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Wednesday, 05 September 2012 20:32

KCC failing to support Kent primary schools in Special Measures

In the past two months, three Kent primary schools, all in Special Measures have been re-inspected and found to have made inadequate progress. First was Dover Road Primary School in Northfleet. I wrote a previous article on the appalling management by KCC that managed to lose the opportunity for a new primary school nearby, on the grounds that Dover Road would suffer a loss of pupils, then forced an additional form of entry on the school for the next seven years, without any permanent accommodation. KCC's defence was that the school was unlucky to be placed in Special Measures. If this is the case, how come the school has failed an inspection a year on, for the second time. The report notes that "The local authority is providing support for the leadership of the school", but clearly not enough........

Dame Janet Community Infant School in Ramsgate was placed in Special Measures in January, scoring the lowest possible grade in every category. OFSTED does not think much of KCC's support of the school. It concludes: "Although the local authority’s statement of action meets requirements, its implementation has not had an impact on building the school’s capacity to make the necessary improvements. The support brokered with another school, led by a local leader of education, was not established quickly or roles and priorities made clear, so time was lost".

Rosherville CofE Primary School, also in Northfleet, was placed in Special Measures in February, shortly after the headteacher resigned, one of the many headteacher victims of the drive for standards. However, this appears to have made no difference in the face of staff fluctuation, as reported on by OFSTED: "Since the previous inspection, a number of staff changes have taken place at senior level. The consultant headteacher, who was appointed by the local authority in November 2011 for four days a week, has left the school. The deputy headteacher, who was acting headteacher for the one remaining day, has reverted back to her substantive post of deputy headteacher. In June 2012, a full-time acting temporary headteacher was appointed until the end of this term. Three teachers are leaving at the end of term. In September, three new teachers have been appointed in addition to a new head of school and an executive headteacher". Poor children, in a socially deprived area to have such instability amongst teachers on top of being in a failing school. The Report notes: "The local authority is aware of the lack of progress in key areas".

In an article I have prepared for Kent on Sunday this weekend, I note the sea change in the management of Kent's lowest performing schools with the majority, including Dame Janet, being handed over to large Academy Trusts.  I pose the question as to why these should be better than KCC with its local knowledge, expertise, resources  and authority to enforce change. Sadly, the evidence of these Reports is that they find it difficult to do worse. 

These results contribute to Kent primary schools continuing to deliver OFSTED Reports well below national norms. Whilst the data below compares Kent and Medway over the last two years against the national figures for last autumn term, this should have worked to local advantage as the proportion of successful schools s is falling with tighter OFSTED Inspections being imposed. 

All figures are given as percentages

Comparison of OFSTED Reports for Kent & Medway Primary Schools,
against national figures by percentage
  Outstanding Good Satisfactory Inadequate
Kent  7 36 46 12
Medway 0 34 44 22
National 14 49 32 6

Two comforts for KCC. This year's Key Stage 2 results are reported to have 77% of children achieving Level 4 in both English and maths. If this is confirmed in the official tables it makes a magnificent improvement on the 72% of 2011, and moves above last year's national average of 75% for the first time. KCC puts this down to the work of the Local Authority through its Kent Challenge programme for the improvement of standards. If this is the case it is excellent news for Kent's children. A second small comfort is that Medway's figures are so much worse! 

Last modified on Wednesday, 09 September 2015 21:56

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