You will find full details of this year’s Medway primary OFSTED outcomes by school, here, along with several individual stories in news items over the year: go to “more news” at the bottom of the front page. There are just a few schools who had OFSTED Inspections in July with reports still to be published, but otherwise the overall outcomes are as follows:
Medway Primary School OFSTED
Outcomes: 2013-14 and 2012-13
National Oct 2013
There are a number of shocking figures revealed in this table, the most serious I believe is that, of the 27 Primary School Inspections, just 3 schools have improved their rating, whilst a frightening 11 (over a third of the total) have actually declined. This is in an Authority that last year came 149thst out of 150 Local Authorities in the country and ought to be straining every muscle to show an improvement. As always, the reported comments by councillors show a complacency that belies this performance. The national percentage for Good or Outstanding schools is running at 62%, with Medway at 41% (Kent is better but still poor at53%); for failing schools - national 5% - Medway a truly awful 19%, nearly four times the national average (Kent is only a little better with 15%).
It is almost superfluous to observe that, for most of the year I have been keeping a note of what are called Section 8 OFSTEDs. These are mainly follow up inspections of schools that are assessed 'Requires Improvement', or 'Inadequate' and should be for schools where Medway Council has invested high resources to improve standards, having previously been found wanting. Incredibly, half of the 14 Section 8's I have tracked have been found to be 'Unsatisfactory' primarily because of failures by the Council to provide appropriate support. In Kent, the figure is around a quarter, which I still consider not good enough. I am told there is a School Improvement Service. I wonder what the service has been doing with these 14 schools to produce such a dreadful return.
If Medway parents are unhappy about their children starting in a failing school, as they should be, they also need to be asking questions about why Medway Council is failing so many of their children.
Primary School Vacancies in Medway
As the Medway Messenger article refers to the vacancy situation in Medway’s primary schools this year, parents may wish to look back at my article on vacancies and oversubscription projections following allocation of places in April. This reveals that if parents are unhappy with the school to which they are allocated, there is actually very little they can do about it in nearly all cases. Sorry.
Key Stage Two Results for 2014
Medway Council Press Release: 1st September 2014
Medway primary pupils showing fast improvement
Primary school pupils in Medway are improving faster than others across the country, new results show.
Key Stage 2 provisional results are showing significant improvements with Medway moving up the league table.
Cllr Mike O’Brien, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: “I am very encouraged by these latest provisional results which show a marked improvement at Key Stage 2 level. “It is a testament to the hard work going on in our primary schools by staff and pupils and our aim has always been to see a continued improvement each year.”
Cllr Kelly Tolhurst, Portfolio Holder for Educational Improvement, said: “It is pleasing that results at primary level are increasing each year and parents can be assured of a good start in their children’s school life.”
The provisional results in the press release above, certainly show an improvement on 2013’s awful placement of 144th out of 150 Local Authorities in the league table quoted in the release, but the new 140th place is definitely not sufficient to justify Councillor Tolhurst’s extravagant and wholly unrealistic claim that “parents can be assured of a good start in their children’s school life”. Indeed, Medway appear to have worked very hard on the presentation of a small improvement, to produce this rosy picture. Whilst I am sure that Medway is improving faster than the national improvement rate in some areas – which? Is it that there other areas, perhaps more important, where there is no such improvement? It is good to see that boys have done well, although we are not told how well compared to the national situation – surely if it was that good, a statistic should have been quoted to justify the term 'exceptional'. And where are the girls – how have they done compared to national figures?
The answers to all these questions will only become evident when the full data is published in November. For the sake of Medway’s children I hope it is more positive than this press release implies.