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Displaying items by tag: academy

Wednesday, 07 December 2011 12:25

Marlowe Academy

The Marlowe Academy, in Ramsgate, currently a failing school, having been served with a 'Notice to Improve' by OFSTED in October, is evidently in further difficulties. Principal, Ian Johnson, left suddenly last summer, although he enjoyed a high profile as an unofficial spokesman for Academies, and had served as Acting Principal at the Spires academy in Canterbury - a matter of criticism in the Marlowe OFSTED Report because of his absence from his prime role. In May, there was a monitoring Inspection which found satisfactory progress from the 'Notice to Improve' but did not change the status. 

What was not made known at the time ............

Published in News Archive
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 00:00

Academy Groups

 Last updated January 2020.

There are now a large number of Multi Academy Trusts (MATs) that in many ways act like mini Local Authorities except for: the mandatory responsibilities including place planning; aspects of Special Education Needs; responsibility for excluded children; accountability to the locality; standards; and the bureaucracy that inevitably accompanies local authorities. These groups stem from many different types of foundation, including: charities; church groups; individual successful schools; organisations that also supply schools services where they make their profits; a number of schools getting together as a co-operative. 

Many of these incorporate Sponsored Academies, who are taken over by more successful schools, MATs or other organisations.

There is no pattern for the structure of academy groups, but the following list attempts to cover all groups with an interest in Kent and Medway schools, along with the lead organisation.  Currently government is putting pressure on Local Authorities and many school governing bodies in an attempt (largely successful) to force them into academy partnerships and I expect many more local primary schools to appear in this list shortly. There is often no public consultation for these conversions 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 an analysis a few years ago of the work of two of  the largest groups of Academies here.

 You will find the full list (I am happy to be updated or corrected on this information) below.


Many headteachers subscribe to this site. I have now had two reports of acquisitive Multi Academy Trusts, attempting bullying tactics to force schools to join them. Another confirmed the promise of a 5% levy to go to the MAT then increased it to 8% after contracts were signed. Take care.

Other News

The following abbreviations are used: (C) Converter Academy; (Sp) Sponsored Academy. The list excludes single schools with MAT status, presumably acquired to enable them to expand in the future. 

Multi Academy Trusts

 Academies Enterprise Trustcomprising 30 secondary academies , 31 primary academies, and four special schools, stretching from Essex to the Isle of Wight, including  St James the Great Academy (S), previously St James the Great Primary Community and Nursery School).  AET was told by the DofE to pull out of sponsoring two additional Portsmouth schools and focus on raising standards in its existing academies. See article here. As a consequence it also lost three Maidstone primaries to Leigh Academies Trust.

Ace Learning Trust: Federation of Hamstreet (C) and Furley Park (C) Primary Schools

Aletheia Anglican Academies Trust: based at St George's CofE School (C), Gravesend. Incorporating: Shorne CofE Primary (C) & St Botolph's CofE Primary (C), both of Gravesend; Stone St Mary's CofE Primary (C, Greenhithe); Horton Kirby CofE Primary (C). Sutton-at-Hone CofE Primary (C), Rosherville CofE (Sp). Is also to take on the new Alkerden Secondary School in Ebbsfleet and is consulting on this becoming an all-through school. 

The Arete Trust: Runs Dartford Grammar School for Girls as a MAT, presumably with the intention of absorbing other schools.  

Argent Trust: Currently just Danecourt Special School in Gillingham, together with a Training Centre for professionals. 

Barton Court Grammar School Trust: including Charles Dickens School, Ramsgate, after a troubled history (S), taking over new Barton Manor Free School on site of now closed Chaucer Technology School, opening 2021.

Barnsole Academy Trust: Barnsole Primary; Bligh Infant and Junior Schools. Danecourt Special School. All in Medway.

Brook Learning Trust, Tonbridge. based on Hayesbrook School (C), incorporating: High Weald Academy (previously Angley School) (S) and Ebbsfleet Academy (previously Swan Valley School), Ebbsfleet (S). See article

Canterbury Academy Trust: Canterbury High School (C) and Canterbury Primary School (C). Also runs the Canterbury 14-16 ACP PRU  and The Canterbury Youth Service.

Canterbury Christ Church University: Dover Christ Church Academy (S)

Castle Academy Trust: Delce Academy, Rochester, and one primary school in Hampshire.

Cliffe Woods Academy Trust: Cliffe Woods Primary School; Halling Primary School, both Medway.

Coastal Academies Trust (Previously Dane Court and King Ethelbert Academies Trust): Dane Court Grammar School (C); Hartsdown Academy (C); King Ethelbert School (C); Cliftonville Primary (Sp). The Trust has taken over the Royal Harbour Academy (not yet an Academy), previously Ellington and Hereson having absorbed the now defunct Marlowe Academy, in Ramsgate. There may be problems with this application as described here.  The Trust ran Charles Dickens School in Broadstairs for a while, before KCC passed it over to St George's CofE, also Broadstairs, and it has now passed on to Barton Court as a Sponsored Academy. See article on potential contoversial new secondary school in Thanet. 

