Supporting Families

........... 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.

  • Selective School Expansion Fund: Kent Decisions (2)

    Unfortunately an early version of this article went out to subscribers. This is the final article  re-circulated.

    Government has announced the six grammar schools offered £14.3 million funding from the second round of the Government Grammar School Expansion  Fund, out of the 25 that applied. None of the eight Kent and two Medway grammar schools which applied were successful. The successful schools were:  King Edward VI Handsworth School, Birmingham; Ribston Hall High School, Gloucestershire; Haberdashers’ Adams and Newport Girls’ High School Academy, both Telford and Wrekin; Altrincham Grammar School for Girls; and Stretford Grammar School, both in Trafford. 

    The Kent grammar schools which applied were: Barton Court, Canterbury and Queen Elizabeth's, Faversham, both bidding for a new Annexe in Herne Bay/Whitstable; Cranbrook; Highsted, Sittingbourne; Highworth, Ashford; Skinners, Tunbridge Wells; and Wilmington Boys and Wilmington Girls, jointly, budding for a new Sixth Form complex. Also Chatham (previously called Chatham Grammar School for Girls) and Fort Pitt Grammar Schools in Medway.

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    Written on Saturday, 15 February 2020 23:22 Be the first to comment!
  • Annual School Report for Turner Schools: Serious Weaknesses

    The Turner Schools Annual Report to Companies House, posted on the final due date, 31st January 2020 suggesting some difficulties in completion, continues the saga of well rewarded underperformance. CEO Dr Jo Saxton whose recent main focus has been on Curriculum across the four Turner Schools, was paid a salary of £149,783, conveniently just below the £150,000 level at which government looks askance. The salary is in return for running a small, struggling Academy Trust and is highest of the Kent Trusts I have found so far, excepting four which are large and successful. The Report works hard, as is usual for Turner Schools, on blaming its problems at Folkestone Academy on legacy issues despite the evidence that standards have only declined since it took over. Amongst other own goals: it also manages to excuse the failure of the two Turner primary schools to attract pupils, including Morehall with the highest vacancy rate in Kent; has run up a loan repayable to government of £1.3 million; and has two of its four schools running at a sizeable deficit.

    Turner Schools Logo

    In other news, Government has at last released a Free School Impact Assessment for Turner Free School carried out in 2018, looking at the likely effects its opening would have on neighbouring schools. The good news (??) according to the DfE was that there would be a Minimal Effect on Folkestone Academy in terms of recruitment, but a Moderate Effect on Astor College in Dover. For the Sixth Form there would be Moderate Effects felt by Canterbury College, East Kent College (which have now merged) and Hilderstone College. How much more wrong could government be! See below.

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    Written on Thursday, 13 February 2020 17:48 1 comment
  • Catholic Church Overturns Catholic Trust Ban on Kent Test in school premises.
    This article contains copies of redacted sections of Meeting Minutes which I have been sent.
    Back in November I reported that Catholic primary academies which were members of the Kent Catholic School Partnership, an Academy Trust, had been sent a formal letter from the Trust. This required them to follow a Diocesan policy which forbade them from hosting the Kent Test for their pupils on their own premises, on pain of possible disciplinary proceedings against headteachers. The letter had been sent at the request of the Archbishop of Southwark. It has since been retracted in a Position Statement from the Archbishop, after the policy proved extremely unpopular with some parents and schools, with the whole principle behind the 'policy' rejected.  
    Kent Catholic Schools Partnership
    The reversal of 'policy' began after the Directors of the Trust appear to have had an almighty row at a Board Meeting in December over the letter, and so it was agreed to pause implementation of the decision. At the meeting, the Director of Education for the Education Commission of the Diocese (ECD) reported that that ‘the tone of response which the Trust had received as a result (of the decision) may be nothing to that which he had also received’.

    Last week, the ECD set out one of the clearest and best argued policy statements I have seen from an education body for years. This scrapped the previous requirement on the grounds that the ban was inoperable, discriminatory and not supported Canonically from the Bishops’ Conference, and so could not therefore be Diocesan policy. 

