Supporting Families
  • banner13
  • banner8
  • banner4
  • banner6
  • banner10
  • banner3
  • banner7
  • banner11
  • banner12
  • banner9

bishops down

The long drawn out saga of Bishops Down Primary School in Tunbridge Wells continues and appears to be inching towards a permanent solution after KCC tried to force a reduction in its intake numbers until a parent took them to the Schools Adjudicator in 2012, who in August ruled KCC was in the wrong. The Adjudicator further criticised KCC heavily for: failing to provide reliable information on admissions arrangements at schools in Tunbridge Wells from year to year; failing to consult parents on changes; and for using practices and criteria to decide Planned Admission Numbers (PAN) that were not clear, consistent or objective. KCC tried to wriggle out of the instruction to expand permanently over the next year, but during the course of 2013 has now come to the conclusion that the expansion is the right way to go......


Read more...
Last modified on Sunday, 22 September 2013 12:38
Tuesday, 17 September 2013 23:10

Chatham Grammar School for Boys: Parents' Forum

Written by Peter Read

This item should be read in conjunction with the article outlining the Ofsted failure of Chatham Grammar School for Boys

The new leadership of Chatham Grammar School for Boys held a parents’ forum last Thursday, to explain their way forward from the failed Ofsted Inspection and to answer questions. I have had a number of reports back about the meeting as there are many concerned parents about, and this article attempts to summarise these. If you think I have misread the situation, please let me know.  

What is clear is that the main effect on families is the feeling of loss of pride and self-esteem that came from being members of what most saw as a happy and successful school. I have repeatedly heard statements such as: “my son was so proud to be a student at Chatham Grammar School for Boys. That pride has been destroyed by the Ofsted Report”. 

What is also evident is that the Report came as a totally unexpected bombshell to so many parents, hence the sense of bewilderment and anger......


Read more...
Last modified on Tuesday, 17 September 2013 23:36

mayfield

I live in Gravesend and am regularly asked why Mayfield Grammar School has vacancies this year, a situation hardly improved when there were just 17 successful appeals  out of 39, although the school had 35 spaces going.

Actually there is no mystery as the explanation is quite straightforward and arises because of a gender difference in the town greater than anywhere else in Kent this year. In the current Year 6, Gravesham has 610 boys in local state schools but only 536 girls. The discrepancy was exacerbated by the children’s performance in the Kent Test where 23% of boys passed but only 21% of girls. This gave a total of 144 selective boys but only 115 girls.....


Read more...
Last modified on Friday, 20 September 2013 19:38
Saturday, 25 May 2013 08:08

What a difference three days makes

Written by Peter Read

Took three days holiday this week in gap caused by half-term between preparing clients for appeals. Naturally there was a sudden outbreak of news including the following, some of which I will cover over the next couple of days:

1) Judd School announces it is considering setting up its own 11 plus tests for 2015 entry.

2) Judd school confirms no successful appeals this year.

3) Two new proposed Free Schools announced for opening in 2014 if approved. Jubilee Primary, in Maidstone, will be run by  Jubilee Church. Also the INSPIRE Special Free School will initially have 40 places and be based next to Silverbank Park in Churchill Avenue. Medway Council has worked in partnership with three schools in submitting the bid to the Department for Education: Willimaosn School Trust; Bradfields Special School; and Greenacre School. I don;t have any further details yet.

4) Kent County Council has begun its consultation on the proposed Sevenoaks Grammar School satellite

5) The usual assassins keep putting the boot into the Trinity Christian Free  School on the 11 plus website (not sure what it has to do with the 11 plus!) proposed for the same site

6) An OFSTED for Dame Janet Primary Academy in Ramsgate. formed out of Dame Janet Junior and Dame Janet Infants (failed OFSTED) receives shocking OFSTED  showing that  becoming an Academy is not the solution for everyone.

7) KCC to debate unacceptable delays in preparing Statements of Special Education Need. It is claimed that these are down to failures by the medical services to provide timely appropriate evdence. 


Read more...
Last modified on Monday, 27 May 2013 19:21

Mike Whiting is the biggest Conservative casualty in yesterday's election for the Kent County Council, losing his seat for Swale Central. Politics apart, I believe he will be sorely missed and Kent school children will be the losers by his going.  Mike only became a County Councillor at the last election in 2009, and when he was appointed Deputy Cabinet Member and then Cabinet Member for Education in short succession, both in 2011, I feared that his lack of education experience would be a setback. However, he mastered his brief rapidly and in the last 12 months we have seen many initiatives that are down to his drive that have improved the quality of education for our children.

