Four Medway schools have chosen to convert to stand-alone academies this month: All Saint’s CofE Primary; St John’s CofE Infants; and St Margaret’s CofE Juniors; together with Danecourt Special School. The latest OFSTED Report of the first three found them Good, with Danecourt Outstanding, so this will lower the overall grade of Medway’s remaining schools.
Just two conversions in Kent. Istead Rise Primary in Gravesham has now been taken over by Swale Academies Trust, after a dire experience under its previous sponsors. Parents must be hoping for better times ahead. In July, St Mary of Charity CofE (Aided) Primary again after a chequered past, has now become an academy sponsored by the Diocese of Canterbury.
Seven new sponsored Kent academies have been created to meet increased demand in areas of new housing developments. These are: Valley Invicta Primary School at Holborough Lakes (Snodland); Valley Invicta Primary School at Kings Hill; Valley Invicta Primary School at Leybourne Chase (Maidstone) (all sponsored by the Valley Invicta Academy Trust); Finberry Primary School, Ashford (sponsored by the Stour Academy Trust); Skinners’ Kent Primary School, Tunbridge Wells (The Skinners’ Company); and Martello Grove Academy, Folkestone and Thistle Hill Academy, Sheppey (Lilac Sky Academy Trust).
A new two form entry primary school at Langley Park near Maidstone is due to open as an academy in September 2016, sponsored by Valley Invicta Academies Trust. Interestingly, although this is a major growth area, at one stage, KCC did not consider it necessary to support a new school here.
Royal Harbour Academy
The new school created in September when the Marlowe Academy was finally closed down and its premises and students taken over by the Ellington and Hereson School now has a new name. It was originally to be known as the Augustus Pugin Academy, after a famous local architect (died 1832), but parents voted against this and it has now become the Royal Harbour Academy, Ramsgate having the only harbour in the country allowed to be designated ‘Royal’ an honour bestowed by King George IV. It is not yet technically an academy, as like the North School in Ashford, there are still legal complications over the costing of its PFI contract, but when and if these are sorted, it will become part of the Coastal Academies Trust.
The Ramsgate Free School has now opened, admitting children in Years R and 3, sponsored by the highly successful Chilton Primary Schools. You will find details of other previously announced Free School projects here.
Medway University Technical College
The Medway UTC opened in September, admitting students into Years 10 and 12. The UTC has technical specialisms in Engineering and Construction & the Built Environment. Students in Years 10 and 11 will follow a programme that includes both of these technical areas (they will be able to choose to specialise in either one of them in the Sixth Form). There is no aptitude requirement for admission, and if places are oversubscribed, then after Looked After Children, 90% of places are allocated randomly in three defined catchment areas, the remaining 10% for children outside the three areas, also allocated randomly.