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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. The website contains over 600 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 have now retired from my individual advisory service, as explained here.  I am currently updating the relevant pages. 

If you need more general information please email peter@kentadvice.co.uk. For specific advice issues please go to the Contact page.    

For the year 2018, this website had 170,346 certified visits, from 99,274 different users, who carried out 360,125 page views.
This was in addition to the 958 email subscribers, along with 1.752 RSS subscribers, nearly all of whom are based in England, with 1,456 in Kent . These include parents, schools, education officers, politicians and the media who each received the 97 News and Comment articles published during the year. 
Most Popular Page: Kent Grammar School Applications - total views since first publication 330,544 and 31,554 in 2018.  

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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 at the bottom of the page. Please note that the 800 or so regular subscribers who receive each news item directly are not included in the number of readers recorded below the item. 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. \nNews items appear as and when I have time in a very busy schedule supporting clients.

  • Kent & Medway Primary School Performance: 2019 Key Stage 2 Results

     Key Stage Two school performance for 2019 tables were published on Friday, with 68% of Kent pupils meeting the expected standard for the second year running, comfortably above the national average which was 65%. Medway was once again below average, although this year narrowing the gap, at 64%. Congratulations to Stowting CofE Primary School, Ashford, which was the top school in all the three major categories explored below: Progress, Achievement, and Proportion of pupils achieving higher grades. Also of special note is Royal Rise Primary in Tonbridge, its most recent Ofsted placing it in Special Measures, but now taken over by Cygnus Academies Trust, and performed highly in both Progress and Achievement, to become the highest performing school in Tonbridge.  

    Stowting Pic   Copy     Royal Rise   Copy

    Government’s key measure is progress from Key Stage One (end of Infant stage at age seven) through to Key Stage Two, in Reading Writing and Mathematics. The best overall Progress performances were by: Stowting CofE, Ashford, 19.3; Oaks Primary (A), Maidstone, 17.2; Joy Lane Foundation, Whitstable, & New Horizons (A), Chatham, 16.9; Hernhill CofE, Canterbury, 16.7; St Mary of Charity CofE (A), Faversham; 16.5; and Kings Farm, Gravesend, 16.4. Six of the highest performers have been in Special Measures in the past five years which, although not recommended, appears to have acted as a spur - five after academisation. 

    In Kent, five schools saw every pupil achieve the expected achievement standard set by government but, apart from Sibertswold CofE, Dover each of the others had small age groups of between seven and twelve pupils! Next came: Ramsgate, Holy Trinity CofE with 97%; St Margaret's at Cliffe, 96%; Chilton,  Ramsgate; and Temple Ewell CofE, Dover, both with 95%, again with a preponderance of East Kent schools, along with the next schools in the list . Top performers in Medway by this standard were Pilgrim, Medway, and St Helen’s CofE, Cliffe, both with 90% of pupils achieving the expected standard.

    There are plenty of opportunities for many schools to claim a top position in one or more of these categories, as shown in the following sections. For definitions and full details of performance consult the Government websites for Kent and Medway. The article concludes with some advice to parents trying to select a primary school for their children.....

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    Written on Friday, 13 December 2019 10:21 Be the first to comment!
  • Lilac Sky Schools Academy Trust: Progress on Financial Investigation

    For those who thought we had seen the last of the dreadful Lilac Sky Schools Academy Trust (LSSAT)I enclose a copy of a letter sent by the Government’s Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), which reports on the ESFA investigation into LSSAT.

    LSSAT Logo

    This tells us that the investigation concluded several months ago and that the ESFA intends to publish a final version of the report, so there is already an interim Report in existence about the investigation. The author of the letter, sent 9th October, apologises for the long delay in concluding the investigation, and records that the final Report will be published as soon as possible after fact checking has taken place. Clearly a robust process of fact checking that has taken more than two months already!

    The letter concludes: ‘I cannot speculate as to exactly what enforcement action will be taken. However, I can assure you that the department will take robust action as appropriate to ensure that individuals responsible for financial mismanagement will be held to account’. In other words, some form of action will be carried out.

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    Written on Friday, 13 December 2019 00:56 Be the first to comment!
  • Elective Home Education & Children Missing from Education 2018-19: Kent and Medway
     

    The number of children leaving Kent schools for Elective Home Education (EHE) in 2017-18   continues to increase sharply year on year, now up by 70% to 1310 over the past four years. Medway has seen its first fall in numbers for five years, to 226 families opting for EHE down from 278 in the previous year.

    The figure of 830 Kent ‘Children Missing from Education’ (CME), with no known destination is way down on the 2292 of two years ago,  with larger figures in some areas caused by families returning to their homeland, notably in Gravesham and Thanet, both home to large numbers of Eastern European families, and by Traveller families.

