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Thursday, 08 December 2016 00:06

An interesting Media Week

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Although I have been on holiday in France for the past ten days, I have still been involved in two important stories featured in the media this week, with headlines:   

Can grammar schools really sprinkle fairy dust on struggling secondaries? 

The Guardian: Monday 5th December


'Apocalyptic' School Future

Front Page - Kent on Sunday: Sunday 4th December

 The links below the headlines will take you to articles about the effectiveness of grammar schools sponsoring secondary schools through Multi-Academy Trusts; and the financial crisis threatening the future of too many of our schools over the next few years. The further details below include another developing media story about St John's Catholic Comprehensive School, Gravesend...........

 The headline of the article in the Guardian is a slight variation of my quotation in the article: 'The idea that you simply sprinkle some magic dust from grammars to other schools and the latter will automatically improve is crazy.' Quite simply, sometimes arrangements work and sometimes they do not - mainly depending on the quality of leadership, not the type of school leading a Multi-Academy Trust. Examples from both ends of the spectrum exist in Kent and Medway. Omitted from the final article for reasons of space is a delightful description of my perceived approach present in the draft: 'Peter Read, a Kent-based education consultant who writes a forensically detailed blog on the county’s schools.' 

For Kent on Sunday, when I alerted them to an item from the NUT and ATL teachers unions on dire forecasts of the bleak financial future, it may have begun as merely an interesting story to follow up, but their investigation produced plenty of evidence from within Kent to justify the stark warning and turn this into a front page story. The original item was a website, set up by the two Associations which gave a forecast figure for the finances of each individual Kent school over the next four years. Whilst government dismissed the data as 'irresponsible scaremongering based on speculation', the KOS article describes the very real fears of a number of Kent figures, including KCC's Cabinet Member for Education, Roger Gough, who broadly agreed with the Unions' findings. I rarely comment on national issues as these are well covered by commentators but this is a crisis already on us in Kent, as I hear of schools cutting back courses (there have already been major cuts in some grammar school sixth Form offerings), increasing group sizes, refraining from planned developments and in some cases introducing redundancies.

St John's Catholic Comprehensive School
What will become a media story was the launch of the latest item in the St John's series of WW1 memorial volumes, which I attended yesterday. This, the most professional historical school research programme I have ever witnessed, is just part of the most massive level of expertise developed in the school, exemplified by a presentation of their work in the joint Houses of Parliament today and numerous awards recognising their expertise over the past few years. You will find further details here



Read 2365 times Last modified on Friday, 09 December 2016 00:01

1 comment

  • Comment Link Saturday, 10 December 2016 22:57 posted by Jason

    I live in Sussex, and we have our problems here, but No-one independent to stand up and expose them. I suspect the same is true across the country except in Kent and Medway. I came across kentadvice a couple of years ago and have followed you ever since. Kent parents don;t know how lucky you are ot have such a champion. I quite agree with the guardian's view - 'Peter Read, a Kent-based education consultant who writes a forensically detailed blog'.

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