Six Kent and Medway schools have now been issued with Notices about standards in the year to 25th March 2016, a disturbing proportion of the 48 Notices issued nationally in that year – hardly an indication of rising standards in Academies. The total number of academies currently stands at 5272. Since my last article in July, which looked at a similarly alarming number of Notices for Kent and Medway schools, four new Notices have been issued. The Gravesend Grammar Schools Academy Trust was issued with a pre-termination notice in November by the Regional Schools Commissioner, in relation to Whitehill Primary School in Gravesham, the second school in the Trust. If it fails to improve or respond appropriately to some tough demands, as set out below, the school will be issued with a Termination Notice, which could lead to the closure of the school. Astor College, Dover, was issued with a Full Warning in December 2015, following its failure to respond properly to a pre-warning the previous year and again has had to answer some tough questioning. Spires Academy in Canterbury was issued with a Pre-Warning Notice in September, especially significant in connection with its relationship with Simon Langton Grammar School. The Future Schools Trust was issued with a pre-warning Notice relating to Cornwallis Academy and New Line Learning Academy, in Maidstone, in November....
(updated September 2015)
The Abbey School, Faversham. OFSTED 2013 - Good. Some excerpts from Report. Information about the school: The Abbey School converted to become an academy in August 2011; When its predecessor school, of the same name, was last inspected by Ofsted, it was judged to be good; The school is an average-sized secondary school with a small sixth form; It accepts students of all abilities in an area where there is selective education; The school provides specially resourced provision known as the Autism Centre for 32 students with special educational needs; The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress in secondary schools; The proportion of disabled students and those with special educational needs supported through school action is high; Over one third of students who did not achieve the expected level in reading and/or mathematics at the end of primary school are funded for the Year 7 catch-up programme; As part of the ‘Coastal Collaboration’, the school works in partnership with two universities, two local schools and a college - As a result, a small number of Key Stage 4 students attend off-site work-related courses in hair and beauty and construction, motor vehicle and outdoor education; The school has a Business and Enterprise specialism. Key findings: This is a good school; Examination results are good in an increasingly wide range of subjects and students make good progress in lessons; Teaching is typically good and sometimes outstanding; The sixth form is good - Good leadership and teaching result in good achievement. 15 vacancies for September 2013, 12 in 2014, full on allocation in March 2015, a reflecting the schools increasing reputation. Just missed the governments GCSE floor standard, with 38% five A-Cs in 2014, although normally above it.
Angley School, Cranbrook. Now closed and re-opened as High Weald Academy.
The Archbishop's School: was a popular Canterbury school, with 53 first choices turned away in 2012, 31 in 2013. The school has small classes but surprisingly has not attracted a good OFSTED recently, having been found to Require Improvement in both 2012 and October 2013. Some excerpts from the Report. OFSTED - Information about the school: This is a smaller than average-size secondary school; A little under 8% of students are disabled or have special educational needs and are supported through school action: this proportion is below the national average. A little over 14% are supported at school action plus or have a statement of special educational needs which is well above the national average; The school meets the government’s floor standards, which set the minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress. Key findings - This is a school that requires improvement. It is not good because: The students’ progress, particularly in English and mathematics, is not yet good enough; Teachers do not plan sufficiently for the progress of all their students. Teaching skills, such as the effective use of questioning and the setting of appropriate homework, are not being consistently well used; Some lessons are disrupted by poor behaviour because the work students are given is not challenging enough; The sixth form requires improvement. The full report is more critical than most in this category, and is surely, and astonishingly for a school with its reputation, only just above inadequate. One of the lowest schools in Kent for Value Added. An OFSTED Monitoring Inspection in February 2014, following up the full inspection is, in my opinion, quite critical. Still just oversubscribed for 2014 and 2015 on allocation in March. Consistently above floor standard in GCSE showing the quality of intake in previous years, with 46% 55 A-Cs in 2014.
Astor College for the Arts Dover. 10% of places awarded on ability in the visual arts. The school is part of the Dover Federation of the Arts, in conjunction with Shatterlocks Infant School, Barton Junior School and White Cliffs Primary College of the Arts. OFSTED March- July, after a controversial series of events, when the school was initially placed in Special Measures, it was found to Require Improvement, down from Good. Excerpts from the Report: Information about the school - Astor College is a slightly larger than average-size, non-selective academy. It is in an area where a relatively high proportion of students attend selective schools; The college is federated with Barton Junior School, White Cliffs Primary College for the Arts, Pebbles Nursery, and Shatterlocks Infant and Nursery School. These schools make up the Dover Federation for the Arts, which converted as a federation to academy status in June 2012. When Astor College’s predecessor school, which had the same name, was last inspected by Ofsted, it was judged to be good overall, A board of directors exercises governance of all four schools in the federation; The proportion of students who are disabled or have special educational needs is above average. The proportion of disadvantaged students for whom the school receives the pupil premium (additional government funding) is well above the national average; The proportion of students joining the college after the start of Year 7 is higher than average; The college serves a community with relatively little ethnic or cultural diversity; In 2014, the college did not meet the government’s current floor standard, which sets minimum expectations for attainment and progress; The college has strong links with other schools in the federation, and with Duke of York’s Royal Military School. The Chief Executive Officer of the Dover Federation for the Arts is Executive Principal of Duke of York’s Royal Military School; Astor College is a former specialist school for the arts. The arts continue to have a very high profile within the life of the school and the federation. Key Findings: This is a school that requires improvement; Too few students make good progress in mathematics and science; Priorities such as the need to improve students’ literacy skills, and to close the gaps between the attainment of disadvantaged students and others, are flagged up clearly by senior leaders but are not always given a consistently high profile in lessons; The sixth form requires improvement because too few students achieve high grades across a range of subjects The college’s work in expressive and performing arts is impressive. Plenty of vacancies each year. See article. GCSE performance hovers around the government floor standard each year, falling below it to 35% A-Cs for 2014.
Aylesford School. Completely rebuilt around 2010 under a PFI scheme. OFSTED 2013 - Requires Improvement. Surprisingly, OFSTED came back again in December 2013. Found the school had improved to Good. Some Excerpts - Information about the school: Aylesford School is slightly smaller than the average-sized secondary school. It is a non-selective school in a local authority in which a significant number of schools select students by ability; Approximately 70 Key Stage 4 students currently attend courses at Mid-Kent College; The school meets the government’s current floor standards, which set minimum expectations for students’ attainment and progress. Key findings: This is a good school: From their low starting points, all groups of students make good progress. After a period when the school was not popular, it has been oversubscribed for the past two years, turning away 23 students on allocation in March 2015. Usually above government floor standards for GCSE, the school slipped to 37% 5 A-Cs for 2014.