Supporting Families
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Welcome...

I began this website in 2006 both as a service to parents and to promote my business . I consider the educational system is often stacked against parents who have problems with individual schools or the education service and began my consultancy in 2003 to try and alleviate this somewhat in Kent and Medway.

Very soon I established that the need was far greater than I thought and my role (I do have a life outside education) became too full, to the extent that I am now only able to offer telephone consultations, primarily relating to School Admissions and Appeals across the two Local Authorities, but am also able  to advice on other school issues of concern to parents, as explained here. Before I stepped back, I worked with around 1000 families on preparing school appeals, and each year I carry out many telephone consultations all contributing to my wide experience of matters educational in Kent and Medway.

Back to the website. This began life with a few short pages that I was able to edit and update simply, but as time has gone on, the range of issues and the amount of material covered have spiralled almost out of control. Clearly, my main priority has to be to my professional clients and so the updating and adding of new items inevitably takes second place. The site was relaunched in a professional format in January 2011, but content revision is still ongoing. Please let me know where further revision is needed, together with any errors or omissions (especially faulty links!) and I will give that high priority in my work. I continue to maintain the pages outside my other education activities but am aware there remains much to revise. 

I have now completed an initial survey of all Kent secondary schools, the same for Medway and have some information on  Kent and Medway primary schools, collected by District, mainly OFSTED outcomes, and Special Schools. It is my intention to add to these sections as new information (not opinion on quality) arrives and I have time. Please feel free to provide me with this or prompt me to add it.

Sadly, I have also had to withdraw my full professional consultancy from areas such as Special Educational Needs, as the extensive time both to keep up to date in a fast moving field, and that would be taken up in any one case, is out of all proportion to the time I have available.  This does not take away from the fact that I consider this is by far the most important area where parents need help, and on the special needs and links pages of this website I provide links to some areas of support. As with all aspects of the website, I am happy to include such links to non commercial websites that support parents.

Peter J Read

B.Sc., M.Phil., M.A., Dip.Gen.

peter@kentadvice.co.uk

                                                 

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.

  • Academy and Free School News January 2020

    Important Update to EKC section below with a message to all Local Authority Governing Bodies 

    This article first looks at the two new Free Schools opened in Dartford in September: Stone Lodge School (secondary) and River Mill Primary. Six schools have become academies: Dartford Bridge Community Primary School; Horsmonden Primary; Paddock Wood Primary; Rolvenden PrimarySt Katherine’s Primary; and Wainscott Primary. A group of primary schools in East Kent are  proposing to academise together: Briary; Bysing Wood; Holywell; and QueenboroughSunny Bank School  in Sittingbourne has an Academy Order. The re-brokering of the failed Delce Academy; the Private Finance Initiative and academy conversion; a roundup of the names and numbers of Kent and Medway academies, and various other academy matters.

    Read more...
    Written on Wednesday, 15 January 2020 18:40 3 comments
  • The 15 Kent and Medway Priority School Building Programmes currently underway, planned or completed

    In 2015 Government introduced Phase Two of the Priority School Building Programme, to rebuild or refurbish individual blocks of accommodation at 277 schools using capital grant and are scheduled to hand over by the end of 2023. 13 of these are in Kent and a further two are in Medway. This article looks at progress of the project in the local schools to benefit, which were as follows. Kent Primary schools: Barton Junior; Benenden Church of England Primary; Colliers Green Church of England Primary; & Platt Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School. Kent secondary schools: The Abbey School; Dover Grammar Boys; The Folkestone School for Girls; Hartsdown Technology College; High Weald Academy; Mayfield Grammar; Pent Valley Technology College; Simon Langton Girls' Grammar; Swadelands. Medway secondary schools: St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive and The Howard School.

    Key words in the project are: ‘using capital grant’, as the previous programme of Building Schools for the Future relied heavily on commercial loans under the now largely discredited Private Finance Initiative. Whilst many schools benefited hugely from this project, the financial implications are crippling, as can be seen in several previous articles on this site, including here, with a full analysis by ShepwayVox here.  In this second phase more schools qualify under ‘a block replacement based on poor condition.  Only in exceptional circumstances will a whole school be replaced’ . At least three of the projects described below appear to come into the ‘exceptional circumstances’ category. At the foot of this article is a list of all the previous successful BSF Schools in Kent.

