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Last updated  February 2021




A recent article 'Academy and Free School News February 2021', the latest in a series, contains much additional material. 

When I started this page ten years ago, it was a simple matter of record. As you read it, you will become aware it is now a very complicated set of data and I am only too happy to correct any errors or omissions that may have crept in. 

You will find another full list of every Academy arranged by Multi-Academy Trust, and Single Academy Trust and operating in Kent and Medway, hereLikewise the Free Schools page (although needing an update)

There is much more information about every Kent and Medway secondary school individually via the links.  

An academy is a school directly funded by the Department for Education and independent of direct control by local government in England. However local government Councils are responsible for the funding formulae used to allocate funds among sections of education within an authority. An Academy may receive additional support from personal or corporate sponsors, either financially or in kind, but must meet the same National Curriculum core subject requirements as other state schools and be subject to inspection by OfstedAcademies are self-governing and most are constituted as registered charities or operated by other educational charities. Government policy is to encourage all schools to become academies. Those regarded as the stronger can choose how they are governed (see below); those that are perceived to be underperforming or have failed an OFSTED Inspection come under considerable government pressure to become sponsored academies taken over by stronger schools or by one of the many flourishing Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs). They lease their premises from the government and set their own terms and conditions for teachers (Headteachers generally attracting considerably higher salaries than for other schools). 

Government has now blocked Local Authorities from setting up new schools, and these now have to be Free Schools which are also legally academies, or Voluntary Aided Faith Schools, although there are none of the latter in Kent or Medway. In the case of new Free Schools, the government provides the building costs and sponsors run the school. You will find a separate information article on Kent and Medway's Free Schools here, which now looks at all new schools.  

In Kent and Medway, academies are generally independent of the local authorities in most respects, although a few are directly sponsored by the Authorities (as far as I can see this just means they appoint a governor who does not necessarily report back, and have no other control). However, they all required to obey the same Admissions Code and are members of the Kent or Medway coordinated admissions scheme for all schools. As the two Local Authorities diversify into an increasingly splintered education provision under the academy programme, there are now many types of local model, as explained on the Multi-Academy Trust page

Currently, over three-quarters of Kent secondary schools, academies and free schools (79/101) are either academies or free schools, with another four having made a current application, all held up because of PFI issues). 42% of all Kent primaries (194/461) are academies or Free Schools, with another 12 officially in progress, although several approvals date back for some years. In Medway, 94% (16/17) of secondary schools are academies and 70% (52/79) of the primaries, along with four more in progress. There are two academy and two Free School Special School in Kent out of 23, and four out of five in Medway. Academies exist in either Stand-Alone Trusts (SAT) or Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT). There are currently 53 Kent and Medway academies in SATs or single school MATs, and  220 in other MATs, 20 of which are small units of two or three schools only. The three Trusts with the largest number of Kent and Medway schools are the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership with 26 schools, the Leigh Academy Trust with 25 schools and The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust (Aquila)  with 20. Next comes TKAT with eleven. 

Old Style Academies
First up are the “old style” secondary academies. The rationale for these drawn up by the then Labour government was originally based on replacing failing schools in socially deprived urban areas, although this definition became stretched as governments sought to increase the number with, for example, the Knole Academy in Sevenoaks not qualifying on any of the three counts. The earliest academies have either been completely rebuilt or had plans approved to secure a rebuild on a very generous budget of the order of £30 million each, Isle of Sheppey Academy doing best with premises at a cost of £54 million. Those approved later have still been generously treated usually benefiting from a major rebuild, usually of £15 million or more. Most of these academies have main sponsors who have been given control of the institution for a donation of the order of £2 million, waived in the case of charities or churches. Old Style Academies are generally sponsored by a Multi-Academy Trust. 