Connect Schools Academy Trust  (previously Crofton Schools Academy Trust): Comprises three primary schools in Bromley, together with Cage Green Primary (S) in Tonbridge and the new River Mill Primary (F) also in temporary accommodation, further details here.  

Coppice Primary Partnership: Coxheath (C)  and Loose (C) Primary Schools, Maidstone; St Katharine's  Primary, Snodland (S)

Cygnus Academies Trust, Manor Community School, Swanscombe (C), Westgate Primary, Dartford (Sp), Royal Rise Academy, Tonbridge (previously St Stephen's); Greenlands Primary School (C), Dartford (previously Darenth Community Primary School); Dartford Community Primary (S). 

 Decus Educational Trust; previously the Gravesend Grammar Schools Academies Trust. Also includes Whitehill Primary (C). A disastrous venture to take over Kings Farm Primary School was abandoned in the midst of a scandal, also incorporating Whitehill. 

The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust (Aquila)The John Wallis Church of England Academy, Ashford (Sp); Archbishop Courtney Primary, Maidstone (Sp); Brenzett CofE (Sp); Charlton CofE Primary, Dover; Christ Church CEP, Folkestone (C); Christ Church Church of England Juniors in Ramsgate (Sp); Dymchurch Primary (C); Kennington CofE Junior (Sp); Kingsnorth CofE (C); Reculver CofE Primary (Sp); St Eanswythe's Cof E Primary, Shepway; St George's CofE, Sheppey (C); St John's CofE Primary (C); St Laurence in Thanet Church of England Juniors (Sp); St Mary's CofE Primary, Ashford (C);  St Mary of Charity, CofE (Aided), Faversham; St Nicholas CofE, New Romney (Sp); and Temple Ewell Church of England Primary (Sp).

Divergent Partnership Trust: based at Wrotham School, is to take over Aylesford School (S), but PFI issues are blocking this.

Dover Federation of the Arts Multi Academy Trust: based at Astor College for the Arts (C), incorporating Barton Juniors (C); Shatterlocks Infants (C); Whitecliffs Primary College of the Arts (C); and associated with the Duke of York’s Royal Military School, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. 

Endeavour MAT: Wilmington Grammar Boys; Wilmington Grammar Girls.  Stone Lodge School, a new Free Secondary School in Dartford, opened in 2019. 

Fort Pitt Thomas Aveling Academy Trust: Fort Pitt Grammar School Chatham (C) & Thomas Aveling School (C) (joint lead schools);  Robert Napier School (Sp); Rochester; Phoenix Junior Academy (previously Glencoe Junior School) (Sp); Balfour Junior (C). 

Fulston Manor Academy Trust, Sittingbourne.  based on Fulston Manor School: South Avenue Juniors (Sp) and South Avenue Infants (C). 

 Future Schools Trust, Maidstone. Comprises Cornwallis School, New Line Learning Academy, Kent's first Free School - Tiger School, primary. Was to be re-brokered in September 2018 following poor performance, to Every Child Every Day Academy Trust, but this has been revoked, presumably as the Trust's secondary schools have improved. . 

Galaxy Trust: Oakfield Community Primary (C); Temple Hill Community Primary (C); West Hill Primary (C). 

 Griffin Schools Trust: "The Griffin Schools Trust is a charitable company, limited by guarantee, whose main aim is to increase access to the best of education for the most socially deprived and disadvantaged children, by sponsoring Academies". Article on Griffin here. They currently run a number of schools in the Midlands, along with Kingfisher Community Primary, Chatham (Sp); Saxon Way Primary, Gillingham (Sp); and Lordswood Primary, Chatham (Sp); along with another three primaries and a Midlands secondary school. The Trust also ran Wayfield Primary, Chatham (C), but after it was placed in Special Measures, it was transferred to the Primary First Trust. 

Grove Park Academies Trust, Sittingbourne. At time of writing comprising just Grove Park Primary, but about to take over a new Special Free School, Aspire School

Howard Academy Trust, The Howard School, Rainham (C); Miers Court Primary, Gillingham; (C); Temple Mill Primary, Strood (Sp); Deanwood Primary (C);  Thames View Primary (C).  Has taken over the ill-fated Medway UTC, renamed it Waterfront UTC, and extended its age range to 11-18. 

Ignite Academy Trust: Joydens Wood Infants (C); Joydens Wood Juniors (C); Wilmington Primary (C) (although the DfE data appears unclear on this, and they may all be SATs).

