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Patrick Leeson, Corporate Director of KCC’s Education and Children Services Directorate, retired from his post at the end of November. He has been succeeded in a revised role by Matt Dunckley CBE, who has become Corporate Director Children, Young People and Education.

Patrcik Leeson 2        Mat Dunckley

What follows is a brief look at Mr Leeson’s time with KCC, together with a summary of the background of Mr Dunckley.....

Published in Peter's Blog

Kent County Council has submitted hard-hitting written evidence  to the Government Select Committee on Education’s inquiry into Academies and Free Schools which began on Wednesday last week. It explores “the potential atomisation and fragmentation of the education system” – a very evocative image. The Guardian calls its views on Free Schools ‘withering’ and, with last week’s news about the culling of sixth form courses for financial reasons, whilst the Free School budget appears to have no bounds, KCC makes some very good points on this aspect. Perhaps the money that state schools would have to find to keep schools open for nine hours or even taking Public School Common Entrance Exams, would be better spent on reinstating foreign languages, economics, music and other important sixth form curriculum courses all dear to Mr Gove’s heart, that have bitten the dust.

Much of the evidence provided is concerned with the problem of accountability and what to do with underperforming or failing academies, taking as an exemplar the surely non-viable Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate, now down to fewer than 30% of its places filled this year.

Kent on Sunday published an article expanding on these issues, which you will find here, however, to pick up some of the issues in the article ........

Published in News and Comments

Former headteacher, Peter Read the man behind the Kent Independent Advice Service, examines a growing tension between Kent County Council and the growing number of schools opting to become Government Funded Academies

 Kent County Council (KCC) has submitted written evidence  to the Government Select Committee on Education’s inquiry into Academies and Free Schools which began on Wednesday.  It addresses concerns about both accountability and performance of academies, choosing The Marlowe Academy as an illustration. However, KCC could equally have chosen Tree Tops Academy and Molehill Copse Primary School, both run by the controversial Academies Enterprise Trust, which previously 'ran' Marlowe for a year. 

KCC's proposes that underperforming academies should revert to Local Authority accountability, but the weakness is that there is an assumption the LA is up to the job. I have written extensively on Medway Council's repeated failure to manage standards adequately, and they clearly do not have capacity to improve schools, whilst Kent is not yet a beacon of excellence. For, although it is improving, it has still too many primary schools fail OFSTED Inspections recently, all vulnerable to takeover by Academy groups (nine already on their way).  

This week’s news about the culling of sixth form courses for financial reasons whilst the Free School budget appears to have no bounds, underlines the illogical nature of current education policy, and KCC makes some very good points about the problems with Free School philosophy and implementation  .......

Much of the supplementary evidence to back up assertions in this article can be found on my website: www.kentadvice.co.uk......

Published in Newspaper Articles

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 .......

Published in Peter's Blog