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Councils to put the brakes on ‘coasting’ schools
New powers will give councils a range of options for dealing with schools whose results consistently fail to improve, from sending a letter home to teachers’ parents to keeping teachers in the classrooms at lunchtime.
Schools which escaped being branded ‘failing’ in the government’s last round of patronising pigeonholing are now being ‘encouraged’ to perform better by this latest happy slapping-on of a demeaning label of their own: ‘coasting’. A Department of Education white paper obtained by KTAB unveils plans for early next year to label above-average schools ‘smartarse’ in a bid to improve their results too.
‘Under new proposals any school where the results do not improve year on year will be labeled as “coasting”,’ explained junior minister Francis Bargle. ‘Furthermore, any pupils who do not attain the highest results they are capable of will no longer be classed as “lazy” but as “badly let down by an incompetent and unwilling teaching staff”.’
Teachers have reacted angrily to the new initiative. ‘Why we need all these adjectives for different kinds of school is beyond me,’ headmaster Marvin Wilcox of Adam Williams’ School told KTAB, ‘shouldn't they be trying to improve results in all schools, not just “failing” or “coasting” ones?’
Meanwhile, the government is basking in glory reflected from its flagship ‘city academy’ scheme, where some of the UK’s worst and poorest schools were transformed, with the help of private investment, into schools with a disproportionate number of posher kids. The number of pupils taking free school meals at academies has dropped nearly ten times faster in the academies than nationally.
‘I think the free meals statistic is down to a combination of factors,’ explained Roger Bighouse, OBE, executive principal of Market Pickton Academy, ‘firstly, the huge investment and furore surrounding our academy status is attracting middle-class parents to send their kids here; secondly, I like to think there’s a bit of out-and-out bigotry in our admissions procedures; and thirdly, the food in the canteen is shit.’
Not everyone is unhappy, though. Claire Timkins, a Year 11 pupil from London whose mother works for her local council, is delighted: ‘Under the new proposals, if the teachers aren’t nice to me, mum can get them all fired! How cool is that?!’