different cohorts can be compared to accurately indicate whether a school is effective is nonsense.

    Report this comment

    Row71

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • As my last post has not got through. The important point is the future well being of the children. I have direct experience of one of the schools mentioned and it is letting down the children! Ask the parents.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • Leaving aside all the political arguments, the really important point about this story is the children. I have direct experience of one of the schools on the primary school list - which I will not name in case this post gets blocked - and it without doubt falls into the coasting category. Children are not being stretched or anywhere near. In the case of a 6 year old, his reading skills at home are way above the books being provided to him by the school. Informing the school has had no effect at all and this is for a boy who likes to read because in his words - 'you can learn a lot by reading!' He does not need to be pushed or even encouraged, he wants to read. Nothing political at all in this post, it is all about doing the best for children and some schools are failing to do that.

    Report this comment

    andy

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • If wasn't so serious you would think the list was a joke . . . In the list of secondary schools, at least 3 were yesterday labelled yesterday in a national report as being in need of a lot of help (put politely - actually labelled being in the worst for failing their pupils)and one in these pages as being put into special measures!! . . and 3 at least are already Academies - even in the list several are labelled!! . . . Still the Politicians know best, give a school a new name, increase the cost of the uniform, pay a new head a stupid amount of money and hey presto the meaningless exam results mysteriously improve.

    Report this comment

    manbythesea

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • I wonder how many specific cases OHT can pull out of the hat, of children expected to do well at GCSE who have not, just how, academically, GYHS which used to do quite well by its smart pupils, is now deemed to be a failure? One would not be surprised if it is, given the problems that it has had dumped in its lap to cope with. Everyone, staff governors and pupils must be feeling overwhelmed as must every school in Yarmouth I wonder how much extra funding and help GYHS has had to cope?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • The whole principle is flawed. If the curriculum and testing are properly designed then schools should eventually reach a constant assuming their intake does not fluctuate widely. There is not any justification for expecting a year on year improvement if pupils are achieving the level designed into the system for their IQ. And there we have the problem. Because the test results are not compared against IQ test results no one knows if a school intake or individual pupils are performing well for their ability or under performing. We dont even know if the government knows how intelligent they expect pupils to be to achieve specific levels under normal classroom conditions. The only way year on year improvement should be happening, given a static level of pupil ability- is cheating , teaching to the tests and coaching which makes the assessment meaningless, or grade inflation . Unless those IQ results are included as well, everything else is meaningless. This is just a means to force schools into the hands of Tory backers.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • This really puts the governors of these schools in a real quandary..... to carry on passively agreeing with everything the head and the chairman says, or to actively challenge them, which of course would be impolite and not the Norfolk way in most schools. When the letter arrives next year, telling the governors that they are no longer needed, the truth is most were not needed, they were just there to make the numbers up and free tea and biscuits.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • "Unlike failing schools, where there is no question that swift intervention is required......" So what does that 'swift intervention' look like exactly? I haven't seen any evidence of it. ".....we want our approach to coasting schools to focus on support and tailored action....." Well in the case of Great Yarmouth High School which has, at the last count, been through four headteachers and countless other staff in as many years plus three consecutive 'requires improvement' judgements from Ofsted yet 'still' has the same governing body in place AND 'support' from the LEA ......such measures are meaningless. It's far more complex than putting in some support and political posturing from those paid vast salaries who address the issue. The final irony, as far as this particular school is concerned, is that the academy already eyeing it up has as its boss the very same person that precided over years of mediocrity when he was in charge of Norfolk's LEA.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • There is so much data from the dfe indicating how poor academies and freeschools perform, and how slow they are at improving performance. They are generally worse performing when looking at added value indicators and GCSEs results. Tim coulson, good old schools commissioner and freeschool advocate with fingers in various pies, is obviously just the sort of independent person needed to take a balanced view of education overall and the needs of the children. I have confidence in inspiration trust, all the academies that have been forced upon the electorate, and the education secretary in their devotion to the commercialisation of education in this country and their ability to line pockets.

    Report this comment

    Davidbrian552

    Friday, January 22, 2016

  • Can i suggets EDP also identify which of these "Coasting" schools are already academies already converted to improve results? City Academy Norwich for one, which began its "imporvement "programme by getting rid of teachers it couldnt afford..........

    Report this comment

    Stephen Strange

    Friday, January 22, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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