Kent primary schools show another strong performance through their OFSTED outcomes for 2015-16, with 25 schools improving their grading, against just 3 declining. 79% of schools were judged Good or Outstanding agasitn a national average of 77% to March (latest national figure published). This is underlined by very good figures in the latest Key Stage 2 attainment results, according to provisional results by Local Authority which place Kent 21st out of 152 Authorities, with 58% of children reaching the expected standard, well above the national figure of 52%. A KCC website providing information for teachers includes the view of the Corporate Director of Education on both OFSTED and Performance in National assessments.
Medway is at last also getting better, with 9 improved OFSTED outcomes against one down, a total of 7$% Good or Outstanding. Provisional KS2 results place Medway 25 places from the bottom with 48%, not good but a marked improvement on its bottom five position every previous year since 2009.
This is the first year that both attainment and progress are assessed at KS2, the new progress measure figures to be released later in the year.
Back in February when I reported on performance for the first half of the year, just three Kent schools had been found Outstanding, but this figure has now leapt to 11, with Blean, Brookfield, Great Chart, Hartley Primary Academy, Roseacre Junior, Sandwich Junior, and Tunstall CofE all improving their level from Good, and Herne CofE Junior leaping two grades from Requires Improvement to Outstanding.
In Medway, there are signs of progress at last with 72% of schools inspected last year found Good or Outstanding, the two schools assessed as Outstanding being Barnsole, up two levels from Requires Improvement, and Horsted Infants, up from Good. Two academies Oasis Skinner Street and Saxon Way are both up from Special Measures to Good.
You will find latest Local Authority and National figures at the foot of this article.
You will find individual school outcomes for several years in the Information pages for Kent and Medway primary schools. I reported on last year’s OFSTED performance here.
One of the reasons standards are improving according to this measure is the steady conversion of schools, especially weaker ones, to become academies wiping out any past OFSTED outcome. It also leaves them free for Inspection for three years unless there are exceptional circumstances. Quite reasonably parents of children at some of these schools, who are concerned about standards, are very unhappy they will not be assessed in the near future.
Kent Primary Schools
Although actual outcomes in Kent are almost identical to last year, including the rate of improvement, this reflects that the weaker schools are inspected more frequently, with the result that in total, according to government figures, 88% of Kent primary pupils are now attending a Good or Outstanding school, exactly the same as the national figure.
In total, 79% of the Kent primary schools inspected this year were found to be Good or Outstanding.
However, Romney Marsh looks one of two disaster areas for primary education in the county, containing both OFSTED failures this year, Brenzett being placed in Special Measures and St Nicholas, New Romney, being found Inadequate for a second consecutive time, with Serious Weaknesses. These follow Lydd and Dymchurch which have both been in Special Measures previously, but all four are now off KCC’s hands, having been taken over by academy groups, so any OFSTED classifications are expunged. Although the other two Marsh schools, Brookland and Palmarsh are both classified Good, travel difficulties mean that both these schools still have vacancies, as do the other four.
Gravesham is the second disaster area, both in terms of OFSTED performance and also KS2 results. A look at the individual schools page, in the Information Section of the website, reveals the scale of a problem I have been expressing concerns about for too many years now.
Five schools have been handed over to Academy chains because of failure, none at present looking as if they have been turned around. Kings Farm and Whitehill were brought to their knees by malevolent leadership, although both are now climbing rapidly. Two others were severely damaged by headteachers who should have retired earlier. Pressure on places means that I have few suggestions for the parents who contact me about problems in their schools.
In stark contrast, Dover holds the distinction of being the only Kent District to have every primary school’s latest OFSTED to be Good or Outstanding.
Kent’s academies have not inspired, with just one Good assessment and six Requires Improvement. This partially reflects the poor standard of those schools when they were taken over by KCC, but with three of the RIs, Dame Janet Primary Academy, Drapers Mills and Salmestone, all in Thanet and all owned by the poorly performing TKAT Academy Trust, this is hardly an advertisement for government claims that ‘Academy is best!’
Medway Primary Schools
Medway is rapidly becoming a playground for academy trusts, as the Council seeks to dispense with all its schools as a result of its failures in education over many years.
The biggest news is probably the Academy success of two schools previously in Special Measures, now awarded Good assessments. Oasis Skinner Street was given a pre-warning Notice of Closure by government because of poor standards just over a year ago, this public failure clearly inspiring the company to invest in the school to ‘effect transformation’ but it should never have been necessary.
Griffin Academies Trust has had vastly mixed fortunes with Saxon Way, previously in Special Measures whilst under the control of Medway Council, also leaping from Special Measures to Good, whilst Wayfield sank the other way under Griffin, see my previous article entitled: ‘Surely the worst ever performer in a crowded field in Medway’.
With 50% of primary schools and 90% of secondary schools already academies or on the way as a result of Medway Council policy, there is still a long way to go to recover from the failures of management and leadership by the Council. Government argues with little evidence that academisation improves standards but, in the case of Medway it could hardly do worse. However, there is an unacceptable legacy of children's futures being damaged in Medway and progress is still painfully slow. Surely, there is a better way.
|Kent & Medway Primary OFSTED Outcomes 2015/16 |
| ||Outstanding || |
|Inadequate ||Total ||Up ||Down |
|Kent ||11 ||41 ||12 ||2 ||66 ||45 ||3 |
|Kent % ||17 ||62 ||18 ||3 || ||68 ||5 |
Kent FS &
|0 ||2 ||6 ||0 ||8 ||4 ||0 |
|Academy % ||0 ||25 ||75 ||0 || ||50 ||0 |
|Medway ||2 ||12 ||4 ||1 ||19 ||9 ||1 |
|Medway % ||11 ||63 ||21 ||5 || ||47 ||5 |
|0 ||5 ||1 ||1 ||7 ||3 ||1 |
|0 ||71 ||14 ||14 ||43 ||14 || |
Sep 15 - Mar 16
|7 ||70 ||19 ||4 || || || |
|18 ||67 ||14 ||1 || || || |