STUDENTS
05/12/2011 05:18 GMT

RSA: Coasting 'Satisfactory' Schools Let Down More Students Than Failing Institutions

Schools which fail to improve after three inspections should be subject to a "three strikes and you're out policy", a think tank has recommended.

So-called 'Coasting' schools may now be served with a notice similar to that given to failing schools if the Department for Education (DfE) acts on the report's suggestions.

Conducted by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), the study used Ofsted inspection reports on thousands of "weaker" schools and concluded that those institutions which have plateaued at a "satisfactory" level are letting down more children from poor backgrounds than schools judged "less than satisfactory".

According to The Times, the DfE said it agreed with the "broad thrust of report" but would wait for go-ahead from Sir Michael Wilshaw, the new Ofsted chief inspector who starts next month.

The study found the most common factor in these coasting schools was weak or inconsistent teaching which led to "repetitive and mundane" lessons. Able children were not sufficiently stretched, and tests failed to identify gaps in pupil's understanding.

The report also recommended head teachers in less than satisfactory schools should be required to present improvement plans and forced to surrender autonomy over budgets.

Wilshaw has already indicated he will implement some of the report's suggestions; scrapping the "satisfactory" banding and replacing it with detailed descriptions of areas of weakness in schools, as well as serving some with a notice to improve.

Identifying the problem of coasting schools comes shortly after Prime Minister David Cameron's attack on the sector when he described the plateauing institutions as Britain's hidden crisis.