3,500 heads face sack in Cameron ‘war on mediocrity’

David Cameron
David Cameron
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HEADTEACHERS at coasting schools face being sacked under plans David Cameron will announce today to ensure every child gets the best start in life.

The Prime Minister will vow to wage an “all-out war on mediocrity” as he sets out proposed new powers to shake-up the performance of up to 3,500 schools.

Any English school assessed as requiring improvement by Ofsted will be put under new leadership unless it can show it has plans in place to bring about rapid change, he will reveal in a speech in London.

The country’s best headteachers, backed by high-performing neighbouring schools or expert sponsors, such as philanthropic trusts, will take over the running of the schools.

They will be expected to introduce reforms to boost results that could involve new discipline policies or changes in personnel, such as removing headteachers.

The move comes as part of a Conservative manifesto commitment to give all children a good start in life, regardless of where they are from.

Mr Cameron said: “As parents we’re hardwired to want the best for our kids. No one wants their child to go to a failing school - and no one wants to them to go to a coasting school either.

“So this party is clear. Just enough is not good enough. That means no more sink schools - and no more ‘bog standard’ schools either. We’re waging an all-out war on mediocrity, and our aim is this: the best start in life for every child, wherever they’re from - no excuses.”

Eton-educated Mr Cameron has previously insisted he wants to spread the advantages he enjoyed to “every child in Britain” and pledged to end the education “lottery”.

The reforms build on existing powers that allow failing schools to be converted into academies. Around 1,200 schools have been turned into made the transition, mostly under the coalition.

Officials said pupils’ results improved faster in sponsored schools than in local authority schools.

Coasting schools will automatically be considered for academy status and must set out plans for improvement that are deemed as credible by the regional schools commissioner if they want to continue under their current leadership.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told BBC Breakfast: “We want every child to have the best start in life, and obviously that means getting it right from primary right the way through to secondary.

“This is not about saying heads will automatically be replaced. This is about saying where a school doesn’t have the capacity to improve itself - and many do - or where they don’t have a plan to lead that school to being rated good or outstanding, which I think is what we want for all of our children, then yes ... one of the answers is to get new leadership in.

“But there are some fantastic headteachers up and down this country who would be going and offering support to those schools and their heads.”

She said the policy would foster “collaboration” between schools to produce the best results.

“Education can be life-transforming, and that means we have to give every child the best possible start in life to fulfil their potential.”

Mrs Morgan said that “just enough is not good enough” for pupils, and insisted the policy would help British schools “compete with the best in the world”.