The shortage of places in both primary and secondary schools last year was a debacle, but was minimised for 2013 admissions through a robust approach to creating additional places .......
Read more...

Last modified on Saturday, 04 May 2013 08:23

Three weeks ago I wrote an article about the OFSTED failures of two Catholic schools, and  appended a comment about problems with admission numbers at St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive School in Chatham. However, it looks as if those who have stuck with the school are on a winner, as OFSTED has Reported that the school as having a GOOD standard of education, up from the previous 'Satisfactory' two years ago. St John Fisher is supported by St Paul's Academy in Greenwich, whose Principal spends one and a half days weekly at St John Fisher. Strong leadership is clearly a major factor in the turn-around, OFSTED recording: "The headteacher and the leadership team are passionate about driving up standards at the school.......
Read more...

Last modified on Monday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Thursday, 11 April 2013 13:19

What can I do about Medway Council? - Continued

Written by Peter Read

Warning – this is a very long and somwhat rambling article about Freedom of Information Requests in Medway, but it makes me feel better if nothing else! Back in December 2011, I wrote a blog article on this very topic, complaining about Medway Council’s repeated failure to respond to FOIs with a follow up in February. . Since then the Information Commissioner has ruled that Medway Council is in breach of Section 10(1) of the Freedom of Information Act in failing to comply with a request of mine within the statutory time for compliance. However, this appears to have made no impact on their current poor practices. .......


Read more...
Last modified on Wednesday, 17 April 2013 18:24
Monday, 25 March 2013 23:25

Cranbrook School

Written by Peter Read

Cranbrook School has now concluded its consultation about changing the age of entry from 13 to 11 and governors have agreed in principle to go ahead using the Kent 11 plus as the basis for admission to the school, preference being given to those living within the school catchment area.  I am delighted to learn this, having counselled many unhappy families over the years who were and still are trying to cope with the results of the anomaly. As is the nature with such things, the proposed date to start the new entry at eleven has slipped another year to September 2016.

I explained the background to the current unique age of entry in Kent in an article a year ago at the start of the consultation........


Read more...
Last modified on Tuesday, 26 March 2013 11:04
Thursday, 31 January 2013 23:24

Medway Council: no comment needed

Written by Peter Read

Dan Bloom of the The Medway Messenger has reported on an education debate which took place in a Medway Council full meeting on 24th January. According to this, the Lead Member for Education, Councillor Les Wicks maintained that Medway's exam results were good, surely the only person in the whole of Medway who could think this. You will find on this site, clear evidence of many cases of Medway's inadequacy, and the washing of hands by councillors and officials of their responsibility. For example (1), (2), (3), and (4), although a search for 'Medway' on the site will find others.  

The article reads in full..........
Read more...

Last modified on Saturday, 27 April 2013 20:06
Sunday, 27 January 2013 19:42

Chaucer Technology School: : Headteacher Resigns

Written by Peter Read

The Headteacher of Chaucer Technology School in Canterbury has resigned with immediate effect, the second Kent secondary head to go in such a way in just a few months, following the head of Swan Valley School in Swanscombe. The head of Hextable School, also featured on this website. went just before the end of last summer term. Although there is no formal indication of the reasons for the departure of the Chuacer headteacher, there are signs that this was on the cards. The school is consulting on plans to become a Sponsored Academy, becoming part of a multi-sponsored trust, presumably one of the large academy chains, many of which would dispense with the previous leadership in a struggling school, most academies on this model starting with a new headteacher. 

There is no doubt that Chaucer Technology is struggling at present,.....


Read more...
Last modified on Monday, 28 January 2013 10:46

As Reported below, the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), which effectively ran The Marlowe Academy in the last school year, made limited progress in its attempts to improve standards at the academy, overseeing a failed OFSTED. It then made limited progress in two subsequent monitoring Inspections and paved the way for the most recent barely adequate one.  

