Struggling schools face Premium Action Plan


Schools with “low attainment” for their Pupil Premium students are to face more accountability measures, it has been revealed.

Schools with “low attainment” for their Pupil Premium students are to face more accountability measures, it has been revealed.

A Pupil Premium Action Plan will be required from schools that are in Ofsted category 3 for both their overall and leadership judgements if their disadvantaged students are not achieving highly enough. 

Schools minister David Laws made the announcement last week. He said that the action plan would need to be drawn up in consultation with a National Leader of Education or similar “system leader”. Ofsted will also pass comment on the plan as part of its monitoring and inspection of “weaker” schools.

Mr Laws said: “Ofsted will take that plan, and adherence to that plan, into account when they decide the future of the school. If the school continues to fail – well Ofsted category 4 beckons.”

Mr Laws did not define what would qualify as “low attainment” in this regard.

SecEd asked the Department for Education (DfE) for clarification but had not received a response as we went to press.

The Pupil Premium funding is worth £900 per eligible student this year – a total of £1.875 billion. The overall funding will rise to £2.5 billion in 2014/15.

The minister also said that schools should not be graded as “outstanding” if there is low attainment among their disadvantaged students.

He explained: “The chief inspector of schools and I both agree that a school simply cannot be regarded as ‘outstanding’ if it is failing its disadvantaged pupils and he will look at this when he next revises the inspection framework.”

Mr Laws discussed the move during two speeches this week, the first at a “Closing the Gap” conference hosted by the Association of School and College Leaders, the second at the National Education Trust.

Elsewhere, Mr Laws confirmed that the proposed new accountability measures for secondary schools will see them judged on how many students achieve A* to C passes in English and maths only.

The consultation over the proposals had caused confusion by stating that a “pass” would be “an outcome consistent with performance standards in high performing educational jurisdictions”.

The new measure will sit alongside another showing the average progress students make across eight subjects – English, maths, three other English Baccalaureate subjects, and three further options.

He also unveiled plans to publish from this year, the proportion of pupils reaching a “good Level 4” in English and maths SATs at the end of primary school – defining this as a Level 4b or above. A new floor standard for primaries will be set against this benchmark in due course. 

Mr Laws said that “universal secondary readiness by age 11” would enable the government to “hold secondary schools to a much higher standard”.

The DfE’s accountability consultation closes on April 16. Visit


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