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Wednesday, 03 September 2014 00:00

Medway Messenger: Too many Medway children starting their education in struggling schools

This article should be read in conjunction with my response, to be found here
Almost half of the (Medway) children going to school for the first time this week, will be starting their education in a poor school.
With 30 out of 65 primary and infant schools in Medway ranked either as requiring improvement or inadequate by Ofsted, 46% of children will be going to struggling schools. There are seven inadequate schools in the Towns and 23 that require improvement, totalling 1,575 primary school places out of the 3,545 available.
The figures were released following a Freedom of Information request to Medway Council.
There are only 190 places at the three primary schools in Medway ranked outstanding, 5% of the primary school places available in Medway. All three schools, St Nicholas Infant School, Strood; St Thomas More Catholic Primary School, Chatham; and Swingate Primary School, Lordswood, have filled their spaces for the upcoming school year. Yet there are some good-rated schools with empty seats. Gordon Infant School in Strood has only filled 36 out of a possible 60 places, while one mile away Hilltop Primary School has filled its 60 seats. Hilltop was told it needed to improve following an Ofsted inspection in November 2013 which ranked it as requiring improvement.
The majority of primary school places are spread across the 32 ‘good’ schools in Medway.
Earlier this year Cllr Mike O’Brien, who is in charge of education, said almost 96% of children will be starting their education at one of their preferred schools (Peter: actually it is 95.45%).
Cllr Tristan Osborne, who submitted the FOI request, said: “‘It is sad that after 10 years of Tory control of our education locally that 1,600 school places will be in schools that are considered inadequate or requiring improvement. “Indeed, there are more places in schools judged inadequate than outstanding. Parents should not be let down in this way by our council and they deserve better than this.”
Last year, Medway was last but one in Ofsted’s local authority league table for primary schools.
Peter Read, an education advisor, said: “These figures show that Medway primary school run by the council are still in a very bad place. “Medway children are suffering as they have been for too many years through the failures of Medway Council to improve primary standards. “This data confirms everything I have reported in the past and it’s crucial for children’s education in Medway that the council acts on his findings.”
The seven schools ranked inadequate are Allhallows Primary Academy, Byron Primary School, Gillingham; Greenvale Infant School, Chatham; Kingfisher Primary School, Chatham; Saxon Way Primary School, Gillingham; Twydall Primary School, and Warren Wood Primary School, Rochester.
Cllr O’Brien said: “Medway Council is fully committed to securing the best education for Medway’s young people and I am pleased that during my tenure as portfolio holder for children’s services exam results at primary level have improved each year.
“Having visited each and every school in Medway at least once I have seen for myself the hard work and dedication put in by all involved in educating our young people. However, when schools are not achieving as they should be, the Council will come forward with support.”
Council support can be, but is not limited to providing peer support, utilising the council’s school improvement team and offering training.
PUBLISHED MEDWAY MESSENGER: 29th August 2014 written by Reporter Clare Freeman
Last modified on Thursday, 01 June 2017 22:49

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