(updated November 2015)
Ebbsfleet Academy controversially replaced Swan Valley Community School in November 2013, although it had been ceremonially opened three months earlier! You will find the history of this project set out in several articles on this website with link backs from here. One of the major problems that these articles expose is that the school regularly makes claims that are untrue, most recently on its website when, whilst rightly acclaiming the best provisional GCSE results in the history of the school at 53% 5 A-Cs, (as shown in the photo on the page, and in the DfE’s official figures), but reported as 54%. It makes great play of the improvement on the predecessor school from 24%, but fails to point out, that this level, the second worst in the county in 2012 and 2013, was under the current leadership and a considerable fall on previous results under the former headteacher.
The school has been deeply unpopular with parents, in spite of the pressure on places in Dartford for at least the past four years, although this may change with the improved GCSE performance. This could be partly due to Ebbsfleet being one of the few secondary schools in Kent with no Sixth Form. For entry in 2013, there were 32 vacancies out of 150 spaces, on allocation in spite of 27 children being allocated who had not applied to the school. There are just 90 children left in that age group. For 2014, there were 11 vacancies after 34 allocations. For 2015 there were a massive 52 allocations contributing to the 136 places taken up. Each year, I receive more enquiries from parents seeking to avoid Ebbsfleet Academy than any other school in Kent. 36% GCSE 5 A-Cs including maths and English for 2014.
However, one prospective parent recently wrote to me that: "My child is currently yr 6 so have just applied for senior school. I was personally really impressed with the school, the fact it does single sex classes for some subject & the smaller class sizes. also the calibre of the teachers they had recruited from some of the best universities. Which I think showed by the GCSE results with the school being on par with other local schools They also advised that in September 2016, there will be an introduction of a Sixth Form".
Folkestone Academy. Was half of the Roger de Haan Academy Trust, although the other half, Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate closed in July 2015 because of poor leadership. Occupies impressive purpose built new premises. OFSTED Jun 2013, Required to Improve. Some Excerpts from the Report: Information about this school: The academy is much larger than the average-sized school; There are fewer pupils from minority ethnic backgrounds than in most schools of this size; The proportion of pupils who speak English as an additional language is below average; The academy meets the current government floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for pupils’ attainment and progress; The academy is currently housed in two buildings on separate sites. In September 2013 the primary academy is moving into new accommodation on the same site as the senior academy. Key findings: This is a school that requires improvement. A few years ago was one of the most popular schools in Kent, and still turned away 34 first choices for September 2013 entry.Benefits from a less popular alternative school in the town. Has expanded by 30 places to 270 for 2014 entry. Just filled on allocation before grammar school appeals. 2014 GCSE slipped to 33% GCSE 5 A-Cs, but back over the floor standard to 41% provisionally for 2015. Suffers academically from high level of grammar school selection through the Shepway Test. For 2015 admission, 14 first choices rejected as the alternative hit rock bottom. Since then the headteacher has been removed following a personal scandal and the school has come under some parental criticism following changes in policy designed to improve academic standards.
Folkestone School for Girls operates its own Independent Appeal Panel. Appeals are heard over an extended period, results often being given some time later (2010 entry). Shared an Executive Headteacher with the Marsh Academy at New Romney, but she has now returned to FSG. Usually has a number of vacancies. OFSTED 2012: Outstanding. Excerpts: Information about this school This average-sized, selective secondary school converted to academy status in February 2012. The school is well above the current government floor standard, which is the minimum expected for students’ attainment and progress The school has specialisms in mathematics and computing. Key findings. This is an outstanding school; The school has sustained high levels of attainment; Students excel through personal development and academic study; all achieve very well; Students, including those in the sixth form, love learning and derive great fulfilment from their work and the abundance of inspiring extra-curricular activities; The high expectations and excellent subject knowledge of staff underpin the outstanding teaching; Well-structured lessons provoke students’ curiosity and develop their independence and creativity; Students are very committed to the continuous improvement of their school; They contribute to decision-making through a range of forums and lead many projects with maturity and flair; Students are extremely well cared for by staff; They thrive in the uplifting learning environment; Tolerance and mutual respect are ingrained;. Students from all backgrounds work, play and socialise together very happily; Leadership and management are of high quality at every level; The standard is set by the exceptional leadership of the Executive Principal; The Chair of the Governing Body is a shrewd leader and tenacious guardian of the quality of students’ experiences; The sixth form is outstanding; Tailored guidance and first-rate provision ensure students achieve highly and are set to make the most of future opportunities. Had plenty of vacancies for September 2013, but a high proportion of appeals at the somewhat eccentric process were successful, totalling around 70. Has introduced the Shepway Test for 2014 in conjunction with The Harvey Grammar School, an alternative way of gaining admission to the Kent Test and increased intake by 15 to 180 in anticipation of additional girls. 68 qualified by this route, but because of increase in numbers, still plenty of vacancies. Just oversubscribed with first choices for 2015 entry, another 29 successful through appeal. Has an excellent GCSE record, consistently at least 99% 5 A-Cs, provisionally 100% again for 2015.
Fulston Manor School Sittingbourne. Always heavily oversubscribed. Uses an Independent Appeal Panel Administrator.Became an Academy in October 2011. 80 oversubscribed March 2012, Planned Admission Number 185, but after appeals both at Fulston and also losing children to grammar school appeals, 194 Year 7 students in September 2012. Third most popular non-selective school in Kent for September 2013, turning away 93 first choices. Increased intake for 25 to 210 for 2014 entry. As an Academy Trust has recently taken over the two South Avenue primary schools. OFSTED February 2014 - Good, Down one. Some excerpts: Information about the school: This school is larger than most secondary schools; The proportion of students given extra support from within the school and externally or with a statement of special educational needs is above average; The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress in English and mathematics; Students are entered early for GCSE in mathematics and English. Key Findings: Students achieve well and the progress of different groups of learners is improving rapidly; The quality of teaching is good and continuing to improve with some examples of outstanding practice; Second most oversubscribed non-selective in Kent for 2014, in spite of increased intake, with 103 first choices turned away. 113 turned away in 2015. Increasingly difficult to win on appeal, with just 6 out of 69 successful in 2015. Regularly well above government floor standard at GCSE, 48% 5 A-Cs provisionally in 2015.