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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.  

The website will also introduce you to my professional services, providing  telephone support and advice on matters covered in the website, especially related to school admissions and appeals, as described here

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 2017, this website had 168,222 certified visits, from 106,810 different users, who carried out 334,821 page views.
This was in addition to the 958 email subscribers, along with 10,790 by RSS nearly all of whom are based in England, with 7,750 in Kent . These include parents, schools, education officers, politicians and the media who each received the 95 News and Comment articles published during the year. 
Most Popular Page: Kent Grammar School Applications - total views since first publication 294,251, and 39,105 in 2017.  

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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.

  • Pupil Premium Grammar School Expansion: Kent and Medway

    The Government initiative to fund 16 grammar schools to expand at a cost of £50 million is certainly controversial at this time of financial pressure. The money has been offered on the basis of proposals to encourage disadvantaged pupils to take up places. 69 schools applied for the funding; and the successes include just one bizarre choice in the whole of Kent and Medway, which have nearly a quarter of all grammar schools nationally between them. 

    Kent County Council has been highly pro-active in promoting grammar school opportunities for pupils on Pupil Premium which has no doubt contributed to the fact that three quarters of its 32 grammar schools already make provision for this in their Admissions Policies. Kent now appears to have been punished for its success in following government policy!

    Medway Council appears not have noticed the shift in priorities and as a result just one out of the six grammar schools has a relevant policy. Certainly, there is no evidence that Rochester Grammar, the one local school offered funds for expansion in return for developing a social mobility policy has ever shown any interest in such a development. Further, such an expansion when Medway has a large surplus of grammar school places for girls, appears utterly pointless and could place Chatham Grammar School for Girls at risk through lack of numbers, in this wholly ill-thought out decision. It in turn is now chasing London girls and so should survive. 

    I look below at issues in Kent and Medway in more detail. 

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    Written on Tuesday, 04 December 2018 13:04 2 comments Read 124 times
  • Controversial Proposal for New Primary Provision for Girls only in Medway

    Rainham School for Girls, a non-selective secondary school in Medway,  is consulting on a controversial scheme to set up the first new primary section for girls only in the country. It would have an intake of 60 girls, beginning in 2020-21. There is currently just one all through girls school in the country,  a girls' private school founded in the 19th century that only became a state school recently, and remains a member of the Independent Girls School Day Trust, a very different set up to that proposed for Rainham Girls. There are just seven single sex state primary schools nationally, five of which are conformist Jewish schools. 

    Rainham School for Girls Logo 

    The only reference to single sex education in the thin consultation document is the rather tentative one of: ‘We are keen to explore with stakeholders the concept of single sex primary provision, which we feel is an exciting prospect that will enable us to not only focus on the best learning strategies for girls, but will ensure that they have the chance to explore all aspects of learning, challenging stereotypes’.

    The document also offers little rationale for extending the age range.

    ‘The offer to extend our all-inclusive wrap around provision to Primary age children is an exciting one. The biggest impact of extending the school’s age range would be on a pupil’s learning journey.  The school’s ethos of high expectation and aspiration, in addition to having a common learning language from the age of 4 through to 18 will significantly increase a pupil’s progress path, leading to successful, well rounded young people’, which offers nothing to the over 80% of Year 7 girls who would be joining Rainham Girls from other schools.

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    Written on Sunday, 25 November 2018 06:02 7 comments Read 370 times
  • Exclusions Kent and Medway 2017-18

     Kent permanent exclusions have fallen by a remarkable 40% from last year to 49 pupils permanently excluded in 2017-18, in sharp contrast to nationally rising rates. No Kent school has more than five permanent exclusions. In 2011-12 there were an astonishing 210 Kent pupils permanently excluded more than any other Local Authority in the country, whereas now it is one of the very lowest. 

    Other Headlines:

    For 2016-17, even before this fall, Kent had the lowest rate of permanent exclusions in the South East. Kent fixed term exclusions have risen slightly to 10,698, an astonishing 11% or 1211 pupils of which are from one school, the secondary department of Folkestone Academy the rate of exclusion having shot up since 2016-17. Next comes Oasis Isle of Sheppey Academy with 786 exclusions. In 2016-17, the last year for which I have national comparisons, Kent fell below the national average for fixed term exclusions for the first time. 

    For Medway, one sixth of the size of Kent, the 2017-18 provisional number of permanently excluded pupil, is 58 (there may be additional exclusions to record),  down from the previous year’s final figure of 65. Five of Medway’s 18 secondary schools have more than five permanent exclusions, headed up by Brompton Academy with 11. I don’t yet have the Medway data for Fixed Term Exclusions.

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    Written on Friday, 02 November 2018 20:14 1 comment Read 369 times
  • Fixed Term Exclusions at Turner Schools 2017-18: Folkestone Academy and Martello Primary -An appalling double record

    Further Update: See new article here. 