The old style academies are: Brompton Academy, Gillingham (sponsored by University of Kent Academies Trust); Cornwallis Academy, Maidstone (Future Schools Trust); Dover Christ Church Academy (Canterbury Christ Church University);  The Duke of York's Royal Military School, Dover (fully boarding, previously Independent, with a tradition of admitting children of military families, associated with Dover Federation of the Arts); Folkestone Academy (all through, incorporating the previous Folkestone Primary Academy, now Turner Schools, previously sponsored by Roger De Haan); Isle of Sheppey Academy; The John Wallis C of E Academy Ashford (all through, incorporating the previous Linden Grove Primary School, Ashford);  The Knole Academy, Sevenoaks; Leigh Academy, Dartford (Leigh Academy Trust); Longfield Academy, Dartford (Leigh Academy Trust); The Marlowe Academy, Ramsgate, Kent's first, now part of Royal Harbour Academy; Marsh Academy, Romney Marsh (previously Tonbridge School, now Skinners Company); New Line Learning Academy, Maidstone, (Future Schools); Orchards Academy, Swanley (TKAT); St Augustine Academy, Maidstone; Strood Academy (Sponsored by University of Creative Arts); Skinners Kent Academy, Tunbridge Wells (Skinners Company); Spires Academy, Canterbury; Victory Academy, Chatham (Thinking Schools Academy Trust, previously Bishop of Rochester Academy, Rochester Anglican Diocese); and  Wilmington Academy, Dartford (Leigh Academy Trust).

Newer academies fall into two types: 'sponsored' and 'converter'. Both types of academy are able to bid for capital developments in competition with other schools under two categories: where numbers of children are expanding in the area; and where the school buildings are identified as in need of improvement. In neither case is it yet clear by what criteria these funds are awarded. In my opinion, certain academies attracted undue priority for their bids in the most recent capital allocations I have analysed. Many academies are expanding fast, including grammar schools.
Sponsored Academies and Free Schools (F)
The first type is the Sponsored Academies, often struggling schools taken over by more successful academy chains, although not all are underperforming and some have chosen to take up this arrangement. Alternatively and increasingly, they are new schools indicated by (F) in the list. Currently, the government is putting pressure on Local Authorities and school governing bodies in an attempt (almost wholly successful but often controversial) to force underperforming schools. into academy partnerships. There is no required public consultation for these takeovers and it is not until the decision is announced that one can be sure this is happening. Often there is great secrecy about the process. 

There is no pattern for these schools, but I have attempted to list the Multi Academy Trusts that operate in Kent and Medway with information about them and their other academies elsewhere in the county. I provide a summary list of the sponsored academies below, cross-check with the Multi Academy Trust groups page to find the sponsor.  

The sponsored academies are (in their academy groups here), including Free Schools denoted by (F):

Kent secondary schools
Charles Dickens School, Broadstairs; Ebbsfleet Academy (previously Swan Valley School);  Goodwin Academy (previously Castle Community College);  Hadlow Rural Community School (F);High Weald Academy (previously Angley School); The Lenham School, (previously Swadelands School); Maidstone School of Science and Technology (F); Meopham School; Orchards Academy (previously Swanley Technology College); Trinity School (F); School of Science and Technology Maidstone; St Edmund’s Catholic Secondary, Dover; Sittingbourne Community College; Stone Lodge (F); Wye School (F).

Medway secondary schools: Holcombe Grammar (previously Chatham Grammar for Boys); Hundred of Hoo Academy (5-19); Robert Napier; Waterfront UTC (previously Medway UTC) 

Kent primary schools:
Ashford:  Beaver Green Primary; Brenzett CofE; Chilmington Green Primary (F); Finberry Primary (F); Kennington CofE Juniors; Kingsnorth CofE; John Wallis Academy (Primary Section, previously Linden Grove).

Canterbury: Petham Primary;  Pilgrims Way Primary School and Nursery; Reculver CofE Primary 


Dartford: Cherry Orchard Primary Academy; Dartford Community Primary; Dartford Primary Academy (previously York Road Junior School and Language Unit, and St Alban's Primary); Ebbsfleet Green (F);  Knockhall Community; River Mill Primary (F); Westgate Primary.  

Dover:  Charlton CofE Primary; Water Meadows Primary School (previously Hersden Village); Temple Ewell Church of England Primary. 

Faversham: St Mary of Charity CofE (Aided) Primary School

Gravesham: Chantry Community AcademyCopperfield Academy (previously Dover Road Primary); Istead Rise Primary; Riverview Junior; Rosherville CofE Primary;  Springhead Park Primary (F); Tymberwood Academy (previously Raynehurst Primary School) 

Maidstone: Archbishop Courtney Primary; Barming Primary; Bearsted Primary Academy (F); Holy Family RC Primary; Jubilee Primary(F); Molehill Copse Primary; Oaks Academy (previously Oak Trees Community School); St Francis Catholic Primary (in progress); St James the Great Academy (previously St James the Great Primary Community and Nursery School); Tiger Primary (F); Treetops Academy (previously Bell Wood Community Primary School).

