Governors of Barton Court Grammar School in Canterbury, have decided the school should remain in the city, rather than pursue the proposed move to Herne Bay which would also have enabled the school to be enlarged.
The proposal, outlined in previous articles on this website, split parents with many living in the city fiercely opposed to a move to the North Coast. In the other camp, many parents and especially prospective parents living on the North Kent coast around Herne Bay and Whitstable welcomed the proposal for a brand new local school building, with excellent facilities in an area where it was becoming increasingly difficult to access a grammar school place because of rising numbers in Canterbury and along the coast.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the county in Sevenoaks, the county's second proposal to enlarge a grammar school in new premises continues on the tortuous path it has now followed for three years. Planning permission for the proposed annexe and the new Trinity Free School has been approved without difficulty, but there is still no sign of a clear and legal agreement about which school or schools are to run the annexe......
Barton Court Grammar School in Canterbury has now gone out to Consultation on its proposed move to Herne Bay, details here. In previous articles I have discussed the proposal which has now been amended and refined to read as follows: "proposal to relocate the School to the former Herne Bay Golf Club site from September 2017 and to expand to 5 forms of entry. We have been offered an opportunity to build a new school within a proposed housing and sports complex development by Newmaquinn Ltd”.
The proposal is being challenged by all non-selective schools in the Canterbury district, on the grounds that there is no call for an extra grammar school class in the area, and to fill it would require the school to admit more students on appeal, who were initially non-selective, changing its character.
Unfortunately, both Barton Court's rationale for increasing its size and a letter to the press from the non-selective heads contain too many errors in the statistics they quote, the cases therefore becoming mutually contradictory. As a result, no conclusions can be drawn from the statistics in either of these two documents. The letter to the press has also gone to BCGS, KCC and the two local MPs.
I have carried out my own analysis of the data, using information from KCC under Freedom of Information requests, and conclude that the BCGS case for expansion is sensible, but not on the grounds they give......
Back in July, I reported the proposal for an East Kent satellite grammar school sponsored by Barton Court Grammar school and based in Herne Bay.
The plan appears to have changed in principle and, rather than a satellite, the proposal is now for Barton Court to shift its base entirely to Herne Bay, replicating the plan put forward in the 1980s to address the shortage of grammar school places on the North Kent Coast. However, this is not just a change of site, the proposal is for Barton Court Grammar to expand to six forms of entry, with the support of the developer of the site on the old Herne Bay Golf Club land, one benefit of a grammar school being the likely enhancement of status for his housing development. The capital cost of the project would be part funded from sale of the current city centre site, part from the developer, although there would probably be a shortfall that may be the main issue. Canterbury City Council is highly supportive of the move, as it would remove a major source of the heavy traffic problems in the City, so it would fall to the school persuading KCC, Canterbury Council and or government to make up any funding gap.
Much of the background rationale for the move is explained in my previous article, although the proposal to move the whole school lock, stock and barrel is far more radical and raises fresh issues and benefits........
Now that Kent County Council appears confident the legal issues surrounding a satellite grammar school in Sevenoaks have been overcome, a second proposal has come forward for a satellite at Herne Bay in East Kent, although this idea has none of the problems that have beset Sevenoaks.
The plan has been initiated by Sir Roger Gale, MP for North Thanet, following discussions between himself, Barton Court Grammar School, Kent County Council and a property developer - Quinn Estates from Canterbury and replicates a similar scheme proposed a quarter of a century ago, whose failure to be implemented has left festering problems ever since. Children of grammar school ability in Herne Bay and Whitstable have had difficulties in securing selective places for many years, as the four nearest grammar schools: Queen Elizabeth’s in Faversham; and Simon Langton Boys, Simon Langton Girls and Barton Court all in Canterbury are all regularly oversubscribed. Indeed, this year QE was the most oversubscribed grammar school in Kent except for the “super-selectives” along the county boundary in the West of the county.
you may have heard a summary of my views, expressed in more detail below, on Radio Kent this morning (Friday). KentOnline, for the Kentish Gazette has written an updated article, providing the views of Kirsten Cardus, Headteacher of Barton Court, here. Sir Roger Gale's views are reported here, which appear very critical of the position of KCC.
Now including Updates on St Edmund's and St John Fisher
Two recent failed OFSTEDs at St Edmund's Catholic School (secondary), Dover and St Phillip Howard Catholic Primary School, Herne Bay have seen the schools heading in very different directions. Also, a question. Why does a struggling Catholic School in Medway set out to discourage non-catholics from applying?
St Edmund's, which was a Voluntary Aided School run by the Archdiocese of Southwark Education Commission, but coming under the aegis of KCC, is to be turned into an academy, sponsored by the Archdiocese of Southwark. Even before OFSTED Early action was taken by KCC, issuing a warning notice which saw positive changes noted by OFSTED. It is difficult to see why the Archdiocese should have more success with total control in view of their failure to act with partial control, but this is surely a question they need to answer.
The Archdiocese of Southwark Education Commission has recommended that St Philip Howard be closed and this proposal is out for consultation.....
