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.

  • Disappearing Heads in North Kent (Part Two)

    A year ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Disappearing Headteachers in North Kent’ about the headteachers of three schools: Copperfield Academy, Fairview Community Primary School and Tunbury Primary School. Each had seen their headteachers removed suddenly. It turned out to be one of the most read news item on the site over the past two years, with a multitude of comments from unhappy parents, that are well worth reading because of the issues they highlight (especially at Tunbury). For different reasons, each school or headteacher has come to my attention again recently. There may be other schools which have suffered the same fate more recently; please feel free to let me know.

    Read more...
    Written on Wednesday, 18 September 2019 06:26 3 comments
  • Another Futile Attack on Weald of Kent Annexe

    Note: I have updated this article again, amending part of it relating to grammar school provision in the Whitstable/Herne Bay area in blue below.

    I was interviewed on BBC SE last week, and KMTV this evening about the latest scheme dreamed up by Comprehensive Future and Joanne Bartley to destabilise the now well-established, Weald of Kent Grammar School Annexe in Sevenoaks, although the main target is probably to damage the chances of the proposed new annexe in Whitstable/Herne Bay intended to meet the needs of this rapidly growing area. 

    Apparently the organisation is ‘looking into the possibility’  of seeking legal advice on its false claim that the Annexe is a separate school, although the two bases, like other split site schools in Kent, share the same headteacher and governors, with staff and leadership operating across the two sites, with the same culture and curriculum, and most importantly 360 children already in the annexe who know they are ‘Weald of Kent’  girls. However, the crunch legal argument that most easily disposes of the false claim is likely to be that separate schools have to have separate admission schemes. The Weald of Kent Grammar Admission process  makes it crystal clear that applications and offers of places are made to the school with no reference to preferred site, the same arrangement as for other split site schools in Kent.  

    Read more...
    Written on Tuesday, 17 September 2019 12:31 2 comments
  • Leigh Academy Trust shows Contempt for the Rules at Paddock Wood and Horsmonden Primaries.

    The letter that follows this article sets out in some detail the shameful process by which Paddock Wood Primary School converted to become an academy within the Leigh Academy Trust (LAT) on 1st September, along with Horsmonden Primary. Paddock Wood applied to become an Academy on 6th December 2018, without the legally required Governing Body consent, although the consultation to consider possible conversion only began in May this year, five months later (surely a pointless exercise!).

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    The chairman of governors sent an email in the cover up to what was in effect a secret process, stating: '"We should have had FGB approval to apply instead of simply a quorate for the academy working part [a sub group of the governing body]. I think this was an error" (!!!!). In fact probably making the whole process unlawful. Subsequently, it is alleged that governors made up a fictional meeting (for which neither they nor their solicitors have been able to provide minutes) at which the resolution was supposed to have occurred, despite one of the governors who  was alleged to be present, stating in writing that it never took place. The Information Commissioner was highly critical of various aspects of the process, whilst admitting its findings were too late to influence proceedings. Both the Department for Education and the Regional Schools Commissioner also had concerns, but again were too late in considering these to  affect proceedings. 

    Read more...
    Written on Monday, 09 September 2019 14:48 4 comments
  • The Secret of Leigh Academies Trust and the Academisation of Paddock Wood and Horsmonden Primary Schools

    Updated 21 August

    Back in December, parents of Paddock Wood and Horsmonden Primaries were told that governors of the two schools were considering options for their future, including academisation, although the DFE website showed that applications to become  academies with the Leigh Academies Trust had already been submitted, and approved on 14th March this year.

    There then followed five months of confusion and misinformation, with a Consultation ending on 3rd May nearly two months after the application had been approved, and culminating in the Chair of Governors and the CEO of the LAT launching factually incorrect attacks on KCC and Roger Gough, the Cabinet Member for Education at KCC. To date the only indication on the LAT website that either school is going to join the Trust is a brief comment by the Chief Executive in the Trust summer Newsletter, welcoming the two schools for September, although they do not even appear in the list of 'Forthcoming Academies'.  The primary schools are both too shy to mention it, possibly knowing the decision is not universally popular. 

    Read more...
    Written on Tuesday, 20 August 2019 23:49 2 comments
  • Academy and Free School News, August 2019

    This article looks at news items since my previous Academy article in June, together with various happenings earlier in the year that I have not covered before. 

    It includes academy conversions at Cage Green, Rolvenden, Brent, Dartford Bridge, All Souls CofE and Wainscott (Medway) Primary Schools. It also considers events at Leigh Academies Trust (with another article on the events at Paddock Wood and Horsmonden primaries to come). It looks at changes at: Barming, Hersden and Lansdowne Primary Schools, together with Phoenix Junior Academy in Medway (shades of the Delce Academy scandal); Bennett Memorial Diocesan School (and its CEO); Cranbrook School; Norton Knatchbull School; Rainham Mark Grammar and St Joseph Williamson’s Schools, both in Medway; finishing up with a brief look at Maidstone & Oakwood Park Grammars and Ebbsfleet Academy. 

    Read more...
    Written on Monday, 19 August 2019 06:23 1 comment
  • Academies in the News: Turner Schools; Delce Academy; Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey

    Updated 21st August following developments at Turner Schools.

    You will find an important update to the Delce story here, with additional material here.

    The National Schools Commissioner, on visits to Folkestone Academy and the Turner Free School is reported to have praised the progress of the two schools without apparently noticing the many failures documented on this site. These amount to nearly 10% of all the academies he has visited since he was appointed last September out of a total of  8,678. In a fresh controversy, the Turner Free School lost a Vice Principal, in employment for just eight weeks from the opening of the school last September, who left the school and teaching, and subsequently made a serious allegation about the school about the reason he left. According to the school he has withdrawn the allegation after this article was originally published, bringing it to light. 

    I wrote about the Ofsted Inspection that placed Delce Academy in Special Measures, in June, describing what appeared to be a self-destruct mechanism on the part of the school and the Castle Trust which ran it. I concluded: ‘This is another Academy Trust that is not fit for purpose and the Regional Schools Commissioner should be considering re-brokering it to a more competent body’. Last week the Trust wrote to parents to tell them the school was being transferred to the Inspire Academy Trust.

    Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey was once again found to Require Improvement in its recent Ofsted inspection, but what specifically caught my eye was the  phrase: ‘however, recent changes to the support available for vulnerable pupils have led to a reduction in fixed-term exclusions’. Hardly consistent with my recent FOI request that found a further increase from the previous year when Oasis had the second highest number and proportion in Kent! The inspection took place shortly after a fundamental structural change for September was announced which will see all Year 7 to 11 pupils taught on a single site, the current two bases being nearly two miles apart. This positive decision is only made possible by a remarkable decline of 550 pupils on roll since Oasis took over in 2013, a loss of over a quarter of the total since then. 

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    Written on Sunday, 04 August 2019 19:42 5 comments