Malling: Aylesford Primary School; Valley Invicta Primary School at Holborough Lakes(Snodland, F) ; Valley Invicta Primary School at Kings Hill (F); Valley Invicta Primary School at Leybourne Chase (Maidstone, F)); St Katharine's Primary, Snodland


Shepway: Brenzett CofE; Lydd Primary; Folkestone Academy Primary (previously Park Farm Primary, then part of all through Folkestone Academy);  Martello Grove Primary, with SEN Unit; Morehall Primary; St Nicholas CofE, New Romney.

Sheppey:  St Edward's Catholic; Thistle Hill Academy; 

Sittingbourne: Kemsley Primary; Lansdowne Primary; Milton Court Primary; Richmond Primary; South Avenue Junior;  Sunny Bank Primary; Westlands Primary School

Swanley:  Horizon Primary School;

Thanet: Chilton Academy Primary School; Christ Church Church of England Junior School in Ramsgate; Cliftonville Primary; Dame Janet Primary Academy (previously Dame Janet Infant & Junior Schools); Drapers Mill Primary School, Margate; Newlands Primary, Northdown Primary; Ramsgate Free (F); St Laurence in Thanet Church of England Junior School;  & Salmestone Primary.,

Tonbridge: Bishop Chavasse Primary (F); Cage Green Primary; Royal Rise Academy (previously St Stephen's Primary)

Tunbridge Wells: Skinners' Kent Primary School; Temple Grove Academy, (previously Sherwood Park Community Primary School); The Wells Free School (F).  

Medway primary schools:
Allhallows Primary School; Byron Primary; Cedar Children's Academy; Cuxton Community Junior; Deanwood Primary; Elaine Primary Academy; Featherby Junior; High Halstow Primary; Gordon Infant and Junior (operating as Gordon Schools Federation); Kingfisher Community Primary; Lordswood Primary; Maundene School; Napier Community Primary & Nursery, Gillingham; New Horizons Children's Academy, Chatham; Oasis Academy Skinner Street; Phoenix Junior Academy (previously Glencoe Junior School); Saxon Way Primary Academy; St James Church of England Primary Academy, Isle of Grain; St Margaret's CofE Junior; Temple Mill Primary; Twydall Primary; Warren Wood Community Primary & Language Unit.
Special Schools
Aspire School, Sittingbourne (F); Inspire Special Free, Medway (F); Snowfields Academy, Maidstone (F).
Sponsored Academies in Development
You will find further information on the PFI obstacles to academisation here
 Aylesford School (PFI); Gravesend Central School (F);  Holmesdale School, Snodland (PFI);  Royal Harbour Academy (Coastal Academies Trust, PFI); Chapelfield Primary (F), Maidstone; Conningbrook CofE Primary (F), Ashford ; St Francis Catholic Primary, Maidstone (Kent Catholic Schools Partnership); West Kingsdown CofE VC (Rochester Diocesan Board).
 Converter Academies
Secondary SAT: The Abbey, Faversham;  Borden Grammar, Sittingbourne; Brockhill Park Performing Arts College, Hythe; Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School, Ramsgate; Cranbrook School; Dartford Grammar; Dartford Grammar Girls; Folkestone School for Girls; The Harvey Grammar, Folkestone; Herne Bay High School; Highsted Grammar, Sittingbourne; Highworth Grammar, Ashford; Hillview, Tonbridge; The Maplesden Noakes, Maidstone; Mayfield Grammar (previously Gravesend Grammar Girls); The Norton Knatchbull, Ashford; Oakwood Park Grammar, Maidstone; Queen Elizabeth's Grammar, Faversham; Sandwich Technology; Sir Roger Manwood's, Sandwich;  Tonbridge Grammar; Towers, Kennington. 

