having slipped from being a heavily oversubscribed school a few years ago, to become the Kent school with the second highest proportion of vacant spaces, 72% empty in Year Seven, with just 90 students out of a capacity of 235. This is a dramatic decline on the figures of four years ago, there being 202 students currently in Year 11. It has attempted to lessen the spare capacity by reducing its intake to 150 places for entry in September 2013. Its problems were exacerbated as it had 139 students offered places in March, only to see 49 of these head off to other schools before September, possibly the highest number of rejections in Kent. I am aware of some of these issues, as too many parents contact me seeking alternative schools after being offered Chaucer.
It has consistently been one of the lowest performers at GCSE over the past few years, and clearly has problems with discipline, heading the table for the number of permanent exclusions in Kent in 2011-12, with 11 out of 157 in total, one of just for schools with 6 or more exclusions, with the same figure for 2010-11, when just one school excluded more. However, OFSTED found the school satisfactory less than two years ago.
Headteachers of underperforming schools in Kent, and probably many other Local Authorities are losing their jobs with alarming regularity but the priority has to be to provide a good education for our children. One has to ask the question whether there are enough replacements to go round, and certainly the growth of Executive Heads overseeing a stable of schools is spreading across Kent. I have noted the resignations of three secondary school headteachers here - there may well be others; at primary schools there are many more, just one example being given below. One often hears the mantra "no excuses", and too often the reasons behind a resignation are unclear, but even on this website there are too many examples of headteachers going who have not been given the support they deserve, from Governors, Trustees of academies or the Local Authority.