On 8 November 2018, the DfE updated their ‘Schools causing concern’ guidance which explains how LAs and regional schools commissioners (RSCs) will intervene in underperforming schools. Our article highlights the key changes that have been made to the guidance.


Changes to formal interventions 


Where a school meets the coasting definition or falls below the floor standards, but they are not judged as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted, the RSC will not issue an academy order or warning notice. Instead, for the 2018/2019 academic year, these schools will be eligible for an offer of support.

For maintained schools that meet the coasting definition or fall below the floor standards, their LA may decide to use its own intervention powers.


Offer of support


In the 2018/2019 academic year, where a school meets the coasting definition or falls below the floor standards, rather than implementing formal interventions, RSCs may contact the relevant academy trust, LA or diocese of the school to offer optional support to help improve the school’s outcomes – there is no obligation to take this support.

If this offer is taken, the RSC will look to work collaboratively with the school’s leaders to drive the necessary improvements.

All schools eligible for the offer of support will be offered up to three days of free advice from a designated national leader of education (NLE) or equivalent. The NLE will work with school or trust leaders to help them identify and access school improvement resources.

Schools that are eligible for the offer of support, who have also been judged as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted in two consecutive inspections, will be offered up to £16,000 of funded support to address the needs identified by the NLE.

During the Autumn term 2018, the DfE will contact LAs and academy trusts of schools that may be eligible for support – this will be based on provisional performance data. Schools will receive support once their eligibility is confirmed by the published performance data. Any funded support will be delivered by the end of the 2020 Spring term.




The DfE will be formally consulting on the circumstances in which a school would receive an offer of support – the ‘Schools causing concern’ guidance will be updated to reflect the outcome of that consultation.


What’s next?


  • Find out more about the more about the accountability measures for primary and secondary schools in our 3-Minute Reads.
  • The DfE has not confirmed when they will release the consultation – as always, we will keep you up-to-date with any developments and changes to the accountability measures or the way interventions are conducted.




DfE (2018) ‘Schools causing concern’

DfE (2018) ‘School improvement support for the 2018/2019 academic year’ <https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-improvement-support-for-the-2018-to-2019-academic-year?utm_source=7a765f1e-b5f4-4f11-92d4-0b6eec0bd920&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate> [Accessed: 12 November 2018]