Resort schools ‘coasting’ along

David Lund - Executive director for Children and Young People's Services at Blackpool Council.
David Lund - Executive director for Children and Young People's Services at Blackpool Council.
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MORE should be done to drive up standards at “coasting” schools according to a new report which reveals 60 per cent of Blackpool’s primaries and secondaries are classed as “satisfactory”.

A study held by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (RSA) has named Blackpool as having a proportionally higher percentage of schools to fall into this inspection category.

Ofsted grade schools following inspection visits as either outstanding, good, satisfactory or inadequate.

The RSA worked with school inspectors Ofsted following their annual report which revealed 800 schools inspected this year are “stuck” and failing to improve.

David Cameron has referred to a “hidden crisis of coasting schools” which are “content to muddle through”.

And the RSA has called for the “satisfactory” category to be renamed as “performing inconsistently” to highlight the need for improvement.

Professor Becky Francis, from RSA said: “Given the larger proportion of ‘satisfactory’ schools compared to failing schools, they are having a more widespread impact on outcomes for disadvantaged children than failing schools.

“It’s really urgent this issue be addressed.

“The strongest feature of satisfactory schools is the inconsistent quality of teaching, we need to find ways to incentivise the best teachers to join these schools.”

The RSA has also called for greater support and guidance for schools and a better approach to performance and accountability to help schools measure improvement.

But David Lund director of children’s and adult services at Blackpool Council, said: “I believe every school in Blackpool is striving to become a good and eventually outstanding school.

“Some schools find themselves having particular challenges with regards to their population.

“While this can be no excuse, most are constantly finding ways around the barriers.

“Unfortunately the Ofsted framework has limiting judgments built within it

“There can be some very good and outstanding practise, but if basic performance benchmarks such as attendance or floor targets are not met, they will continue to be judged as satisfactory.

“I’m very pleased all Blackpool schools continue to make great improvements and we have no schools in an inadequate Ofsted category.”