    The four highest EHE schools are the same as in 2017-18, and are four out of the top six the previous year, yet no-one appears to question what is going on in these schools. They are High Weald Academy, losing 4.8% of its statutory aged population (11-16); Hartsdown Academy 4.1%, Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey, 3.6%; and New Line Learning Academy 3.4%, all losing on average more than one child from every class last year to home education. There were no schools in Medway losing more than 2% of their statutory roll to EHE.

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    Written on Friday, 06 December 2019 19:48 Be the first to comment!
  • Kent Catholic Academies Banned from Hosting Kent Test
    Following on from this article Schoolsweek has explored the situation including a reply from the KCSP which contains some very strange ideas, see below.
     
     
    The Kent Catholic Schools Partnership,  an Academy Trust which runs 19 Roman Catholic primary schools, has instructed all these schools not to provide facilities for their children to sit the Kent Test in their own school. This means that those children will be disadvantaged by not taking the Test in familiar surroundings like other Kent children, and will have to travel to another venue arranged by KCC which could be miles away from their homes. This move to sectarianism would appear to be just bloody-minded to many. For the Catholic Church as a whole is clearly not opposed to academic selection, supporting three Catholic grammar schools in other parts of the country and providing many private Catholic academically selective schools for those Catholics and others who are wealthy enough to pay, both in Kent and elsewhere in the country. These two categories are also operating in clear contradiction of ‘the church’s social teachings’ as set out  below.
     
     KCSP Logo
    However, as the following analysis shows, the only children this decision will actually affect are those frightened off from taking the test because of social disadvantage or lacking the confidence to take on the church, or else who fail the Kent Test solely because they have been disadvantaged by taking it in unfamiliar surroundings. How proud the Catholic Church must be.
     
    This story was first aired by Radio Kent and I was happy to contribute. 
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    Written on Thursday, 21 November 2019 20:22 4 comments
  • Kent and Medway School Exclusions 2018-19
     'Teacher capacity and skill is (sic) the best antidote there is to exclusion of students'.
    Folkestone Academy
     The same five secondary schools feature in the top seven fixed term excluders in every one of the last three years. Folkestone Academy, Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey and Hartsdown Academy are high profile schools in trouble and entirely predictable. Between them they account for nearly a quarter of all secondary exclusions in Kent this year. Astor College, Dover, has also struggled, the fifth being John Wallis CofE Academy, Ashford. For primary schools there are just two schools to feature over this period, Richmond Academy and Martello Primary. You will find full lists and more details of the top excluding schools below.
     
    There were just 43 permanent exclusions in Kent in 2018-19, spread across 31 schools, down again from last year’s record low. In Medway there were 36.  The only school expelling five or more students last year was Robert Napier in Gillingham, which features annually in this very short list, with ten pupils thrown out in 2018-19 (also fifth in Kent and Medway for fixed term exclusions).
     
    Kent has had a very low rate of permanent exclusions since 2012-13, fifth lowest in England last year, with Medway consistently above the national average over the same period. Kent has also been below the national average for fixed term exclusions 2016-18, with Medway well above since at least 2009-10; see below. For Kent secondary schools, fixed term exclusions are up by 6% since the year before, whereas for primary schools it has fallen by 5%. 
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    Written on Thursday, 14 November 2019 05:26 1 comment
  • Kent and Medway Primary School Ofsted Outcomes 2018-2019
    Headlines:
    The central headline of the year's Primary School Ofsted outcomes is that academies are considerably outperforming Local Authority schools,showing much stronger improvement. 
     
    Overall, Kent and Medway schools inspected by Ofsted outperformed last year’s national level of 83% Good or Outstanding, aided by a strong performance from academies.
    In Kent 19 of the 94 schools inspected have improved their grading, against just six that have declined; whilst in Medway five of the 22 have improved, and none deteriorated, the best performance for years.
    19 of 24 schools that improved their category were academies, most having converted since their previous inspection.
     
    This article focuses on Ofsted reports since March when I  published a half year report, since when there are two new Outstanding schools in addition to those listed in the previous article: Hawkinge Primary in Folkestone and Shatterlocks Infant in Dover (academy) schools.
    Hawkinge 2      Shatterlocks
     
    Five schools have improved their performance by two levels from Special Measures to Good after academisation: Barming, Maidstone; Brenzett CofE, Romney Marsh; St Edward’s Catholic, Isle of Sheppey; St Nicholas CofE, New Romney; Westgate, Dartford.
     
    I look below at all the key outcomes across Kent and Medway. 
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    Written on Thursday, 07 November 2019 05:17 Be the first to comment!