Cameron attacks 'coasting schools'

  • 9 September 2011
  • From the section UK Politics
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pupils celebrate GCSE results
Any school in which less than 50% of its pupils get five good GCSEs will be defined as failing by 2015

The prime minister has attacked what he's called "coasting schools" and promised a "revolution" in which choice, competition and freedom for schools in England would drive up standards throughout the state system.

David Cameron was speaking on a visit to the Free School Norwich - one of 24 new state schools which the government says will operate like independent schools but within the state system.

In his speech he claimed that free schools and academies would expose "complacency" in other state schools.

Two academies in inner London were, he said, getting better exam results than four out of five schools in Oxfordshire and Surrey - the counties in which he and the Education Secretary Michael Gove are MPs. This he said should be "a wake-up call".

The prime minister defined coasting schools as those "whose results have either flat-lined…or where they haven't improved as much as they could have".

The government recently announced that they were increasing the minimum standard for schools. By 2015 any secondary school in which less than 50% of its pupils get five good GCSEs will be defined as failing - currently the standard is 30%.

Ministers hope that the creation of new free schools and more academies will give parents more choice and act as a spur to improving standards in other schools.

They are hoping a further 200 free schools will open next year and say they will have transformed around 150 failing secondaries and 200 failing primaries into Academies by next year.

There are over 20,000 schools in England - almost 17,000 of them primaries.