Inspire Partnership: Currently runs three primary schools in South East London, Maundene Primary in Chatham (C). Elaine Academy, taken from Williamson Trust after problems.  Taking over Delce Academy

The Inspiring Change Multi-Academy Trust: An expansive name for what appears to be a Trust overseeing a single Alternative Provision Academy in Medway, the Rowans, previously Silverbank. Will be associated with new Free Special School, The Beeches on the same site. 

 The Island Learning Trust: Halfway Houses Primary & Minster in Sheppey Primary, both Isle of Sheppey, supporting Sunny Bank Primary in Sittingbourne.

Kent Catholic Schools Partnership: A private company set up in 2012 by the Archdiocese of Southwark, apparently to act as an umbrella organisation for all the Kent Catholic Schools, as they applied to become academies en masse(!). Recent article here.  Holy Family Catholic Primary, Maidstone (Sp);  More Park Catholic Primary, Maidstone (C);  Our Lady of Hartley Catholic Primary (C); St Anselm's Catholic School, Canterbury (C); St Augustine's Roman Catholic Primary, Tunbridge Wells (C); St Edmund's Catholic School,Dover (Sp); St Edwards' Catholic Primary, Sheerness (Sp); St Gregory's Catholic Comprehensive, Tunbridge Wells (C); St Gregory's Catholic Primary, Margate (C); St John's Catholic Primary, Gravesend (C);  St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Aylesham (C); St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Margate (C); St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Northfleet (C); St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary, Tonbridge (C); St Mary’s Catholic Primary, Dover; St Mary's Catholic Primary, Whitstable; St Peter's Catholic Primary, Sittingbourne (C); St Richard's Catholic Primary, Dover (C); St Simon Stock, Maidstone (C); St Simon of England Roman Catholic Primary, Ashford (C); St Teresa's Roman Catholic Primary, Ashford (C); St Thomas Catholic Primary, Sevenoaks (C); Stella Maris Catholic Primary, Folkestone (C); Ursuline College, Thanet (C).  In progress: St Francis Catholic Primary, Maidstone; St Mary's Catholic Primary, Canterbury (C). 

The Leigh Academy Trust: Has four 'hubs' and one stand-alone academy.  It has now merged with (taken over) The Williamson Trust. The first hub, based on Leigh Academy, Dartford (Sp) incorporates Wilmington Academy (Sp), Dartford Primary School (previously St Alban's Road Infants & York Road Junior Academy now combined), Hartley Primary (C) and Milestone Academy (Special School), New Ash Green (C). It opened the new Cherry Orchard Primary School at Ebbsfleet Garden City, September 2017. Secondly the Mid-Kent Hub, led by new member of the Trust, the successful Mascalls School (C) in Paddock Wood and runs three Maidstone primary academies taken over from AET - Molehill Primary Academy (Sp); Oaks Academy (Sp, previously Oak Trees Community School); Treetops Academy (Sp, previously Bell Wood Community Primary School), and Langley Park Primary School in Maidstone, together with Horsmonden and Paddock Wood  primaries in the Weald. Leigh has also been awarded two new Free Schools in the area on the same site: Bearsted Academy a secondary Special School; and a new Maidstone Primary.  The third hub is to built around Strood Academy, transferring to the Trust. It has been awarded the  new Leigh Academy Rainham, a secondary school expected to open in 2021.  The Trust also manages the new Leigh University Technical College in Dartford, and its 11-14 extension the Inspiration Academy. Longfield Academy, the first of the Trust's schools apart from Leigh itself, stands alone. The fourth hub in SE London includes Stationers Crown Woods Academy in Eltham (C), £50 million new buildings and one of the most oversubscribed schools in SE London and a new secondary Free School, Castle Community Primary School, to be built on the Greenwich Peninsula. Been awarded a new Special School in Maidstone to open in 2018, Snowfields Academy, and a Primary on the same site, Bearsted Primary Academy.  The take over of The Williamson Trust, brought the following schools into the Trust: based on Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School in Rochester (C), incorporating the Hundred of Hoo Academy (11-19) (Sp), now has admitted Years R and 1, expanding as a 4-11 all through school; All Hallows Primary School; High Halstow Primary school (C); Stoke Community (C), all in Medway. Sponsorship of St James CofE Primary Academy, Isle of Grain is shared with the Rochester Diocesan Trust. A new secondary school, Leigh Academy Rainham is planned to open in 2021. 

Lilac Sky Academy Trust: Now Closed with all academies transferred to other Trusts Richmond Primary, Sheerness (Sp) & Thistle Hill Primary, Sheppey (Sp)  transferred to Stour Valley Trust;  Knockhall Community Primary (Sp) to Woodland Academy Trust where it is still struggling (2018); Morehall Primary, Folkestone (Sp) & Martello Grove Academy (Sp), Folkestone to the new Turner Schools Trust (where they are still struggling).  Heavily involved in Furness Special School, Hextable which proved a disaster and Furness has now re-opened as a Special School annex, called Broomhill Bank North, for high functioning autistic children. Heavily involved in failing the Castle Community College in Deal (since recovered).

