More than 1,600 schools receive offers of government support


The government has offered more than 1,600 schools access to improvement support following reforms to how it is offered and allocated. The move follows an announcement from Education Secretary Damian Hinds last year which stated that the government would no longer intervene if schools were considered to be ‘coasting’.

Instead, new prompts for support were created, and new figures show that 1,657 schools were eligible in 2018-2019. Of those schools, the government reports that around 80% are currently “engaging” with the offers that are on the table.

Support comes in two tiers for schools – the first provides three days’ of advice from a national leader of education, while the second tier offers the same as well as £16,000 in funding support. Just shy of 1,350 schools were offered tier one support, with 79% accepting it, and 267 schools were offered tier two assistance, with 85% accepting it.

More than 1,000 primary schools and 500 secondary schools are eligible for support, as well as 80 special, alternative provision schools or pupil referral units. In addition, 33 all-through institutions or post-16 establishments and eight nurseries are also eligible for further assistance.

When the figures are broken down by school type, 856 are local authority-maintained, 744 are academies and 57 are free schools. Of those, local authority-maintained schools and academies were most likely to accept support, while uptake among free schools was considerably lower.

The Department for Education added that a take-up rate of 100% was not expected for the current school year, as take up was optional for schools. “There are several reasons that a school might turn down the offer, including already being given sufficient school improvement support or a change in circumstances (such as an Ofsted rating) since being offer support,” the report explained.

In order to be eligible for support, primary schools must be below floor standards or coasting when based on Key Stage 2 data from December 2018. For secondary schools, they would be below the standards for Key Stage 4 from revised data from January this year.