The statutory duty for setting annual pupil performance targets rests with the Governing Body of every maintained school. Each school agrees their targets with the School Improvement Partner (SIP) who provides support and challenge to ensure the targets reflect the best ambition for the progress of all the pupils in the school. We expect local authorities (LAs) to review the targets for all of their schools to ensure that they are setting goals which are both ambitious and achievable. In the case of schools judged to be in need of special measures by Ofsted, the LA and the SIP will be closely involved in the annual target setting process with the head teacher and the Governing Body to ensure that the targets will support the school’s improvement plan.
The number of schools in special measures has fallen from 515 in 1997/08 to 246 at the end of the summer term this year. As part of the comprehensive spending review we have announced new targets for schools and LAs which will place a focus on improving progression throughout the education system and further reduce failure and underperformance.
The Secretary of State's power to close a school under section 68 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 (and prior to that section 19 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998) has not so far been used. It is a reserve power, applicable only to schools that Ofsted has judged to require special measures, and would only be used in exceptional circumstances.
The forthcoming Children's Plan will set out the Government's ambition for school improvement and how the Department for Children Schools and Families will drive the necessary changes across the schools system.
The Secretary of State has existing powers under section 68 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 to direct a local authority to close a school which is in special measures on a date specified in the direction.