Secondary MAT: Astor College for the Arts; Barton Court Grammar, Canterbury; Bennett Memorial Diocesan School, Tunbridge Wells; The Canterbury High; Cornwallis, Maidstone;  Dane Court Grammar School, Broadstairs; Fulston Manor, Sittingbourne; Gravesend Grammar; Hayesbrook, Tonbridge; Hartsdown Technology College, Margate; Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre, Tenterden; Invicta Grammar, Maidstone;  King Ethelbert's, Westgate; Mascalls, Paddock Wood; St Anselm's Catholic, Canterbury; Saint George's Church of England, Gravesend;  St Gregory's Catholic Comprehensive, Tunbridge Wells, St Simon Stock Catholic Maidstone; The Skinners', Tunbridge Wells; Stone Lodge School, Dartford; Ursuline Convent, Westgate -on-Sea; Valley Park, Maidstone; Weald of Kent Grammar, Tonbridge; Westlands, Sittingbourne; Wilmington Grammar Boys; Wilmington Grammar Girls; Wrotham.

Medway: Chatham Grammar School for Girls (S);  Fort Pitt Grammar School (M); Greenacre School (M); Howard School, Gillingham (M);Rainham Mark Grammar School (M); Rainham School for Girls (M); Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School (M); The Rochester Grammar School (M); The Thomas Aveling School (M); and Walderslade Girls School (S)

Ashford:  Adisham CofE Primary (M); Charing CofE Primary (M); Furley Park Primary (M); Godinton Primary (S); Hamstreet Primary (M); Kingsnorth CofE Primary(M); Pluckley CofE Primary (M); Rolvenden Primary (M); Smarden Primary(M); St Michael's CofE Primary (Tenterden)(M); St Simon of England RC(M); Tenterden Infant(M): Tenterden CofE Junior(M)

Canterbury: Canterbury Primary(M)Hampton Primary (S); St Stephen's Junior(S); Sturry CofE Primary(M)

Cranbrook and Weald: Horsmonden Primary (M); Paddock Wood Primary (M); Brenchley and Matfield Primary(M);

Dartford: The Brent Primary (M); Gateway Primary(M); Greenlands Primary (previously Darenth Community Primary)(M); Hartley Primary Academy(M); Joydens Wood Infant (S); Joydens Wood Junior (S); Manor Community Primary, Swanscombe(M); Oakfield Community(M)Our Lady of Hartley Catholic Primary(M); River Mill Primary (M); Temple Hill Community (M); Stone St Mary's CofE(M); Wentworth Primary(S); Sutton at Hone CofE(M)Wilmington Primary (S); West Hill Primary(M).

Dover, Deal and Sandwich: Barton Junior(M)St Joseph’s Catholic Primary (Aylesham)(M); Deal Parochial CofE(M); The Downs CofE(M); Hornbeam Primary, Deal(M)Kingsdown and Ringwould CofE, Deal (M); Priory Fields(M); Northbourne CofE Primary(M)St Martin's(M); St Mary's Catholic Primary(M)Sandown School(M); Sholden CofE Primary(M)Shatterlocks Infant(M); Vale View Community(M); Warden House Primary, Deal(M); Whitecliffs Primary College of the Arts(M);

Faversham, Herne Bay, Whitstable:  Briary Primary (M); Bysingwood Primary (M); Graveney Primary (S); Luddenham (S); St Mary's Catholic (Whitstable)(M); Selling Primary(M)

Folkestone and Hythe: Christ Church Cof E Primary (S); Dymchurch Primary(M); Folkestone Primary (M); St Eanswythe's CofE Primary (S); St Mary's CofE Primary(S); Stella Maris Catholic Primary(M).

Gravesham:  Culverstone Green Primary(M)Holy Trinity VA Primary, Gravesend (M);  Meopham Community Academy (previously Meopham Primary School)(M); Riverview Infants(M); Shorne CofE Primary(M); St Botolph's Church of England VA Primary(M); St John's Catholic Primary(S); St Joseph's Catholic Primary School(M); Westcourt Primary(M); Whitehill Primary(M); Wrotham Road(M).

Maidstone: Allington Primary(M); Coxheath Primary(M); Loose Primary(M); Marden (M); St John's CofE Primary School(S); South Borough Primary(M); Valley Invicta at Eastborough(M). 

Malling: Leybourne St Peter & St Paul CofE, VA(M); More Park Primary(M); St Mark's CofE, Eccles (M); West Malling CofE Primary and Language Unit (S).

Sevenoaks: Amherst School (S); St Thomas Catholic Primary(M). 

Sheppey:  Eastchurch CofE (M); Halfway Houses(M)Minster in Sheppey(M); St George’s CofE Primary(M); Queenborough (M).