Maritime Academy Trust: Based in Greenwich with seven primary schools, now including Featherby Infants and Featherby Juniors in Medway. Is to run the new Ebbsfleet Green Primary School, opening in 2020. 

Meopham Community Academy (C) Trust now closed as the school has transferred into the Pathway Academy Trust.  As a MAT, sponsored Chantry Community Academy in Gravesend, and was running Istead Rise Primary School in Gravesham, which it took into Special Measures and, under the Meopham umbrella  has had a series of appalling Monitoring Inspection Reports. Both schools have been removed from Meopham, with the Meopham Headteacher having left his post, Istead Rise now taken over as a sponsored academy by Swale Academies Trust, Chantry, then in Special Measures being transferred to Greenacre Academy Trust, now Ofsted Good. 

Medway Anglican Schools Trust: All Saints CofE Primary (C); St John's CofE VC Primary (C); St Margaret's CofE VC Junior (C), all in Medway. The three headteachers who conceived the idea which came to fruition in September 2015 'are now enjoying well deserved retirements' July 2017. Also St James CofE Primary, Hoo Peninsula.

Ministry of Defence: Duke of York's Royal Military School, Dover (Sp). Scandals awash, now appears to have settled down.

 Oasis Community Learning is part of the Oasis Trust (known as ‘Oasis’), a UK-based Christian registered charity founded by Reverend Steve Chalke in 1985, after being assistant minister at Tonbridge Baptist Church, Kent for four years. Oasis Trust has developed into a family of charities now working on five continents and 11 countries around the world, to deliver housing, education, training, youth work and healthcare. Oasis provides services for, local authorities and national governments, as well as self funded initiatives aimed at providing opportunity to people across the globe. As the website states: “The work of Oasis Community Learning is motivated and inspired by the life, message and example of Christ, which shapes and guides every aspect of each of our Academies”. Oasis, however, is keen to state that "Oasis Academies are open to pupils of all faiths and of no faith and are committed to being inclusive of all communities". Oasis Community Learning runs some 40 academies across the country including Oasis Academy, Isle of Sheppey and  Oasis Academy Skinner Street (primary in Gillingham) which failed and in receipt of pre-termination warning letter, but has now been judged Good.  Was to run new Free School at Thistle Hill, Sheppey but withdrew (been moved out?). It was proposing to take over Chaucer Technology  School, which failed its OFSTED and has since run into further difficulties,  when the school's problems were resolved, but abandoned the challenge. The school has now closed.   Shockingly, and without notice or consultation, Oasis announced the closure of  Hextable Academy in February 2015 because it claimed it was not able to run it on the provided funding. Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey is a disaster and disgrace, featured in numerous articles most recently (March 2018) here.

Orchard Academy Trust: Allington Primary School (C); Barming Primary School (S).

  Parallel Learning Trust: This Trust of five schools, for children with SEN or at risk of exclusion, four in London, now includes the Inspire Special School, Medway's first Free School, that crashed into Special Measures and has now been taken on by the Trust. 

The Pathway Academy Trust: Culverstone Green Primary and Riverview Infant, Riverview Junior (Sp) Wrotham Road Primary (C) Meopham Community Academy (see Meopham Community Academy Trust (C)). All Gravesend

The Pilgrim Multi-Academy Trust: The Pilgrim School (C) and St Margaret's at Troy Town (C), two primaries in Rochester; St Mark's CofE Primary, Eccles (C). Has been awarded Rochester Riverside Church of England Primary School, a new Free School to serve the Medway riverside. 

Pioneer Academy Trust: Runs six primary academies in Bexley. Has now taken over the failed Edenbridge School (S). 

Potential in Everyone Academy Trust: Four primary converter academies in Swale - Borden CofE; Bredgar CofE; Minterne Community Junior; The Oaks Community Infant.

 Primary First Trust: Cuxton Primary, Medway (Sp); Wayfield Community Primary, Medway, now out of the clutches of Griffin Trust (C); Westcourt Primary, Gravesend (C). Also has, and is based at a primary academy in Bexleyheath. Has been awarded a new primary Free School, the Springhead Park Primary, in Gravesham, serving Ebbsfleet to open in 2020.  

Rainham Mark Educational Trust. Rainham Mark Grammar School (C) taking in Twydall Primary, Gillingham (Sp), and Riverside Primary (C). 