    Read more...
    Written on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 15:01 Be the first to comment!
  • Grammar School Expansion, including Tunbridge Wells Boys, Gravesend and Norton Knatchbull.
    Last week, Kent County Council moved a step closer to introducing the proposed Grammar School Annexe of Tunbridge Wells Grammar School for Boys in Sevenoaks. This will parallel the girls annexe on the same site, which has been operating since 2017. Two boys’ grammar schools, Gravesend and Norton Knatchbull, have been awarded funding by KCC to meet major housing expansions in Ashford and Ebbsfleet respectively, and I also look at the next round of the Grammar School Expansion Fund decisions planned for the Autumn of 2019, but delayed presumably because of the General Election.
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    Written on Tuesday, 14 January 2020 06:38 Be the first to comment!
  • Progress on 15 Approved New Free Schools in Kent and Medway
    The latest published government list of Approved Free Schools in Kent and Medway, up to October 2019 and still in the pre-opening stage, lists the 15 schools below. Most of these have been considered in previous articles, brought up to date here. Several have been waiting for many years with as yet no sign of progress.
     
    There is a separate Information Page on Kent and Medway's planned and opened Free Schools here
     
    The new schools are: Alkerden School (secondary, likely to be all through), Ebbsfleet; Aspire Special School, Sittingbourne; Barton Manor School (secondary), Canterbury; Bearsted Primary Academy, Maidstone; Chilmington Green Secondary Academy, Ashford; Ebbsfleet Green Primary School; Leigh Academy RainhamMargate Presumption; Rochester Riverside CofE Primary School; School of Science and Technology Maidstone; Springhead Park Primary School, Gravesham (Ebbsfleet); Snowfields Academy (Special School), Bearsted, Maidstone; St Andrew’s Primary Free School, Paddock Wood; The Beeches (Alternative Provision Primary Centre), Chatham;  The Maritime Academy, Strood.
     
    Fuller details on all these schools below. Delays in the two new secondary schools in Medway will be causing problems in secondary provision in September this year, explored below
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    Written on Wednesday, 08 January 2020 19:26 Be the first to comment!
  • New Secondary School in Thanet vetoed at the Last Moment.

     In his last action just twenty minutes before standing down as Leader of Kent County Council on October 17th, Paul Carter vetoed the proposal to build a new non-selective school in Thanet on the grounds that population numbers had not risen as fast as forecast. Instead he stated that what Thanet needed was better schools rather than additional ones, and that the financial cost to Kent was not necessary.

    Preceding this decision, the Kent Schools Commissioning Plan 2019-2023 stated that: The new secondary Free School has been commissioned on the site of the former Royal School for the Deaf. The Howard Academy Trust has been confirmed as the successful sponsor via the DfE Free School Presumptive process. The School will open in temporary accommodation in 2020 with 120 Year 7 places, and in 2021 on the new site as a 6FE school. The support of existing schools will be required to provide temporary Year 7 places for 2019 until the new school is delivered.

    KCC’s Scrutiny Committee on 19th November considered Mr Carter’s decision as reported here, pp 17 – 28, and I have considered it in detail below. The two key outcomes of the Open part of this meeting were: firstly it appears clear that the decision to veto the original decision was the right one even if the alternative proposed would create other problems and; secondly that KCC officers were seriously wrong in their number planning as demonstrated by KCC’s own Commissioning Plan and my simple charts below, their excuses for not noticing the population trend not standing up to scrutiny and with no one to be held accountable for this debacle. A subsequent closed session may well have looked at the data, but we don't know. 

    Read more...
    Written on Tuesday, 07 January 2020 19:43 9 comments
  • Folkestone Academy joins the Tough Love Failures, and Other Turner School Successes
    This article considers the consequences of a letter sent out to parents by Seamus Murphy, the new Executive Headteacher of Folkestone Academy. It is a revision of my original article. The letter expresses concern about the high rates of lateness and absence, the school having the second highest rate of absence of any secondary school in Kent (22nd in the country) and also of persistent absence (21st in the country). The following paragraph begins: ‘I believe that pupils need to be in school to achieve and rather than use exclusions I will be holding Saturday detentions from 9 to 11 p.m. I will expect parents to accompany their children in full uniform to school if they receive a Saturday detention for significantly failing to follow Academy procedures’. Quite understandably, many parents and local and national media connected the two paragraphs and saw them as cause and effect.
     
    After several media attempts to pin Mr Murphy down, he explained in a Kentonline Podcast that the main reason for awarding a Saturday detention would be because some students were not in lessons often enough, or had missed other detentions, sometimes given for being late in school, so not a lot different! 
    TurnerSchools
     Two massive and astonishing new statistics underline a fresh crisis facing the school. The October 2019 schools census shows that the school has seen both its Year Seven and Sixth Form rolls fall by over a third in two years, explored below  
     
    Just to prove I don’t always find fault with the school I must heap extravagant praise on Turner Free School for the amazing, wonderful and brilliant first two terms this year – see below.
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    Written on Monday, 06 January 2020 23:18 1 comment