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Peter's Blog

You will find the main news and comment articles on the front page of the website here. This page contains secondary or local news items and thoughts.

Sunday, 21 October 2012 16:21

Amazing Week for the website

Written by Peter Read

The current website for Kentadvice.co.uk has now been running since February 2011, and the past week has seen record browsing in a number of categories. The previous month with the largest overall number of visitors was March 2012, when both primary and secondary school allocations were released; there being 16976 visitors to the site. For October 2012, there are already 20706 visitors with a week still to go. The peak date was last Thursday, immediately after the Kent 11 plus results were published, with 2568 visitors in total. 

However, the most remarkable figures have been reached by the individual news items published in the past seven days since eleven plus results were released with over a thousand visitors looking at the full article for three of the six most recent items, in addition to over 800 subscribers who receive these articles automatically. This does not count ........


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Last modified on Friday, 16 November 2012 23:13
Thursday, 28 June 2012 20:08

Medway Test 2013 & last year's debacle

Written by Peter Read

Now that the outcomes of last year's Medway Test debacle have been settled and all appeals heard, accompanied where relevant by an apology from Medway Council, it is timely to look at the consequencesfor the imminent tests for 2013 entry.  

Medway Council, highly embarrassed by its own poor management of the Medway Tests last year, has reorganised the organisation of the tests to be taken in September 2012. Children attending all Medway state primary schools will take the tests in their own schools.  44 of the 62 primary schools will take the Medway Tests on Tuesday 18th & Wednesday 19th September, the remaining 18 on Saturday 22nd September. Each school could choose which arrangement it wished to follow. Two private schools will also use 18th & 19th, St Andrews is going for 22nd, and pupils at Kings School, Rochester will take the tests at an independent centre, along with out of county children. The full list of schools is in the Medway Secondary Admissions brochure, available here, or from Medway Council directly. 

The logistics of this arrangement will be complicated......
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Last modified on Friday, 19 October 2012 10:13
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 07:52

Medway: new Director & Medway tests

Written by Peter Read
Medway has a new Director of Children and Adult Services, to replace  Rose Collinson, who leaves the service at the end of July having seen her last few years dogged by major problems in the education sector. It may be that the amalgamation of various departments to form this enormous range of responsibilities is too much for one person to run, the portfolio including responsibility for schools, adoption and fostering, children’s social care, special education needs, youth services, working with the voluntary sector, and adult social care and physical and learning disabilities. Medway Council has appointed Barbara Peacock to the post. She is currently Corporate Director - People at Sandwell Borough Council in the West Midlands, with specific responsibilities for  Adult Social Services and Children’s Social Services, but with oversight of the Learning and Culture department. This appears a similar role to her new appointment, but her background is in Social Services, so I hope she is able to get to grips with......
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Last modified on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:04
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:17

Kent Connexions Service

Written by Peter Read

It's good to hear Paul Luxmore, Executive Head at Dane Court Grammar School, expressing his concerns about the removal of the Connexions Service which provides careers advice to all students at Kent secondary schools. As a previous Chairman of the Kent Careers Service (for six years during another critical time in its past) and former careers teacher myself, I have seen at first hand......


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Last modified on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:08
Thursday, 14 June 2012 23:06

Another busy season

Written by Peter Read

It is amazing how much education news has surfaced in the past three months. Sadly, my coverage has been far less than I would have wished, for three reasons: (1) we have now taken proud delivery of our sixth grandchild - Charley Read; (2) My business priority has to be to support my clients, .....


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Last modified on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:11
Saturday, 05 May 2012 22:22

Headteachers condemn new OFSTED regime

Written by Peter Read

Whilst I have no claim to be an expert on OFSTED, I read OFSTED Reports regularly, and see the effect they have on schools. This may be the reason why once again you may have heard me on Radio Kent expressing my views ion Monday. Alternatively, it being a Bank Holiday, is it that Radio Kent could not get anyone from the education service to comment? As a previous President of Kent Branch National Association of Head Teachers, I have enormous sympathy with the pressures on schools, but we must put the children first. However, the new confrontational version of OFSTED.........


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Last modified on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 14:01

Judd School Appeals have taken place this week, with Skinners at the end of the month.  This is for entry in September 2012.

But................