Rivermead Inclusive Trust: Rivermead Special School (Lead school); Hoo St Werburgh Primary; Walderslade Primary

 REAch2: The company website states: “The structural vision for REAch2 is to build an Umbrella Trust of Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT)”. It is based in Hillyfield Academy, a SIX (!) form entry primary school in Walthamstow, growing to 1400 children under the age of eleven. Its 55 Primary schools include: Kemsley Primary (Sp) & Milton Court Primary (Sp) in Sittingbourne; Tymberwood Academy (previously Raynehurst Primary School) (Sp) & Copperfield Academy, previously Dover Road Primary, in Gravesham (Sp), (still in troubleall previously in Special Measures.

Rochester Diocesan Multi-Academy Education Trust: Just Rosherville CofE Academy, Northfleet (Sp). Sponsorship of St James CofE Primary Academy, Isle of Grain is shared with the Williamson Trust. The Board ran the Bishop of Rochester Academy, Chatham (Sp) from its opening in 2010, encountering a variety of difficulties , but at Easter 2015, it was suddenly transferred to the Thinking Schools Academy Trust. 

Roger De Haan Charitable Trust: Now empty with Folkestone Academy (all through 4-19) (Sp), now transferred to Turner Trust. The Trust controversially and badly managed The Marlowe Academy (Sp) since its opening in 2005. The Academy  closed having been unable to attract students and in severe financial difficulties .  

The SchoolsCompany Trust, Deal: Wound up. Goodwin Academy has been transferred to the Thinking Schools Academy Trust. Its other schools were PRUs in Devon and they have also been re brokered. 

Skills for Life Trust: based on Greenacre School, Chatham (C); Warren Wood Community Primary (Sp); Chantry Primary, Gravesend, (Sp) after it was failed by Meopham Community Trust, now has a Good OFSTED. Hilltop Primary (C) . Took over neighbouring Walderslade Girls School after latter declined in performance. 

 The Skinners' School Academy Trust (SAT). The Skinners' Company runs  The Skinners' School and has taken over the Marsh Academy, secondary school at New Romney from Tonbridge School. This charitable company also runs the Voluntary Aided The Judd School, Skinners Kent Academy and Skinners .

South Kent Academy Trust  Not in place at time of writing, but is proposed joint Trust between Brockhill Performing Arts College, Hythe and Towers School, Ashford. 

Stour Academy Trust, based on Sturry Cof E Primary School (C), incorporating  Finberry Primary School (Sp); Hersden Village Primary School (C); Lansdowne Primary, Sittingbourne (Sp); Adisham CofE Primary (C). Took over from Lilac Sky Academies Trust in January 2017: Richmond Academy (Sp) and Thistle Hill Primary Academy (Sp) both on Sheppey. Now sponsoring Chilmington Green School, a new Free School in Ashford.

Swale Academies Trust: much favoured by KCC, but. Based on Westlands school, Sittingbourne (C), incorporating Sittingbourne Community School (Sp),  Meopham School (Sp) and The Whitstable School, together with five primary schools - Regis Manor Community Primary School (Sp),  and Westlands Primary school (Sp), both Sittingbourne, along with Beaver Green Primary, Ashford (Sp); Southborough Primary, Maidstone (C);  Istead Rise Primary, Gravesham, became a Sponsored Academy after the failure of Meopham Community Primary to manage it. Was taking over Chaucer Technology School, but this has now closed. Also runs the North School, Ashford but has problems  because of PFI issues, and Holmesdale after it failed in 2018. 

Temple Grove Schools Trust.  Partners with Haberdasher's Aske's Federation of Academies - three all age academies including Crayford Academy, (Temple Grove co-sponsors the primary departments) with two primary academies to come.  Temple Grove Academy, Tunbridge Wells (previously Sherwood Park Community Primary school) (Sp) appears to be its first directly run academy. An early monitoring inspection of the school was very critical. 

 Tenax Schools Trust.Based on Bennett Memorial Diocesan School Tunbridge Wells. Brenchley and Matfield CofE Primary (C); Leybourne, St Peter and St Paul CofE Primary (C) . Will incorporate the new Bishop Chavasse Free School, Tonbridge, when it becomes an academy, planned 2018. In partnership with St Andrew’s Church, was proposing to open a new Church of England and Methodist Primary School in Paddock Wood from 2018, now on ice. 

 The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT), based on the Kemnal Technology College in Bexley. This is a Trust of 12 secondary and 22 primary academies stretching from Essex to Hampshire. These include: Orchards Academy, previously Swanley Technology College, (C); Rainham School for Girls, Medway (C); Dame Janet Primary Academy, previously Dame Janet Infant & Junior Schools, Thanet (Sp), Drapers Mill Primary, Margate (Sp) (various comments on website); Newlands Primary (Sp), Northdown Primary (Sp) & Salmestone Primary (Sp),all in Thanet; Horizon Primary,Swanley (Sp); Napier Community Primary & Nursery, Gillingham; Pluckley Church of England Primary (C); & Smarden Primary (C). Newlands was satisfactory when taken over, went into Serious Weaknesses. TKAT has now set up an Executive Governing Body for its Thanet Primary Academies, run by a previous deputy headteacher of a small primary school. A very complex structure developing here! OFSTED published a critical Report on the Trust in July 14. My comments here. Some improvements since these comments, but still concerns. Rainham Girls launched a strange proposal to go all-through, but this has now fallen. 

