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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 sadly, I have now had to  retire completely from my individual consultancy advising families. Before I stepped back, I worked with around 1000 families on preparing appeals for all types of school, and each year carried 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. The site was relaunched in a professional format in January 2011, but content revision is ongoing, especially at the time of writing when I have spare capacity (coronavirus emergency). 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. As with all aspects of the website, I am happy to include links to non commercial websites that support parents, and I am also happy to accept relevant advertisements.

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.

  • The Kent 11 Plus and Coronavirus: Part Two
    Aspects of the current situation with regard to the Kent Test are that:
    • The date for the Kent Test is still currently set for September. To change it would require government approval. KCC is in discussion with government about an aspect of the Kent Test, presumably about a possible postponement.
    • There is no guarantee that any change of date would see the county free of Coronavirus, or schools operating normally.
    • There are no arrangements in place for children who are: unable to take the Kent Test because their schools are not open, or cannot provide facilities; or whose parents or schools judge it is unsafe to participate; or who are ill in large numbers. 
    • The School Admissions Code of Practice requires Admission Authorities to ‘take all reasonable steps to inform parents of the outcome of selection tests before the closing date for secondary applications on 2nd November so as to allow parents time to make an informed choice of school’.
    • The five thousand out of county children who normally take the Kent Test each year still need somewhere to sit it where it can be independently invigilated. In the past this has taken place in obliging Kent schools.   
    As of today (19th May), Kent County County Council has provided no further information about the date of Testing. This is not a criticism as I don't see how they can with the current uncertainties. Registration for the Kent Test remains for a month from 1st June.
    Written on Tuesday, 19 May 2020 18:55 1 comment Read more...
  • Kent & Medway Primary School Ofsted Outcomes to February 2020

     This article looks at Kent and Medway primary school Ofsted outcomes for the current school year. The headline news is the strong improvement in Academy levels in the past few years, both in Kent and Medway, whereas at best Kent County Council Local Authority (KCC) schools are standing still, with 20% of those inspected seeing a drop in level since September.

    Ightham

     

    Just one local school, Ightham Primary in Sevenoaks District, has been classified as Outstanding since September and none found Inadequate. 

    I look at all the changes in primary school Ofsted assessments across Kent and Medway below, along with the performance of The Education People, responsible for performance in Kent Local Authority schools. .

    Written on Thursday, 07 May 2020 18:21 1 comment Read more...
  • Coronavirus and School Appeals in Kent and Medway: Part Five

    Update on Kent Appeals 13th May, here.

    Letter from Kent Primary Head on Consequences of Schools Re-Opening here

    Some issues relating to the Emergency Regulations for School Appeals are now resolving, but the large majority of Local Authorities appear still to be struggling to come to a view. My previous article concluded that these proposals are unworkable in most cases, especially where there are large numbers of appeals or grammar school appeals. This is now the fifth article exploring the situation as it has developed, looking at how it has been interpreted, the previous four all containing considerable detail, along with advice for appellants. I propose to update it as I receive more information, the dates of the latest update being recorded at the top of the article. 

    I continue with my view that the Government emergency regulations appear to be solely for the benefit of bureaucrats and show little interest in the challenges faced by families, panellists, clerks or schools. A parallel set of rules published by the Welsh Office was in complete contrast to this and placed families first, but the relevant section appears to have mysteriously vanished, see below!  

    There are three approaches allowed for hearing remote appeals. These are: video conference, telephone conference, and written submission of cases and evidence. There is no indication that these different types of hearing can be mixed for a single school’s appeals, but no specific ban, and I have already been told of several schools that are planning to go this way.

    In my previous article, written nearly two weeks ago, I described a ‘chink of light’ in an omission by the regulations to be prescriptive about the written submission process. I was delighted to learn yesterday that KCC has just sent out appeal invitations to grammar school appellants using this to the full. I don't know yet if it will be applied to non-selective schools, but anticipate this. Some Kent appeals for other types of school are being heard by audio-conferencing, with clerks establishing whether appellants can manage this. If not there is a fall back to a written submission hearing. 

    Further details on all these matters below, including some Local Authorities which have now made decisions (please feel free to add to these).

    Written on Tuesday, 05 May 2020 20:02 3 comments Read more...
  • Oversubscription and Vacancies Medway Primary Schools: 2020

    Overall, there has been little change in Medway primary school admission data since my 2019 article, with an extra 94 children offered local schools bringing the total to 3447, and 45 additional places created.  The proportion of Medway children offered one of their choices in a Medway primary school has remained at 97.4%, coincidentally the same percentage as two out of the last three years. Overall, 12% of places are unfilled, down from 13% in 2019.  

    Cliffe Woods Primary has shot up in popularity to become the most oversubscribed school, turning away 50 first choices, edging out last year's leader Barnsole Primary with 49 disappointed first choices. They are followed at some distance by the Academy of Woodlands and All Saints CofE. Barnsole, along with Swingate are the only two of the ten most oversubscribed schools to feature in each of the past three years.  There are eight schools with 15 or more first choices turned away (down from 10 last year), spread across the Authority, and listed in the table below. The most remarkable difference is for St Margaret's Infant School in Rainham, which has turned away 24 first choices for this September, but did not quite fill in 2019.

     Cliffe Woods       Barnsole  St Margarets Infant

     

     I have explored the changes at Greenvale Infant School and Phoenix Junior Academy below , as they have both become all through primary schools, giving an increase between them of 15 places for September. In Chatham, Walderslade and Wayfield primaries have seen their intake double from 30 to 60 places, Two other schools have minor changes in their intakes.  

    I look more closely at each Medway area separately, below, links as follows: Chatham; Gillingham; Hoo Peninsula; Rainham; Rochester; Strood, together with the situation for Junior Schools, here 

    If there are sections or individual school details that need amplification, please let me know…….

    Written on Tuesday, 28 April 2020 20:12 3 comments Read more...
  • Coronavirus: Kent Test, Grammar School Admission and Appeals 2020

    This article looks at three communications from Kent County Council to headteachers, addressing issues about  grammar school admissions and appeals at this time of Coronavirus.

    The first is a letter sent to schools regarding the timing of the 2020 Kent Test for grammar school suitability in 2021, currently planned for September. 

    I also look at two separate items relating to grammar school places for this September for some children. The first of these is about problems at appeal regarding unsuccessful Headteacher Assessments caused through the crisis; the second looks at late applications and testing.

    Written on Tuesday, 21 April 2020 23:18 3 comments Read more...
  • New Thanet Skies Academy approved by Government overturning KCC Veto

    Rather belatedly, this article looks at the government decision to overturn Paul Carter’s veto on a new secondary school in Thanet, originally explored here. This decision was received by KCC in a letter on February 13th.

    As a result, the new school, provisionally called Thanet Skies Academy, will built on the somewhat restricted site of the old Royal School for the Deaf in East Margate. It is planned to open in September 2022 as a six form entry 11-16 Free School, sponsored by the Howard Trust based in Medway.

    Written on Thursday, 16 April 2020 19:29 3 comments Read more...