    Updates: There is more information relating to Martello Primary, below. I have now published an article setting out  exclusion data across Kent for 2017-18, which serves as the basis for this item. 

    Folkestone Academy had more than one in every seven of all fixed term exclusions across Kent’s 101 secondary schools in 2017-18. That is just under one exclusion for every pupil in the school, and over twice as many as in 2016-17. This shocking and startling figure is just the latest in a number of revelations about happenings in the school revealed on this website. It closely follows the news that the school has dropped in GCSE performance this summer to become the fifth lowest performer in both Progress and Attainment. In 2016-17 it was  in the top half of non-selective schools in the county.

    Folkestone Academy 2

    Meanwhile, the new Martello Primary, taken on by Turner Schools in January 2017, has the second highest Fixed Term exclusion rate out of all of Kent's 463 primary schools with one exclusion for every four pupils. . 

    These fly in the face of statements by the school’s Chief Executive in the TES that: Saxton agrees with Lemov that a structured approach to behaviour is a way of reducing exclusions. She says that prior to joining Turner Schools, Folkestone Academy was the highest excluding school in Kent, but it is now reintegrating pupils into mainstream education.’  Whilst the claim itself was false then, it is certainly true now, the 1211 fixed term exclusions being more than double any other school in Kent (with the exception of Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey with 786). This equates to 85% of the statutory aged secondary school body, a dramatic rise from 2016-17, for most of the year under the previous management of 35%. 

    “Teacher capacity and skill is the best antidote there is to exclusion of students,” he (Professor Lemov) says. “The people who don’t work in high need communities often misunderstand that and think that order leads to suspensions and exclusions, but it’s the opposite. “Behaviours that lead to exclusions happen when students perceive there to be no limits and no expectations and no rules.”  So there you have it!

    It was 'education guru' Mr Lemov who, in a recent training session for the Turner Trust staff compared Folkestone with an ‘American Rust Belt City’, presumably in an attempt to explain the poor performances away.

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    Written on Saturday, 03 November 2018 11:21 3 comments Read 681 times
  • Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes: 2018

    Note: The 11 plus exams forum has removed any indirect mention of this article or website, presumably as it wishes to deny its followers the information. 

    This article looks at Year Seven and primary school admission appeals in Kent and Medway, conducted by Kent County Council, Medway Council and a number of private providers. Apart from a sharp fall in successful Kent grammar school appeals to 30% from 38%, other outcomes in Kent and Medway are very similar to the 2017 figures.

    For individual schools, by far the largest individual difference follows the shambles at Holcombe Grammar School, which also saw a fall from 76% to 7% of appeals upheld.

    As usual, there is no obvious pattern amongst non-selective schools, although I look at outcomes in each District below.

    The four Dartford grammars had just 17 successful appeals between them, out of 407, Dartford Grammar having most appeals heard, at 129, closely followed by Wilmington Boys at 125. The highest success rates at Kent grammar schools in 2017 have come down from last year, although still led by Invicta Grammar at 77% (down from the 89% of 65 appeals in 2017).

    Further details below, including primary appeals heard by Local Authority Panels. You will find appeal panel data (along with other information) for each secondary school in Kent and Medway here....

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    Written on Wednesday, 17 October 2018 17:19 2 comments Read 608 times
  • Provisional GCSE Results for Medway: 2018

    Note: To assist those looking for information on secondary school transfer, I have already published articles on 2018 outcomes for: the Medway Test; Kent GCSE outcomes;  the Kent Test; and 2018  Kent & Medway school appeals

    This is the third year of the new GCSE assessments for measuring schools performance, Progress 8 and Attainment 8, which replaced the long established 5 A*-C GCSE league table including English and maths. You will find an explanation of both measures in the parallel Kent GCSE article.

    The key measure is Progress 8 (full table here) .Under this measure Medway is slightly above the National Average of -0.02, at +0.02 (With just one school Well Below Average, contrasted with Kent's 16). Attainment 8 (full table here) has Medway just below the National score of 46.4, at 45.8 

    Highlights:  Three grammar schools have Well Above Average Progress Grades led by Rochester Grammar, followed by Chatham Girls. Holcombe Grammar is at the foot with an Average Progress Grade coming below two non-selective schools. Five of the six grammars have Attainment scores within three points of each other, again led by Rochester Grammar, with Holcombe  again limping along behind. Chatham Grammar Girls comes top for the percentage of pupils gaining Level 5 or better in English and Maths.

    Amongst non-selective schools, pupils at Thomas Aveling score above Average Progress grades, with Rainham Girls coming next, both above Holcombe Grammar. The only school scoring Well below Average is unsurprisingly, Medway UTC. Rainham Girls leads Thomas Aveling in Attainment, with Victory Academy at the foot, just behind Medway UTC.

    You will find all the individual outcomes for Medway schools here.

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    Written on Friday, 26 October 2018 06:40 4 comments Read 333 times