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........... to the Home Page of Kentadvice.co.uk, where you will find the latest news and comment directly below this introduction, with other items in my Blog Page. The website contains over 800 pages of information, advice, news and comment on school matters that affect families in Kent and Medway, which you can access through the index on the right of this page, or the search engine above. You can receive regular news and blog items as they are published via the email notification, also on the RHS of the page, or by RSS. To find a list of all news items, go to "MORE NEWS", at the very bottom of the page, where you will also find a list of archived items and articles by me published in the media.  

Please note that with great regret I am in the process of retiring from running the website. Details belowI am currently updating some of the information pages.

I am also following through some themes as explained in my  Review of the life of the website, and picking up a few stories that come my way. 

If you need more general information please email peter@kentadvice.co.uk. 

For the year 2021, up until December 16th, this website had 153,472 certified visits, from 92,583 different users, including over 46,000 from Kent, who carried out 358,055 page views.
This was in addition to the 2017 email and RSS subscribers, nearly all of whom are based in England. These include parents, schools, education officers, politicians and the media who each received the 82 News and Comment articles published during the year. 
Most Popular Page: Kent Grammar School Applications - total views since first publication 392,008 including 17,149 in 2021.  

Latest News & Comments

Just click on a news item below to read it in full. Feel free to subscribe to the news via the email link to the right or the RSS Feed. If you have a view on any item posted, please leave a comment. Also feel free to suggest items of news, or areas where comment is needed to: peter@kentadvice.co.uk.

  • Kent and Medway Secondary Ofsted Inspections January to December 2021.

    This will be my last secondary and Special school Ofsted round up, before retirement, looking at outcomes in Kent in 2021 and 2022. Covid regulations sharply reduced the number of formal inspections but the last year has now seen nine for secondary schools, and four for Special schools, including two Outstanding Residentials. There have been no inspections in Medway, although there was a No Notice Inspection in December 2020.

    Two regularly controversial N/S schools improved their assessments, Hartsdown to Good, and Holmesdale to Requires Improvement, whilst of the five grammar school inspections, The Skinners School dropped to Good and, in a Short Inspection Wilmington Grammar Girls is to be re-inspected as its Outstanding classification comes into question. There were no Inspections in Medway in this period, although there was a special one at Victory Academy in December 2020.

    The Outstanding Residential assessment for Broomhill Bank North is especially noteworthy. 

    Written on Thursday, 27 January 2022 04:38 Be the first to comment! Read more...
  • My Retirement from www.kentadvice.co.uk
    Please Note: This item was first published on 16th December 2021, and subsequently generated a tribute from the Kent Messenger Group here. . 
    It is with some sadness that I have decided to retire from KentAdvice after 15 years of running the website and its predecessor. This is partly because I am no longer able to keep up with the increasing amount of material that presents itself, but mainly because I recognise the time is right for me.
    Written on Saturday, 22 January 2022 01:59 17 comments Read more...
  • Elective Home Education & Children Missing from Education in Kent & Medway 2020-21

    Update: This article triggered an item on Radio Kent, 25th January. KCC issued a statement for the programme, here

    A record number of 1,485 Kent families withdrew their children from school last year to take up Elective Home Education (EHE), nearly double the figure in 2019-20 which had dipped probably because of a Covid effect. In Medway, the figure of 310 is also a record. These families have chosen instead to 'educate' them at home to variable standards, sometimes because their child's school is unable to cater for their needs properly, leaving some families with nowhere else to turn.  Many families will educate their children to high standards, some will struggle to achieve these, but in other cases EHE will simply cover neglect or worse, with children's life chances being ruined. Local Authorities have no powers to investigate the circumstances of the decision. At the same time also, a record number of Kent children went missing from education, sometimes with schools having no idea of their destination, the proportion going missing in Medway being even higher, over twice as large as Kent. Many of these children will be from traveller or Eastern European families, some of the latter returning home after Brexit, others coming back to the schools after a period on the road. Local Authorities will know of children who have simply stopped attending school, and there are procedures in place to attempt enforcement, as outlined here. Some of these, together with others who have simply vanished from their homes or were in Care, may be seriously at risk of exploitation, but no one knows how many.   