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    Written on Thursday, 13 February 2020 11:04 3 comments
  • Kent Final GCSE Outcomes 2019

    Final GCSE Results for Kent published last week confirm the provisional results released in November. This article is a minor revision of the November original as I have found very few variations in outcome. The results show that Kent schools were below the National Average of -0.03 in the governments key measure Progress 8 at -0.11. However, they were ahead in Attainment 8 at 47.2 against the national figure of 46.6, as explained below. 

    Girls’ grammar schools make a clean sweep the top seven places in the Progress 8 table, the government’s key measure of performance. Highworth shows the greatest consistency being second for the past two years.

    highworth Grammar      Bennett Memorial 3

     

    Bennett continues to dominate both non-selective tables, ahead of 28 grammar schools in Progress 8, followed as usual by St Simon Stock, and in the past three years Meopham. The only new non-selective school arriving in the list of best performers is Cornwallis Academy which continues to struggle to attract applications.  Biggest turnaround is by Holmesdale (see below).

    Borden Grammar is by some way the lowest performing grammar school at Progress 8, being Below Average, and also at the foot of the Attainment 8 table. Worryingly, there are 20 non-selective schools Well Below Average and below the government’s Floor Level of -0.50, up from 15 in 2018. At the foot of both tables comes Hartsdown Academy, lowest performing Attainment 8 and fourth lowest school at Progress 8 in the country. The 20 schools below Floor Level include many regularly low performers, but also now: Thamesview; Archbishops; Fulston Manor; Hayesbrook; Hugh Christie; and St Augustines. 

    Who could not have got it more wrong when he said on his school website: 'We are celebrating our best ever year for results at GCSE in Year 11''? Answer below. 

    You will find performance tables and further information and analysis below.

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    Written on Friday, 07 February 2020 17:47 2 comments
  • Medway Final GCSE Outcomes for 2019

    Final GCSE Results for Medway schools published last week confirm the provisional results released in November. This article is a minor revision of the November original as I have found no significant variations in outcome. The key measure of GCSE Performance is Progress 8 (full table here) .Under this measure Medway is slightly above the National Average of -0.03; at +0.03. There was just one school, Robert Napier, Well Below Average  although the results of Medway UTC (Well Below Average in 2018) have been suppressed for unexplained reasons. Attainment 8 (full table here) has Medway exactly the same as the National score of 46.5 with Robert Napier firmly at the foot of the table, although again Medway UTC has results suppressed and is now the Waterfront UTC.

    Overall, positions in the full performance tables below are very similar to 2018, with for grammar schools, Rochester being at the head and Holcombe the foot of both tables again. Rainham School for Girls and Thomas Aveling have topped both tables for non-selective schools each year . 

    You will find performance tables including outcomes of the English Baccalaureate and  the proportion of pupils gaining Level Five or better in English and maths together with analysis below.

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    Written on Friday, 07 February 2020 14:18 1 comment
  • Medway Schools A Level Performance 2019

     This article looks at A Level outcomes for Medway schools in the summer of 2019, following the release of performance data last week; you will find an equivalent article for Kent schools here.  Medway schools perform slightly lower than the national outcomes in Attainment; summary data for Progress from GCSE to A Level not available.

    In terms of Progress Grades, there are no schools that have performed at an Above Average Level; in 2018 there was one. There are six schools with Average Progress: Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School; Rainham Mark Grammar; Brompton Academy: St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive; Rainham School for Girls; and Walderslade Girls School. Every other school has below average progress.   

     Two grammar schools, Rochester Grammar and Rochester Maths have performed highly in the A Level attainment categories as usual. Highest attainment amongst the non-selective schools are again Thomas Aveling and Rainham Girls.

    Chatham Grammar (previously called Chatham Grammar School for Girls) appears to have had a disaster on all counts, see tables below.

    Also noteworthy is the very high fallout rate at three of the six grammar schools between Years 11 and Year 12, and for Holcombe Grammar from 12 to 13 for the third year running, which suggests illegal off-rolling to inflate performance. 

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    Written on Sunday, 02 February 2020 17:41 Be the first to comment!