This week's published OFSTED Report on St Philip Howard RC Primary School in Herne Bay which places it in Special Measures is one of the most damning Reports I have read in recent years, the school being placed in the lowest category in all four measures considered by the Inspectors. Parents have clearly recognised this pattern of failure of recent years, as it occupies the lowest take up of any primary school in the county this year, with 76% of its reception places due to be left empty in September, just 7 children applying for and being offered places back in March out of the 30 available. For 2011 entry, it had the second lowest intake in Kent with 56% of its places being left empty. Overall, it currently has over half of all its places empty with just 100 children out of a capacity 210. Poor KS2 performance by the children may indicate one of the reasons for the lack of popularity of the school, it appearing in the bottom 5% of all schools in the county for performance in English & maths in 2011.
So what is the mystery, and why am I devoting space analysing this issue? In May, Michael Gove announced the names of the 261 schools to be awarded funds for refurbishment, including 14 from Kent. At the time I wrote an article expressing my bewilderment at some of the schools chosen, highlighting St Philip Howard, given the pressures on the many schools in need of critical improvement or even replacement. This latest news makes the decision even more bewildering............
Entries on this page include the OFSTED Grade for each Primary School as they are published, also recording change from previous Inspection result, together with some other relevant information below. It is worth using the search engine on the Home Page to pick up other references to individual schools.
You can read the full Report on each Primary School at OFSTED. In September 2012, OFSTED revised its Inspection Grading System, giving each school a main Grade: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement (previously Satisfactory), and Inadequate (two sub categories - A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and requires significant improvement but leadership and management are judged to be Grade 3 or better - A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school). Each Report carries a brief description of the school before justifying its decision in more detail. If a school is in Special Measures or Serious Weaknesses, the results of further monitoring visits are noted only where there is a problem.
You will find a good website to provide a host of factual data about Kent schools here.
Reports published post-August 2016 are in the first table, followed by other tables containing older ones (a school may have been inspected in the summer term of 2016 with a report published after 1st September 2016).
FAVERSHAM, HERNE BAY & WHITSTABLE
PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2016-17
|Good||Sept 16||No change|
|Selling CofE Primary||Good||Dec 16||No change|
|Outstanding||Jan 17||Up one|
FAVERSHAM, HB, & WHITSTABLE
PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2015-16
Boughton U Blean
& Dunkirk Methodist
|Good||Oct 15||Up one|
|Herne CofE Junior||Outstanding||Mar 16||Up two|
|Herne Bay Infant||Good||Apr 16||Up one|
FAVERSHAM, HB, & WHITSTABLE
PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2014-15
|Ethelbert Road||Outstanding||Sep 14||Up one|
Following Special Measures:
School and LA plans fit for purpose
|Reasonable progress to remove SM||May 15|
|St Mary's Catholic||Good||May 15||Up one|
|Whitstable Junior||Good||Apr 15||Up one|
FAVERSHAM, HB, & WHITSTABLE
PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2013-14
|Briary, HB||Good||Nov 13||Up one|
|Davington||Good||Sep 13||Up one|
|Graveney||Good||Sep 13|| |
1st Insp following Academy
|Herne Bay Infant||Requires Improvement||Jan 14|| |
|Herne Bay Junior||Requires Improvement||Mar 14|| |
|Herne CofE Junior||Requires Improvement||Oct 13|| |
|Joy Lane, Whitstable||Good||Feb 14|| |
|Reculver CofE||Reasonable prog to remove SM||Oct 13|
|Requires Improvement||Jul 14||Up one|
|St Mary of Charity (CofE) Aided||Serious Weaknesses||Jul 14||Down one|
2012 - 13 OFSTED REports
|Boughton Under Blean & Dunkirk||Requires Improvement||Jul 13||No change|
|Hampton||Good||Dec 12||1st Academy Insp|
|Hernhill||Good||Feb 13||Up one|
|Ospringe||Good||Nov 12||Up one|
|Sheldwich||Outstanding||Oct 12||Up one|
|St Mary of Charity||Requires Improvement||Sep 12||No change|
|St Mary's Catholic||Requires Improvement||May 13||No change|
|St Philip Howard Catholic||Satisfactory progress from SM||Nov 12|
|Reasonable progress from SM||Feb 13|
|Reasonable progress from SM||May 13|
|Whitstable Junior||Requires Improvement||May 13||Down one|
Pre September 2012 Reports
|Boughton under Blean & Dunkirk Primary||Satisfactory||Mar 2011|
|Briary Primary, Herne Bay||Satisfactory||Jan 2012|
|Davington Primary||Satisfactory||Nov 2011|
|Ethelbert Road Primary|| |
Good with several outstanding features
|Herne CofE Junior||Satisfactory||Jun 2012|
|Herne Bay Infant||Outstanding||May 2011|
|Herne Bay Junior||Good||Nov 2010|
|Hernhill CofE Primary||Satisfactory||Mar 2011|
|Joy Lane Primary, Whitstable||Good||Mar 2012|
|St Mary of Charity CofE Primary||Satisfactory and rapidly improving||Jun 2010|
|St Mary's Catholic Primary, Whitstable||Satisfactory||Jun 2011|
|St Philip Howard Catholic Primary School, HB||Special Measures||May 2012||see (1)|
|Whitstable & Seasalter Endowed Junior||Good||Jul 2012|