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Sunday, 01 April 2012 19:21

Tiger School, Maidstone, & second Bell Wood OFSTED failure

Sicne I wrote my article on the new Tiger Free Primary School, to be set up in spare capacity in the New Line Learning Academy in Maidstone, I have had a steady stream of correspondents telling me my views were wrong. I still think it wrong that government money should be diverted in this way, when there is such severe pressure on capilta fo rschol improvements. 

However, if I were a parent in that area of Maidstone, where the local schools are Bell Wood Primary, Molehill Copse Primary and Oak Trees Community Schools, or towards Loose which is oversubscribed, I would be giving thanks for the opportunity, even if it is completely untried. The prompt for this change of heart  is ........

 

the second consecutive OFSTED failure of Bell Wood. The Report  refers to four different headteachers since the previous inspection in 2009 and, although the Report identifies improvements since that dreadful Inspection,  there is no doubt that KCC, having failed to take turn it into a satisfactory school, will heave a sigh of relief when all three schools are taken over as Academies by the  Academies Enterprise Trust, who will no doubt invest heavily to avoid further problems. The other two schools, who have also failed OFSTEDs in the past two years, have at least been found Satisfactory in subsequent inspections. The question parents will be asking is whether the Academies Enterprise Trust will be able to make a difference. Currently, it has been called in to support the Marlowe Academy, see below, which also failed its OFSTED in November, and has been working there since September. 

At the present time, the Tiger School looks the better bet! Although we do not yet have firm details of how it is to operate, its popularity appears high. It is operating outside the KCC co-ordinated admission scheme, so no offers it has made can be certain to take up the places, as all parents will have an alternative school through the KCC scheme and will have to choose at some time, possibly as late as the first day of the Autumn term! The school has offered places to all 76 children who have applied for the Reception class. A new headteacher has been appointed, Emma Bryant, a "senior manager from the independent sector".

What is certain is that parents are voting with their feet. KCC has let too many children down, as it has allowed all these schools to fail, a loss of education that cannot be made up.  I would do the same, rather than take what appears the greater risk of leaving my children in schools with a proven record of failure. 

Last modified on Sunday, 14 April 2013 07:52

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