It also took over three Maidstone primary schools in April 2012, including the previous Bell Wood Primary School which became Tree Tops Academy. OFSTED has now carried out its first monitoring Inspection eight months after AET took over the school which was previously in Special Measures. The summary conclusion of "Having considered all the evidence I am of the opinion that at this time the academy is not making enough progress in raising standards for all pupils. This visit has raised serious concerns and the timing of the academy’s next inspection may be affected" is surely an indictment of the academy chain's input to this school. 

Some excerpts from the Report:.....


Read more...
Last modified on Tuesday, 22 January 2013 07:24
Sunday, 20 January 2013 07:22

Marlowe Academy - Does it have a future?

Written by Peter Read

The Marlowe Academy failed its OFSTED for the second time, in November 2011, and it was obvious from the Report and letters to parents that Governors and Trustees were still failing to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation. You will find my comments on the first monitoring inspection in March which did nothing to dispel that theory. The third monitoring Inspection report has now been published, and this, together with student numbers and comments made to me,  lead me to seriously ask the question - does the Marlowe Academy have a future? On numbers alone, it is difficult to see how the school is financially viable, with the intake falling year on year to the disastrous September 2012 figure of 62, filling just over a third of the 180 places available. This is a further drop of 19 children from the 81 places offered in  March, although this figure was disputed by a senior member of the Academy who either didn't understand the seriousness of the problem, or was misled into believing the take up was much higher. 

Unsurprisingly, the link to OFSTED Reports on the Academy website is non-functioning (its been fixed since this item was fist published!), and there is no mention of the recent Monitoring Inspection. This Inspection underlines the problem of viability, revealing that .......


Read more...
Last modified on Tuesday, 29 January 2013 20:23
Thursday, 08 November 2012 22:58

What a media day

Written by Peter Read

Every now and then I have a media storm, but never one like the last two days (a little licence in the title). It began on Wednesday morning when I was invited to comment on Radio Kent about claims by the headteacher of Bromstone Primary School in Thanet that some headteachers were going out of their way to discourage children with a poor reputation and some with Special Education Needs  from applying to their schools. Although I often disagree with him, he is absolutely right in this case. I have talked with parents of children with SEN who have visited schools and been told they can't cope and to go the school up the road "which is good for such children".  A good way of keeping the SEN budget down! At primary level the HT talked of primary schools that identified difficult children through the nursery and set out to put them off. Again, I have come across parents reporting such experiences. Unprofessional schools, but looking out for one's league table  and OFSTED performance, together with a more easily earned reputation for good discipline . Next, ...
Read more...

Last modified on Friday, 16 November 2012 23:12
Sunday, 21 October 2012 16:21

Amazing Week for the website

Written by Peter Read

The current website for Kentadvice.co.uk has now been running since February 2011, and the past week has seen record browsing in a number of categories. The previous month with the largest overall number of visitors was March 2012, when both primary and secondary school allocations were released; there being 16976 visitors to the site. For October 2012, there are already 20706 visitors with a week still to go. The peak date was last Thursday, immediately after the Kent 11 plus results were published, with 2568 visitors in total. 

However, the most remarkable figures have been reached by the individual news items published in the past seven days since eleven plus results were released with over a thousand visitors looking at the full article for three of the six most recent items, in addition to over 800 subscribers who receive these articles automatically. This does not count ........


Read more...
Last modified on Friday, 16 November 2012 23:13
Thursday, 28 June 2012 20:08

Medway Test 2013 & last year's debacle

Written by Peter Read

Now that the outcomes of last year's Medway Test debacle have been settled and all appeals heard, accompanied where relevant by an apology from Medway Council, it is timely to look at the consequencesfor the imminent tests for 2013 entry.  

Medway Council, highly embarrassed by its own poor management of the Medway Tests last year, has reorganised the organisation of the tests to be taken in September 2012. Children attending all Medway state primary schools will take the tests in their own schools.  44 of the 62 primary schools will take the Medway Tests on Tuesday 18th & Wednesday 19th September, the remaining 18 on Saturday 22nd September. Each school could choose which arrangement it wished to follow. Two private schools will also use 18th & 19th, St Andrews is going for 22nd, and pupils at Kings School, Rochester will take the tests at an independent centre, along with out of county children. The full list of schools is in the Medway Secondary Admissions brochure, available here, or from Medway Council directly. 

The logistics of this arrangement will be complicated......
Read more...

Last modified on Friday, 19 October 2012 10:13
Page 5 of 6