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Last modified on Monday, 11 June 2012 13:14
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 10:49

OFSTED: Kent Primary Standards

Written by Peter Read

At last we are seeing a slight improvement in Kent's primary school OFSTED record, as St Nicholas Primary School, New Romney is the latest to respond to its "Notice to Improve" by, to quote the headteacher: ""The whole school community has worked hard as a team to bring about the improvements noted by OFSTED"".  Other schools that have recently seen the same improvement are: .........
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Last modified on Sunday, 13 May 2012 22:39
Friday, 13 April 2012 22:17

Marlowe Academy - first Monitoring Inspection

Written by Peter Read

The history of the Marlowe Academy Inspections is set out here but, in summary, the school failed its OFSTED in October 2010, being served with Notice to Improve. However, it failed to Improve, and sank to the lowest category, being placed in Special Measures in November 2011. By this time it had lost its headteacher and effectively handed over control to Academies Enterprise Group,  which put in an 'Intervention Team' to try and stall the calamity, but without success in the short time available to it. The school was featured in the Sunday Times and the Guardian at the end of last year, as described here.

The academy attempted to get the verdict overturned, without success, but managed to delay publication until 27th March, a wait of four months as distinct from the usual month that schools have to wait. One side effect of this was ......


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Last modified on Saturday, 14 April 2012 19:22
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 07:38

Academies: the stuff of nightmares

Written by Peter Read

I have recently come across a website dedicated to tracking academies, run by the Anti Academies Alliance, and parts of it make grim reading. One has to take into account that its aim is clearly in the title, but even so, some of the information it presents on academies, and particularly on sponsors of academies is very frightening for the future of education. Probably the biggest sponsor of academies is Lord Harris, with the introduction of the article on his chain beginning: "The academy schools movement is increasingly dominated by chains. These self-styled ‘charities’ are in reality ‘edu-businesses’ paying fat cat salaries to their CEOs, developing corporate branding and seeking aggressive expansion in the education ‘market’. This briefing looks at the Harris Federation.........


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Last modified on Monday, 10 September 2012 16:52
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 21:27

Westlands & Hayesbrook

Written by Peter Read

Westlands School in Sittingbourne, and Hayesbrook School in Tonbridge are the first two Kent schools to take advantage of their academy status by offering additional places in the past few weeks, outside the rules on waiting lists and appeals. We can expect more to follow, taking advantage of there being no sanctions against these actions........
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Last modified on Friday, 06 April 2012 12:34
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 09:42

Good Year for the Website

Written by Peter Read

I have just been sent this year's website data from my excellent Website Manager, High Profile of Gravesend. The key figures are contained in the following message:

Hi Peter

Please find below the verified visitor statistics for www.kentadvice.co.uk for the last 12 months:

 Total visitors: 70,830

The 2 peak periods were as below:

The week 16-22 October returned 5,796 visitors when the 11 plus results were published The week 1st March - 8th March returned 5,917 visitors when the secondary transfer decisions were published

 Source: Google Analytics monitored by High Profile www.highpro.co.uk

High Profile Limited, 56 Bath Street, Gravesend, Kent DA11 0DF, Telephone: 01474 533077, Website: www.highpro.co.uk

For more statistices of website useage........


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Last modified on Friday, 06 April 2012 17:54

Medway Council has issued the following statement:

Rose Collinson, Director of Children and Adults Services is leaving the employment of the Council on 31 July 2012. This follows a successful career at Medway where Rose has led and overseen a number of important achievements.  The more notable include: 

- establishing an integrated children's service and an effective children's trust

 - secured significant investment and managed the setting up of three academies, replacing some underperforming schools

 - implementing transformational change in children's and adults services to make a difference to the learning and life chances of residents across Medway.

 Throughout her time at Medway, Rose has been a dedicated and professional senior officer, demonstrating great passion to improve the lives of children, young people and vulnerable adults.  She has been a strong advocate and champion for children, families and adults across Medway. The council would like to express thanks to Rose and wish her well for the future.

Rose has certainly had an eventful few years recently,.......


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Last modified on Friday, 30 March 2012 10:59
Saturday, 17 March 2012 12:54

11 Plus Exams

Written by Peter Read

I am repeatedly asked why any mention of me is banned from the commercial 11 plus exams website, except by indirect reference to "he who must not be named". The ban includes asterisking out any reference to me or this website, or simply censoring entries by deleting them. Sadly, as any such reference is almost certainly providing information or advice gleaned from www.kentadvice.co.uk , the website, ostensibly set up to provide information, is depriving its browsers of this.

The reason is quite simple......


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Last modified on Monday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 16:59

Potential Crisis in Headteacher Numbers

Written by Peter Read
 I was on Radio Kent this morning, talking about a recently published a Report by KCC on a potential crisis in numbers of headteachers coming through the system and in post. It also looks at teacher recruitment and retention. Currently 49 Kent Schools do not have a headteacher, 20 of which have an Acting Headteacher. Many of the others,.....

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Last modified on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 14:22
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