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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.

Thursday, 08 November 2012 22:58

What a media day

Written by

Every now and then I have a media storm, but never one like the last two days (a little licence in the title). It began on Wednesday morning when I was invited to comment on Radio Kent about claims by the headteacher of Bromstone Primary School in Thanet that some headteachers were going out of their way to discourage children with a poor reputation and some with Special Education Needs  from applying to their schools. Although I often disagree with him, he is absolutely right in this case. I have talked with parents of children with SEN who have visited schools and been told they can't cope and to go the school up the road "which is good for such children".  A good way of keeping the SEN budget down! At primary level the HT talked of primary schools that identified difficult children through the nursery and set out to put them off. Again, I have come across parents reporting such experiences. Unprofessional schools, but looking out for one's league table  and OFSTED performance, together with a more easily earned reputation for good discipline . Next, ...

Last modified on Friday, 16 November 2012 23:12
Sunday, 21 October 2012 16:21

Amazing Week for the website

Written by

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 ........

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

Medway Test 2013 & last year's debacle

Written by

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......

Last modified on Friday, 19 October 2012 10:13
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 07:52

Medway: new Director & Medway tests

Written by
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......
Last modified on Wednesday, 25 July 2012 20:04
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:17

Kent Connexions Service

Written by

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......

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

Another busy season

Written by

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, .....

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

Headteachers condemn new OFSTED regime

Written by

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.........

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................

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

OFSTED: Kent Primary Standards

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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: .........

Last modified on Sunday, 13 May 2012 22:39
Friday, 13 April 2012 22:17

Marlowe Academy - first Monitoring Inspection

Written by

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 ......

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

Academies: the stuff of nightmares

Written by

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.........

Last modified on Monday, 10 September 2012 16:52
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 09:42

Good Year for the Website

Written by

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........

Last modified on Friday, 06 April 2012 17:54
Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:17

Medway Council - 'Serving You@

Written by

The disgraceful saga of Medway Council's attempts to hush up the scandal of the Medway Tests debacle continues. The tale up to now is told below and in various articles on the News Pages of this website. It is my belief that Medway Council is trying to hush up a number of unpalatable facts about its appalling management of the scandal. As a result,.......

Last modified on Monday, 13 February 2012 00:09

I would be grateful for any advice on what to do about Medway Council on the following issue, from the 200 readers a day currently visiting this site. 

However, by a remarkable coincidence, within 19 hours of my publishing this article, Medway Council responded 43 working days after my   Freedom of Information request, just a month after the legal deadline of 20 days to reply, rejecting my request. See bottom of page for more.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE READS:

I remain very concerned about the Medway Test shambles, which the Council appears to be trying to bury, hoping that everyone will forget about it, although its ludicrous claim that no children were disadvantaged by the problems stands as a  PR disaster, in that it angered so many parents, who would otherwise have just written the matter off to incompetence. I hear that the Local Government Ombudsman is preparing a draft report which, if it is subsequently published, should shed further light on the mystery of why Council officers and members made so many public statements that proved wrong.

My problem is that, in trying to understand further what went wrong, ...........

Last modified on Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:17
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