    These are areas where government education policy is severely lacking, with failures to collect data about children being educated at home, to require children educated at home to be registered, or to make any sort of check on the quality of what is being offered them in terms of education, despite various promises through the years.

    Written on Friday, 21 January 2022 07:07 1 comment Read more...
  • Excellent News at last: Hartsdown Academy has been found to be a Good School by Ofsted

    The welcome news that Hartsdown has been awarded a Good Ofsted assessment by Inspectors, is now public although there has is still a delay in publishing it on the Ofsted Website. In October 2020, I wrote about the apparent ‘Damascene conversion’ of headteacher Matthew Tate as the evidence mounted that the school was changing from its previous and failing ‘Tough Love’ model. The school website has been transformed to reflect this new positive model, exclusions have dropped dramatically, as have the number of children being withdrawn for Home Education, academic performance has improved, and it is reported that the number of first choices for admission in September has risen as parents become aware of the transformation.

    Perhaps most importantly, the strong threat to the school’s existence has been withdrawn by the scrapping of the proposed Park Crescent Academy.
    Hartsdown Amazing (2)
    The report begins by acknowledging the previous failures: ‘Staff and pupils agree that Hartsdown has improved greatly’, before immediately moving on to a justification for the Good classification: ‘Pupils are proud to belong to the school community. They know that staff want them to aim high, so that they leave with the qualifications and experiences they need to be successful. Pupils enjoy receiving reward points for demonstrating scholarship, teamwork, resilience, integrity, vision and excellence. These are encompassed in the school’s ‘STRIVE’ ethos. The school is a warm and welcoming place. Pupils spoke enthusiastically about how much diversity is valued. Pupils enjoy working together and relationships between pupils and staff are very strong’. There is much emphasis on how the school leadership team as a whole is at the heart of improvements. 
    Written on Thursday, 20 January 2022 20:31 3 comments Read more...
  • Is Peter Read, former head of Gravesend Grammar School, the most influential figure in Kent education?

    It is not for me to answer the question posed by this glorious headline in an article in KentOnline posted yesterday, but I appreciate it more than I can say. I recently wrote a piece below, setting out some of the highlights of the past fifteen years of running KentAdvice, initially set up to advertise my personal consultation service which supported families who had problems with schools or the education service across Kent and Medway. I know it will not be well received by those in education I have crossed, but it is wonderful to receive such recognition from Kent's leading newspaper organisation, the KM Group, who have covered some of my most celebrated stories. These are amongst some seven hundred news items on this site many of which have created a variety of waves, but I have always maintained that the most important section is the information section which is accessed via the right hand site of this page, and via multiple links from news items. These articles are designed to offer support and advice to families about their children's education.

    The top five news stories on the page below are typical of the wide range of themes covered: Elective Home Education & Children Missing from Education in Kent & Medway 2020-21 (an annual production); the Crisis in Primary Provision in the new Ebbsfleet Development; the Kent Test and Headteacher Assessment for Entry in September 2022: Further Analysis(another annual item); The New Park Crescent Academy in Margate:  Scrapped (one of the most controversial stories of the year but given minimal coverage elsewhere); and Hayesbrook School: The demolition of Brook Learning Trust Continues. These provide a mixture of information articles for parents, controversial but I hope factual reporting, and a report on the unmourned demise of another failed academy Trust. 

    Written on Wednesday, 19 January 2022 04:13 Be the first to comment! Read more...
  • Crisis in Primary Provision in the new Ebbsfleet Development

    An article in Kentonline, headed ‘Ebbsfleet Garden City parents sold dream new homes but cannot get children into nearby schools’, understates the serious problem of primary school provision in the area. Currently, three new primary schools have been built to serve Ebbsfleet, but all are full and oversubscribed for the current Reception Year, and three of the four schools in nearby Swanscombe and Greenhithe are also bursting at the seams. Dartford town offers no respite, with just eight Reception vacancies out of 972 places available. There is a current crisis in the provision of primary places in both areas with few signs of how it is to improve.

    Written on Thursday, 13 January 2022 20:06 1 comment Read more...