The Tenterden Schools Trust: Surely the ideal mixture. Homewood School and Sixth Form Centre, Tenterden (C), and all three local Primary schools: Tenterden Infant (C); Tenterden CofE Junior (C)  St Michael's CofE Primary (C), and Rolvenden Primary (C) all at the centre of a large rural area.

Thinking Schools Academy Trust headed up by The Rochester Grammar School (C) initially with All Faiths' Children's Community School (C). The trust also sponsors: Holcombe Grammar School (previously Chatham Grammar School for Boys, Sp);  Gordon Infant and Junior Schools (Sp).  New Horizons Children's Academy, Chatham, a new build academy; Victory Academy (previously Bishop of Rochester) Academy; and Cedar Children's Academy, Strood (Sp). Also runs several Portsmouth schools. Chief Executive controversially resigned in July 2016. Has taken over Goodwin Academy from SchoolsCompany Trust. Features strongly in these pages, with recent controversies at RGS and Holcombe. Will be running the new All Through Maritime Academy in Strood, but this has been beset by legal issues

 TIMU Academy Trust: Bobbing Village School (C); Iwade School (C), both in Swale. 

 Turner Schools"bringing national experience in running Outstanding schools to local communities in East Kent" (recently revised from North and East Kent). Set up in April 2016, clearly much favoured by government,Chair of Board in favour of profit making academies. Taken over Morehall Primary and Martello Grove Primary in Folkestone from the controversial Lilac Sky in January 2017.Runs the new Free School on site of now closed Pent Valley School in Folkestone. Has acquired Folkestone Academy from Roger de Haan Trust. See various articles on its controversial nature, most recently here

 United Learning An educational charity, controlled by United Church Schools Trust, recently the subject of several Private Eye exposés. Runs 23 academies and 11 private schools, including the private Ashford School. Wye Free School. Is to run the new Free School: Chilmington Green Secondary School in Ashford. 

 University of Kent Academy Trust: Lead school Brompton Academy, also runs Chatham Grammar.

 Valley Invicta Academies Trust, Maidstone: incorporating Valley Park School (C) & Invicta Grammar school (C).  The Trust also runs: Aylesford Primary School (S), Valley Invicta East Borough Primary School, The Lenham School (previously Swadelands (S). Now runs three new build primary academies: Valley Invicta Primary School at Holborough Lakes (Snodland), with SEN Unit; Valley Invicta Primary School at Kings Hill, with SEN Unit; Valley Invicta Primary School at Leybourne Chase, with SEN Unit. 

The Village Academy Trust, based on Selling Church of England Primary School (C): incorporating Dymchurch Primary (C); Lynsted and Norton Primary School (C) & Milstead and Frinstead Church of England Primary school (C); Petham Primary, Canterbury (Sp); Pilgrims Way Primary School & Nursery, Canterbury (now transferred to Veritas Academy Trust. The Trust has now taken over Lydd Primary School (Sp).

Veritas Multi-Academy Trust: Warden House Primary (C) in Deal, having wisely parted from SchoolsCompany. Also Pilgrims Way Primary, acquired from Village Academy Trust.. 

Viking Academy Trust: Chilton Primary (C) and Upton Junior (C), Thanet. This has now been joined by the  Ramsgate Arts Primary School, previously Ramsgate Free School.  

 Westbrook Trust; based on Brompton-Westbrook Primary School, Chatham; Byron Primary (Sp); St Margaret's Infants, Rochester (C). 

The Williamson Trust. Now Closed after merging with (been taken over by) Leigh Academy Trustbased on Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School in Rochester (C), incorporating the Hundred of Hoo Academy (11-19) (Sp), now has admitted Years R and 1, expanding as a 4-11 all through school; All Hallows Primary School; High Halstow Primary school (C); Stoke Community (C), all in Medway. Sponsorship of St James CofE Primary Academy, Isle of Grain is shared with the Rochester Diocesan Trust. 

 Whinless Down Academy Trust: Priory Field, St Martin's, Vale View Community primary schools, all in Dover. 

 The Woodard Academies, part of the Woodard Schools group, independently standing Church of England Schools.  This comprises 27 private preparatory and secondary schools, 14 affiliated state schools, and four academies, including St Augustine's Academy, Maidstone (Sp).