Sittingbourne & Rural Swale: Bobbing Village(M); Borden CofE(S); Bredgar CofE(M); Grove Park Junior(M); Holywell Primary (M);  Iwade Community Primary(M); Lynsted and Norton Primary(M); Milstead and Frinsted Church of England Primary School(M); Minterne Community Junior(M); Oaks Community Infant(M); Regis Manor Community Primary(M); Sheldwich Primary(S); South Avenue Infant(M); Westlands Primary(M).

Swanley: Horton Kirby CofE(M). 

 Thanet: Chilton Primary, Ramsgate,(M); St Gregory's Catholic Primary, Margate(M); St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Broadstairs(M); Upton Junior, Broadstairs(M). 

Tonbridge:  Chiddingstone Primary (S); St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary(M).

Tunbridge Wells: St Augustine's Catholic Primary(M).

Primary academies in Medway, all MATS: All Faiths' Children's Community Primary, Strood; All Saints CofE Primary, Chatham; Balfour Junior Academy; Barnsole Primary; Bligh Infant and Junior Schools; Brompton-Westbrook Primary; Chattenden Primary; Castle Academy, Rochester (previously Delce Junior); Cliffe Woods Primary;  Cuxton Community Infants;  Deanwood Primary;  Featherby Infant and Nursery; Halling Primary; High Halstow  Primary; Hilltop Primary; Hoo St Werburgh Primary; Maundene School; Miers Court Primary;  Oaklands School; The Pilgrim School; Riverside Primary; St John's Cof E Infant; St Margaret's at Troy Town CofE VC Primary;St Margaret's Infant, Rainham; Stoke Community Primary; Thames View Primary; Wainscott Primary; Walderslade Primary; Wayfield Community Primary & Nursery; Woodlands Primary, Gillingham; 

 Special schools: 
 Milestone Special School, New Ash Green, (M). And in Medway: Bradfields Academy, Chatham (M); Danecourt Community Special School, Gillingham (M); Rivermead  School, Gillingham, (M); The Rowans (Pupil Referral Unit).
Converter Academy applications in progress
Schools with applications in progress are: North School (2010!), Ashford; 

Bean Primary (2018), Dartford; Bethersden Primary (2018); Chartham Primary, Canterbury; Fleetdown Primary, Dartford; Lamberhurst St Mary's CofE; Mundella Primary, Folkestone; Roseacre Junior, Maidstone;  St Ethelbert's Catholic Primary, Ramsgate (approved 2013); St Stephen's Infants, Canterbury; Sandwich InfantsWorth Primary, Deal.

In Medway:  Park Wood Infant and Junior Schools; Fairview Primary (but see latest article). 

Several schools that applied for Academy status appear to have withdrawn their applications as they no longer feature on the government database of Applications. I would be happy to receive further information on these schools. They are: Borough Green Primary School; Bromstone Primary School, Broadstairs; Lady Boswell's CofE VA Primary, Sevenoaks; Oakfield Community, Dover; Riverhead Infants (Sevenoaks); Sandgate Primary, Shepway; St Mary's Catholic, Canterbury; St Richard’s Catholic Primary School, Dover;

Final Thoughts 
For me, the major concerns are the two-tier financial structure being created and a lack of accountability. The threat to a failing school was that it would be closed and turned into an academy. What happens to a failing academy (they do exist and numbers will inevitably increase)? Against this, there is no doubt that academies are raising the status of many schools, and some are notable successes. The myth of higher standards can be seen from research quoted by the admittedly partisan Anti-Academies Alliance. Sadly this does not appear to create as many headlines as the vast pro-academy public relations exercise mounted by government amongst others.

The concern over lack of accountability sees parents unhappy with provision finding it very difficult or impossible to get satisfaction, for the local authority does not have responsibility for the internal running of Academies, and Department of Education processes can often appear impenetrable. The Local Government Ombudsman has no role in complaints about academies or appeals for admission or permanent exclusion, as they do not come under the aegis of local authorities. For complaints about academy admission appeals see my website article here. The correct route for complaints about academies is via the DofE. You will find the procedure here.  Oddly, the DfE website recommends a private charity, Coram Children's Legal Centre for legal advice about such matters.  I have no information about this charity other than what is on their website. 

Parents who send their children to academies need to understand the issues, although for most it may well be the best or only option available, and a very positive experience.

Last modified on Thursday, 18 February 2021 20:04
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