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Displaying items by tag: Chaucer Technology College - Kent Independent Education Advice

The story so far: In September 2010, Chaucer was still Canterbury’s most popular school, and the year before that I was handling appeals for places at the school. However, because of poor governance, mismanagement and failure to provide proper oversight of the school’s finances it had already started on a downward spiral culminating in OFSTED placing the school in Special Measures in February last year, identifying these as the key issues. By then the school had reduced its Planned Admission number from 235 to 150 with just 57 children entering the school in September 2013, filling only a quarter of the places available and taken up a few years previously. Kent County Council subsequently decided to close the school in February this year after just 26 children placed the school as their first preference, a decision that was unavoidable given all that had gone before.  You will find further details here

 

Chaucer

Following a Public Consultation, whose outcome was inevitable, given that nearly all students in Years 7-9 had been transferred to other schools by Easter, a formal decision to close the school from September 2015 was made on June 4th.

However, OFSTED in its most recent Monitoring Inspection of the school, explicitly and wrongly places the blame for the closure on the decision of The Canterbury Academy to increase its intake by two forms of intake to absorb a massive increase in first choices, soaring from 155 in 2013 to 205, rather than the failures of those responsible  for the school itself, as parents sought to avoid the disaster that was now the Chaucer. This is demonstrated by the dramatic fall in first choices to 26, continuing a sharp decline over several years, finally halving from from 58 the previous year. This has nothing to do directly with Canterbury Academy, except for the latter's far more popular offering. Chaucer is currently run by the Executive Headteacher of the Swale Academies Trust, which originally took it over with the intention of turning it round, but having failed in this task is now closing it down after the current Year 10 students, the only year group left in the school, have taken their GCSEs.  

OFSTED identifies the following consequences .............

Published in Peter's Blog
Thursday, 10 April 2014 00:00

News Stories

I have been looking at the stories and information pages that have provoked most interest on this website. The most popular news items (those with over 20,000 visitors since publication ) naturally include six stories about  Kent and Medway admissions and the Kent Test, and three about problems in Medway. What I hadn't appreciated was the popularity of stories about individual schools, the remainder being articles about Chaucer Technology School (49,820), Swan Valley School/Ebbsfleet Academy, Marlowe Academy, Dover Road Primary School (Gravesham), and two Catholic Schools - St Edmund's RC, Dover and St Philip Howard, Herne Bay, all attracting over 20,000 visitors. 

Biggest draw by far is the information page article on Kent Grammar School Admissions at 85,687 visitors, the second most popular information article listing Kent Special Schools and Units (41,071). Other popular pages provide information about Kent secondary school admissions, Kent grammar school appeals, secondary school statistics on admissions and appeals, Medway grammar school applications, primary school admissions and appeals, and the thorny issue of school transport and transport appeals.

You will find the full lists below, followed by comments about some of the individual stories.........

Published in Peter's Blog

 This article looks at the consultation papers sent out out to parents and other interested parties regarding the proposed closure of the Chaucer Technology School, which are reproduced later in this document. 

In my view the undue prominence given in the document to the expansion of the Canterbury academy as a reason for the closure, totally misses the point. The dramatic fall in numbers over five years, is purely down to the school failing to offer a quality of education attractive to families. The fact that there are just 26 first choices for Chaucer for September is nothing to do with Canterbury Academy, except that families are clearly finding it, and the other Canterbury District schools a far more attractive option. 

The table in the document only gives the expected intake at Chaucer for September if the school was to remain open as 26, rather than the 40 offers made today. 26 is the number of first choices only, but is a realistic assessment, and mirrors the situation of 2013 entry, as most of the children who did not make it first choice did not take up their places having found preferred schools.  

I think it is misleading, presumably unintentionally, when referring to places available in the Canterbury District. I can find no reference to the possible destinations of Year 7- 9 pupils. For the information of parents, In Years 7 to 9, the schools with vacant spaces are as follows: The Community College, Whitstable - 242; Spires Academy - 88; St Anselm's Catholic School - 27; The Archbishop's School - minus 5; Canterbury Academy - minus 33. All three grammar schools are full. It therefore follows that the overwhelming majority of the 237 children who are to be displaced from the school in September, will be destined for The Community College Whitstable, outside the city and over 8 miles by road. KCC does acknowledge that children will receive free school transport if they qualify (!) but this is hardly satisfactory. The council appears happy that there will be a 5% surplus in Canterbury District for the new Year Seven pupils, but again this is also likely to be concentrated in Whitstable!

It remains my view that the closure of Chaucer Technology School remains inevitable because of past and present mismanagement as explained in my previous articles...