 Woodland Academy Trust: runs three Primary academies in Bexley, took over controversial Knockhall Primary Academy (Sp), Dartford, from Lilac Sky in January 2017. 


Tagged under
Sunday, 29 January 2012 16:53

Controversial new School proposed for Medway

Medway Council is bidding to create one of the 24 new University Technical Colleges (UTCs) to be set up by government, which would be based near the University of Greenwich site. I wrote and published here, the article you will find below, in October. All that has changed is that Medway Council is developing the idea and has set up an email consultation, which will form the basis of demonstrating whether parents want a University Technical College in Medway. You can respond to the survey here.  Whilst a site has not yet been chosen for the proposed College, Medway Council suggests it could be at an unused block at Brompton Barracks. You can find fuller information at the Medway Council website. Two of the pieces of information missing are the views of the current Medway secondary schools, some of which would be seriously damaged by the proposal (see below), another is Medway's best estimate of the collateral damage to other schools, and which school the Council considers would be at greatest risk of closure if the proposal goes ahead. 

Yet another Medway School, Barnsole Junior in Gillingham, has been failed by OFSTED, maintaining the proportion of Medway primary schools that have failed in the two years I have been monitoring outcomes at 21%. This appalling record is underlined by the fact that not a single Medway primary school has been found Outstanding in this time, although nationally the figure is running at 6% (just another 6% failing). 


University Technical Colleges are planned to "offer 14-19 year olds the opportunity to take a highly regarded, full time, technically-oriented course of study. They are equipped to the highest standard, sponsored by a university and offer clear progression routes into higher education or further learning in work". To quote David Cameron:.......

Published in News Archive
Tagged under

That's right! I have won two thirds of all successful complaints about maladministration of admission appeal panels for academies  settled by 31st August! To be fair that is two complaints won on behalf of clients out of a total of three upheld across the country (actually they are all for Kent schools). The Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) resolves complaints on behalf of the  Department of Education, replacing the process operated for maintained school Appeal Panels by the Local Government Ombudsman..........

Published in News Archive
Tagged under
Thursday, 21 July 2011 10:45

KCCs view on Academies

KCC appears to be changing its view on supporting secondary schools to become academies as the financial advantages start to vanish. BBC SE is planning to cover the situation this evening.
Published in News Archive
Tagged under

The following item served the basis for an article in KOS on 11 June 2011, and also triggered the front page news story.

A Freedom of Information request I submitted has revealed a number of alarming features in the pattern of permanent exclusions (expulsions) in Kent schools.

The first two new style academies created in Kent top the list of permanent exclusions between September and Easter, headed by Westlands School in Sittingbourne with 11. Next is Canterbury High School with nine permanent exclusions.

Both these schools previously had outstanding Ofsted reports, so it is difficult to believe they have difficult disciplinary problems.

Other schools with high numbers of permanent exclusions over this period are: Chaucer Technology School, also in Canterbury (nine); Hartsdown Technology College (converting to an academy – eight) and the Marlowe Academy both in Thanet (seven); and Astor College for the Arts in Dover (seven).

The total over this period is rising alarmingly already being almost the same as for the whole of 2009-10.

In general, an excluded child does not just go away, they are moved to another school to be given a fresh chance but, as this will usually be one of the few with vacancies in the area, it just heaps the problems on a possibly struggling school.

Of particular concern is the number of children  with statements of special education needs (SEN) who continue to be permanently excluded, in spite of government policy that “schools should avoid permanently excluding pupils with statements, other than in the most exceptional circumstances”.

While I don’t yet have figures for this year, in 2009-10 out of a total of 168 secondary exclusions 22 were of statemented children, a further 68 being of other children with SEN, together over half of the total.

However, the most astonishing and alarming statistic in this whole survey is that nearly all of the 34 Kent primary school exclusions in the last school year were of children with Special Education Needs, with 13 statemented children and another 18 with SEN.


So much for Kent. Meanwhile up in Medway there is a remarkably different picture. The council reports that there were just three permanent exclusions from Medway Secondary Schools in 2009-10 (none statemented), and none from primary schools. For 2010-11 the reported figure is currently zero, although Medway Council has subsequently claimed it is unaware of at least three permanent exclusions from Bishop of Rochester Academy, even though it would have responsibility for those children, so this figure needs to be treated with some caution.


This all begs many questions. Firstly, why are the pictures in Kent and Medway so very different?

Medway may only have around one sixth of the children being educated in Kent, but this does not come close to explaining why some Kent schools resort to formal exclusion proceedings so often, whereas Medway can avoid a dramatic, stressful and bureaucratic process so effectively.

Medway schools have always co-operated well over what are called ‘managed moves’ to a fresh school, although whether this will continue when all are independent academies remains to be seen.

How can Kent primary schools exclude children with statements in such numbers, compared to a negligible number of children without special needs, in direct contradiction to the government imperative that this should only happen in exceptional circumstances?

