Supporting Families
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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, with other items in my Blog Page. The website contains over 800 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 am in the process of retiring from running the website. Details belowI am currently updating some of the information pages.

I am also following through some themes as explained in my  Review of the life of the website, and picking up a few stories that come my way. 

If you need more general information please email peter@kentadvice.co.uk. 

For the year 2021, up until December 16th, this website had 153,472 certified visits, from 92,583 different users, including over 46,000 from Kent, who carried out 358,055 page views.
This was in addition to the 2017 email and RSS subscribers, nearly all of whom are based in England. These include parents, schools, education officers, politicians and the media who each received the 82 News and Comment articles published during the year. 
Most Popular Page: Kent Grammar School Applications - total views since first publication 392,008 including 17,149 in 2021.  

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. 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.

  • Elective Home Education & Children Missing from Education in Kent & Medway 2020-21

     A record number of 1,485 Kent families withdrew their children from school last year to take up Elective Home Education (EHE), nearly double the figure in 2019-20 which had dipped probably because of a Covid effect. In Medway, the figure of 310 is also a record. These families have chosen instead to 'educate' them at home to variable standards, sometimes because their child's school is unable to cater for their needs properly, leaving some families with nowhere else to turn.  Many families will educate their children to high standards, some will struggle to achieve these, but in other cases EHE will simply cover neglect or worse, with children's life chances being ruined. Local Authorities have no powers to investigate the circumstances of the decision. At the same time also, a record number of Kent children went missing from their schools, sometimes with schools having no idea of their destination, the proportion going missing in Medway being even higher, over twice as large as Kent. Many of these children will be from traveller or Eastern European families, some of the latter returning home after Brexit, others coming back to the schools after a period on the road.      

    These are areas where government education policy is severely lacking, with failures to collect data about children being educated at home, to require children educated at home to be registered, or to make any sort of check on the quality of what is being offered them in terms of education, despite various promises through the years.

    Written on Friday, 14 January 2022 07:07 Be the first to comment! Read more...
  • My Retirement from www.kentadvice.co.uk
    Please Note: This item was first published on 16th December 2021. 
    It is with some sadness that I have decided to retire from KentAdvice after 15 years of running the website and its predecessor. This is partly because I am no longer able to keep up with the increasing amount of material that presents itself, but mainly because I recognise the time is right for me.
    Written on Friday, 14 January 2022 01:59 16 comments Read more...
  • Crisis in Primary Provision in the new Ebbsfleet Development

    An article in Kentonline, headed ‘Ebbsfleet Garden City parents sold dream new homes but cannot get children into nearby schools’, understates the serious problem of primary school provision in the area. Currently, three new primary schools have been built to serve Ebbsfleet, but all are full and oversubscribed for the current Reception Year, and three of the four schools in nearby Swanscombe and Greenhithe are also bursting at the seams. Dartford town offers no respite, with just eight Reception vacancies out of 972 places available. There is a current crisis in the provision of primary places in both areas with few signs of how it is to improve.

    Written on Thursday, 13 January 2022 20:06 1 comment Read more...
  • Kent Test and Headteacher Assessment for Entry in September 2022: Further Analysis

    This article follows on from the previous: ‘Kent Test 2021, Initial Results and Comment’, published in October and continues in the shadow of issues relating to the coronavirus pandemic. It looks in more detail at the performance of state school children in the Kent grammar school selection process, with another looking at those from private schools and schools outside Kent to come later.

    For entry in September 2022, there is a partial shift back to the 2019 pre Covid norms, with the proportion of children taking the test up and boys’ performance improving considerably. My concerns about the gap between East and West in the Kent Test continues, but this has been smoothed out to some extent by a surge in numbers for East Kent children being successful in the Headteacher Assessment. 

    After the initial headline details immediately below, you will find further sections on additional pages, from the following links: Pupil PremiumDistrict Variation; Performance of Pupils in Individual SchoolsLocal Tests; Head Teacher Assessments; October 2021 Census.   

    Written on Wednesday, 12 January 2022 16:34 1 comment Read more...
  • KentAdvice: Review of Seventeen Years of Support for Families

    This article is a follow-up from my previous, below, which reported that I am retiring from running this website, KentAdvice, and probably my involvement in education. It looks across the seventeen years the site has run, at some of the highlights and key issues that have featured.

    Can I begin by thanking the many correspondents, both parents and professionals, who have sent messages of appreciation following my initial article, with two very different messages: firstly from the many families who have written to thank me for the advice and information on the site and/or my consultation service, from which they have benefitted;  and secondly as summarised by a headteacher - ‘Your tenacity in ensuring no stone was left unturned in exposing situations that were harming the educational chances of Kent children needs to be applauded.

    As well as the website and my consultation service, I have also worked extensively behind the scenes with some schools, together with individual governors, headteachers, staff and parents, where there have been problems in their institutions. These have all contributed to my unique insight into schools across Kent and Medway.

    Written on Tuesday, 21 December 2021 08:09 10 comments Read more...
  • The New Park Crescent Academy in Margate: Scrapped
    The Government and KCC have now jointly decided that the proposed Park Crescent Academy in Margate is to be dropped as it is ‘no longer required, as I have been arguing almost alone for nearly two years, through a series of articles analysing the multiple defects in the project, including the failures in forecasting pupil population in Thanet. 

    The reason given for the cancellation is that secondary student numbers in Thanet have dropped well below the levels predicted when the school was originally proposed in 2015. This was obvious in October 2019, when Sir Paul Carter, then Leader of KCC and in his last decision before stepping down from the role, vetoed the proposal on the grounds that ‘population numbers had not risen as fast as forecast’, against the advice of his officers who have championed this project, apparently unquestioningly, throughout.  In February 2020 his decision was reversed again by Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System (who would soon have a new Policy Advisor, Dr Jo Saxton)  on the interesting grounds that, although there was no need for a new school on grounds of numbers, the quality of some current secondary provision in Thanet was of poor quality and it was important to offer choice!

    KCC, under its new education leadership, and Baroness Barran, the new Minister for the School System, have now agreed that the project should be cancelled for the second time, again on the grounds that there is no need for it, according to a press release from KCC on 6th December this year, ! There is no mention of the central reason given by Lord Agnew for reinstating the project, because of problems with current quality of provision, nor that the planning application had proposed a wholly impracticable school on a site that that even KCC acknowledged was constricted or constrained where space is at a premium, as I have demonstrated here

    Following an FOI Request I can confirm that the cost of the land for the new school was £6.8 million and there are no constraints, apart from Planning Permissions, on how the land is to be used. See below. The next question I am chasing is how much the aborted project cost Kent taxpayers. Perhaps relevant Councillors may like to try and find out also!

    Written on Tuesday, 07 December 2021 07:31 6 comments Read more...