Coasting schools seek improvements

FIVE schools that have been graded as “satisfactory” have signed up to a new initiative to push their pupils further.

FIVE schools that have been graded as “satisfactory” have signed up to a new initiative to push their pupils further.

Deben High in Felixstowe, Orwell High School in Felixstowe, Benjamin Britten High in Lowestoft, Newmarket College and Sudbury Upper have all successfully bid to be a part of the government scheme, and will now receive funding of up to �100,000 to provide extra materials for pupils.

The initiative, Gaining Ground, aims to help schools that may be “coasting” - those that are classed as satisfactory by Ofsted inspectors but which could do more to stretch pupils and improve results.

Patricia O'Brien, portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services at Suffolk County Council, said: “Five Suffolk headteachers have seized the chance to join a new government initiative called Gaining Ground.

“The scheme is open to those schools that are seen to have the capacity to improve their GCSE results at a faster rate than they are.

“The schools will receive up to �50,000 a year for two years and some extra time from a School Improvement partner. The money will be used to develop improvement work underway in the schools and provide extra materials and support for students.”

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The �40m Gaining Ground initiative will start this month and the funding will be used to pay for consultants and training in the schools and for possible federations with successful secondaries.

The government has identified coasting schools as those that may have disappointing Ofsted results given the intake and a weak tracking of pupils' progress.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: “These schools are not failing - they will have acceptable, or sometimes even good results, but may not be fulfilling the potential of their pupils.

“Sometimes they may not be stretching their most able pupils, or perhaps not meeting the needs of their pupils who face difficulties.

“These schools may not have received focused attention to date, but will now qualify for additional funding and support to raise their ambition and improve pupils' progress.”

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