Published in Peter's Blog

The following is an adaptation of an article appearing in Kent on Sunday this weekend. It is written following the announcement of the closure of Chaucer Technology College in Canterbury subject to Consultation (below), and  also looks at other vulnerable schools, the effect of Free Schools on Kent's maintained school system, and the impact of inward migration in Kent. 

The announcement of the closure of Chaucer Technology School in Canterbury at the end of the summer should have come as no great surprise, given the dramatically falling number of students entering the school over the past few years, and the huge financial deficit allowed to develop. You will find a fuller analysis of the issues here. However, this article looks at the wider pattern of take up of secondary school places across Kent, identifying other schools that are vulnerable. The schools with the highest proportion of vacant places have remained the same over the past few years, leading one to ask how some of these can also remain viable, given that school incomes depend on the number of pupils they attract. Chaucer is the second closure in twelve months, with Walmer Science College being absorbed into Castle Community College last September, because of the falling number of children in the Deal District. I do not anticipate these two schools will be the last.

Concerns have been expressed about the number of young people coming to Kent from other European countries, causing pressure on school places.....

Published in News Archive

My previous article on this topic attracted over 4000 hits in five days, counting in my regular subscribers, the fastest hit rate ever. Feel free to add another comment at the bottom of either item.  

You will find that item below, here. KCC has now sent out the Consultation document for the proposed closure, which you will find in my blog, together with further comment.

Chaucer Technology

The Chaucer Technology School in Canterbury is to close at the end of the summer term, subject to a legally required consultation process, apart from the current Year 10 students who will need continuity to complete their GCSE courses. I offer advice to affected families on their next steps, in the second highlighted box below. The Council has provided the following statement, explaining the decision and the consequences:.....

Published in News Archive

A link to this article from another website, means that some browsers are unaware I have updated it with a fresh article above, here

There are convincing rumours in Canterbury, backed up by an article in the Kentish Gazette, that Chaucer Technology School is to close at the end of the school year. An official announcement of the situation and plans for the school will be sent to parents on Tuesday (25th), and I will update this article when I see the KCC statement that day. i.e. before school allocations are made on 3rd March. You will find the following statement from Kent County Council on the school website and which was also sent to parents. It is hardly designed to comfort families although it is difficult to know what else the Council can do at short notice, given what appears to be an unplanned and unauthorised leak of information. 

Kent County Council regrets that an article speculating on the closure of Chaucer School has appeared in the press. We recognise that parents, pupils and staff may now be anxious about the school. We will inform staff and write to every parent next week to clarify the situation.

In one sense, this dreadful situation is no surprise for, as readers of this website will know,I have reported on the school's downwards spiral for some years, from its previous standing as being a very popular school. You will find my most recent article here. Even as recently as 2010, the school’s 235 places were all awarded on allocation day, with 163 families making Chaucer their first choice.  A few years previous to that I was handling appeals for admission to the school, which was bi-lateral running a popular grammar stream open only to those who had passed the Kent Test, alongside a non-selective section which was heavily oversubscribed........

Published in News Archive

It is no surprise that Chaucer Technology College has been placed in Special Measures by OFSTED. Parents recognised some years ago that there were serious problems, and this once heavily oversubscribed, successful and popular school has seen applications slump over the past two years with only 90 of its current 235 Year 7 places filled. For next September, the school made the decision to reduce the number of empty spaces by the simple device of reducing the capacity to 150. However, at just 81 even fewer offers have been made for next September, including 8 allocated by the Local Authority; a figure that will surely shrink further as children bale out into places at more popular schools. Iworte about this in a previous article here

GCSE performance, compared to other Kent schools has been declining annually for years, and for the past two years has been in the bottom 10% in the county. 

School governors took belated action in January when the headteacher left the school with immediate effect, but the appointment of a new Acting Principal was insufficient to turn the school round in just over a month before the Inspection.

The sorry state of the school at this time can be seen from some of the comments in the Inspection Report:.........

Published in News Archive

In Kent as a whole, 88% of secondary school places are filled in Year Seven, although the target figure is 90-95%. Under previous governments, pressure was applied to Local Authorities to meet their targets, but now most secondary schools in Kent are academies, government relies on parental preference to see popular schools expand and unpopular ones to disappear. This battle of attrition is now affecting the seven Kent & Medway secondary schools which currently have fewer than fifty per cent of their Year Seven places filled, all having witnessed a sharp decline in their intake numbers over the past four years. For four of these, their unpopularity with families has been underlined by OFSTED failures over this time, ........

Published in News Archive