Why does Kent but not Medway have so many exceptional circumstances?

Once again KCC is seeing children who surely deserve the highest standard of care, at the bottom of the pile (see last week’s Kent on Sunday).

Another factor to add to KCC’s Scrutiny Committee investigation into primary school standards.

What is special about Westlands and Canterbury High apart from the fact they are outstanding Ofsted schools, that they need to take this extreme action, effectively forcing these children to less popular and successful schools, whereas others, often in far more difficult situations, appear to be able to manage better? Are they showing the future for academies?

What happens to the schools that become ‘dumping grounds’ for children excluded by other schools better able to cope with them?

Above all, why does KCC not look at Medway’s procedures to learn how to improve these dreadful figures?

Published in Newspaper Articles

Regular browsers of this website will be be well aware of my concerns about the accountability of academies. I have just posted my initial advice and views on complaints about Independent Panels set up by academies to hear admission appeals. Sadly, I am very disappointed.......

Published in News Archive
Thursday, 02 June 2011 00:00

Complaints about Academies

The following table gives a breakdown of the data for complaints to the EFA about Academy and Free School Appeals for the past two years, 2015-2017. You will find an article expanding on these figures here.   

Complaints to the EFA about Academy
and Free School Appeals
  National  Kent Medway
   15-16 16-17 15-16 16-17  15-16  16-17
 227  234  25  21  3 4
 14  6  o  o  0  0
without Injustice
 21  15  0  1  1  0
 133  164


 18  2


 0  33   0  2  0  1

You can see that success rates have halved since my previous data collection in 2011, below. 

A. Maladministration that the YPLA considers may have caused injustice.  Where this is the decision a fresh appeal is required to be heard by a different panel.

B. Maladministration that the YPLA does not consider to have caused injustice.  Where this is the decision no fresh appeal is required

C. No maladministration.


Total received

Decision Pending / Awaiting Further Info from parent or Clerk A* B* C* Parent Withdrew Complaint
National 107 16 7 3 78 3
Kent County Council Area 18 0 4 1 13 0
Medway Council Area 0 - - - - -

* Letters refer to decisions in previous paragraph.

Compared to Ombudsman decisions, there is a remarkably low proportion of successful complaints settled so far. Of course it may be that those where decisions are pending include a higher proportion of cases which may be settled in favour of the complainant.

By comparison, for 2010 entry, the Local Government Ombudsman heard 1403 school admission complaints nationally, fairly similar proportionately, given the number of schools involved. For Kent in 2010, there were 35 complaints to the Ombudsman about school admissions for county/community schools although the outcomes are not recorded. Kent foundation and voluntary aided schools produced 77 complaints of which 30 were the subject of local settlements (this means in general that the complaints were upheld with a fresh appeal or a recommendation to admit directly to the school), and in Medway, 6 out of 18 were upheld.

There thus appears to be a dramatic fall in the chances of success for complaints about academies, three possible reasons being as follows. Firstly, those still pending may produce a higher proportion of success, as they may be the subject of further investigation, but this would still leave the chances of success much lower. Secondly, the process of determining outcomes has significant differences. Normally in Ombudsman cases, there is discussion of the issues arising between the parties so that all have a chance to comment on the other's case. The complainant usually sees the appeal clerk's notes and the admission authority's comments on the case. he is then able to challenge any wrong information put forward. The Ombudsman issues a provisional view which either side can challenge and put forward further information. On the other hand, with the EFA, the academy gets to see the complaint, but the parent does not see their response - this is clearly unfair! There may be limited informal discussion, but the first real indication one has of the  outcome is the final decision. Thirdly, the Ombudsman website is packed with information and advice on complaints, backed up by a telephone support line. There is no such help available for complaints to the YPLA.  There is solely information on the address to send a complaint to. One of the massive frustrations reported by schools and parents alike, is the difficulty in contacting real people - telephone numbers all too often lead to message boards where no one answers!

I am happy to be corrected on any of the above views or information.

Kent County Council has appointed another new senior Interim Officer,  Lorraine O'Reilly, who is to be Director of School Standards and Planning, a poisoned chalice indeed........

Published in News Archive
Monday, 16 May 2011 21:45

Bishop of Rochester Academy (2)

I hear that Mr Christopher Sweetman, Principal of Bishop of Rochester Academy since its opening in September 2010, who was suspended by the governors in March, following reports of poor behaviour in the school, is to leave the Academy. Although the two Vice-Principals have been running the academy in his absence, he is now to be replaced by an Executive Headteacher, Mr A Reese who is also headteacher of Greenacre School in Chatham. You will find a previous article on the issues behind these moves here.

The Medway Messenger has now covered this story in more detail and has attracted a (very) wide variety of comments on the story!

Published in News Archive
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