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Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 16 November 2021

My recent article on Kent and Medway School Exclusions 2020-21 has been widely read already, the most astonishing of the main headlines being the six-fold increase in fixed term exclusions at the Victory Academy in Medway since 2018-19, the year before the pandemic, with most other schools seeing a reduction. The figure of 403 exclusions is by some way the largest for any school across Kent or Medway in the past two years.

Victory Academy

At the time of writing, I had not recalled that Ofsted had carried out a ‘No Formal Designationinspection of the school in November last year, because ‘Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector wished to determine the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements at the school as concerns had been raised with Ofsted about the behaviour and attitudes of pupils’. The one-day inspection by two inspectors appeared to rely mainly on evidence from the leaders of the school and Thinking Schools Academies Trust (TSAT), reporting an already high exclusion rate in the first two months of the school year without comment. Perhaps even more significantly ‘Around a quarter of pupils who completed our online survey felt that bullying was not dealt with well by the school’. 

Despite these two factors, the Inspectors presented a positive view of the school in their report on an inspection, probably triggered by concerned parents, whose seriousness is emphasised by there being only two other reports of this nature I have found across Kent and Medway schools in the past five years. However, the positive outcome of the inspection appears to have meant that leaders needed to take no other action than just keep excluding at an even higher rate.