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News and Comments - Kent Independent Education Advice

News and Comments

The latest news posted by Peter J Read; 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 over 800 regular subscribers who receive each news item directly are not included in the number of readers recorded below the item, who have gone beyond the headlines to look at the full article.  If you have a view on any item posted, please leave a comment.

Please feel free to suggest items of news, or areas where comment is needed to: peter@kentadvice.co.uk.

 
News items below appear below as and when I have time in a very busy schedule supporting clients.
Friday, 02 November 2018 20:14

Exclusions Kent and Medway 2017-18

 Kent permanent exclusions have fallen by a remarkable 40% from last year to 49 pupils permanently excluded in 2017-18, in sharp contrast to nationally rising rates. No Kent school has more than five permanent exclusions. In 2011-12 there were an astonishing 210 Kent pupils permanently excluded more than any other Local Authority in the country, whereas now it is one of the very lowest. 

Other Headlines:

For 2016-17, even before this fall, Kent had the lowest rate of permanent exclusions in the South East. Kent fixed term exclusions have risen slightly to 10,698, an astonishing 11% or 1211 pupils of which are from one school, the secondary department of Folkestone Academy. Next comes Oasis Isle of Sheppey Academy with 786 exclusions. In 2016-17, the last year for which I have national comparisons, Kent fell below the national average for fixed term exclusions for the first time. 

For Medway, one sixth of the size of Kent, the 2017-18 provisional number of permanently excluded pupil, is 58 (there may be additional exclusions to record),  down from the previous year’s final figure of 65. Five of Medway’s 18 secondary schools have more than five permanent exclusions, headed up by Brompton Academy with 11. I don’t yet have the Medway data for Fixed Term Exclusions.


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Updates: There is more information relating to Martello Primary, below. I have now published an article setting out  exclusion data across Kent for 2017-18, which serves as the basis for this item. 

Folkestone Academy had more than one in every seven of all fixed term exclusions across Kent’s 101 secondary schools in 2017-18. That is just under one exclusion for every pupil in the school. This shocking and startling figure,  is just the latest in a number of revelations about happenings in the school revealed on this website. It closely follows the news that the school has dropped in GCSE performance this summer to become the fifth lowest performer in both Progress and Attainment. In 2016-17 it was  in the top half of non-selective schools in the county.

Folkestone Academy 2

Meanwhile, the new Martello Primary, taken on by Turner Schools in January 2017, has the second highest Fixed Term exclusion rate out of all of Kent's 463 primary schools with one exclusion for every four pupils. . 

These fly in the face of statements by the school’s Chief Executive in the TES that: Saxton agrees with Lemov that a structured approach to behaviour is a way of reducing exclusions. She says that prior to joining Turner Schools, Folkestone Academy was the highest excluding school in Kent, but it is now reintegrating pupils into mainstream education.’  Whilst the claim itself was false then, it is certainly true now, the 1211 fixed term exclusions being more than double any other school in Kent (with the exception of Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey with 786).

“Teacher capacity and skill is the best antidote there is to exclusion of students,” he (Professor Lemov) says. “The people who don’t work in high need communities often misunderstand that and think that order leads to suspensions and exclusions, but it’s the opposite. “Behaviours that lead to exclusions happen when students perceive there to be no limits and no expectations and no rules.”  So there you have it!

It was 'education guru' Mr Lemov who, in a recent training session for the Turner Trust staff compared Folkestone with an ‘American Rust Belt City’, presumably in an attempt to explain the poor performances away.


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Wednesday, 17 October 2018 17:19

Kent and Medway School Appeal Outcomes: 2018

Note: The 11 plus exams forum has removed any indirect mention of this article or website, presumably as it wishes to deny its followers the information. 

This article looks at Year Seven and primary school admission appeals in Kent and Medway, conducted by Kent County Council, Medway Council and a number of private providers. Apart from a sharp fall in successful Kent grammar school appeals to 30% from 38%, other outcomes in Kent and Medway are very similar to the 2017 figures.

For individual schools, by far the largest individual difference follows the shambles at Holcombe Grammar School, which also saw a fall from 76% to 7% of appeals upheld.

As usual, there is no obvious pattern amongst non-selective schools, although I look at outcomes in each District below.

The four Dartford grammars had just 17 successful appeals between them, out of 407, Dartford Grammar having most appeals heard, at 129, closely followed by Wilmington Boys at 125. The highest success rates at Kent grammar schools in 2017 have come down from last year, although still led by Invicta Grammar at 77% (down from the 89% of 65 appeals in 2017).

Further details below, including primary appeals heard by Local Authority Panels. You will find appeal panel data (along with other information) for each secondary school in Kent and Medway here....


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Friday, 26 October 2018 06:40

Provisional GCSE Results for Medway: 2018

Note: To assist those looking for information on secondary school transfer, I have already published articles on 2018 outcomes for: the Medway Test; Kent GCSE outcomes;  the Kent Test; and 2018  Kent & Medway school appeals

This is the third year of the new GCSE assessments for measuring schools performance, Progress 8 and Attainment 8, which replaced the long established 5 A*-C GCSE league table including English and maths. You will find an explanation of both measures in the parallel Kent GCSE article.

The key measure is Progress 8 (full table here) .Under this measure Medway is slightly above the National Average of -0.02, at +0.02 (With just one school Well Below Average, contrasted with Kent's 16). Attainment 8 (full table here) has Medway just below the National score of 46.4, at 45.8 

Highlights:  Three grammar schools have Well Above Average Progress Grades led by Rochester Grammar, followed by Chatham Girls. Holcombe Grammar is at the foot with an Average Progress Grade coming below two non-selective schools. Five of the six grammars have Attainment scores within three points of each other, again led by Rochester Grammar, with Holcombe  again limping along behind. Chatham Grammar Girls comes top for the percentage of pupils gaining Level 5 or better in English and Maths.

Amongst non-selective schools, pupils at Thomas Aveling score above Average Progress grades, with Rainham Girls coming next, both above Holcombe Grammar. The only school scoring Well below Average is unsurprisingly, Medway UTC. Rainham Girls leads Thomas Aveling in Attainment, with Victory Academy at the foot, just behind Medway UTC.

You will find all the individual outcomes for Medway schools here.


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Friday, 19 October 2018 10:46

Provisional GCSE Results for Kent: 2018

Note: To assist those looking for information on secondary school transfer, articles on Medway GCSE outcomes will appear shortly, with 2018 school appeals out now. You will find items on the Kent Test and Medway Test, previously published. 

This is the third year of the new GCSE assessments for measuring schools performance, Progress 8 and Attainment 8, which replaced the long established 5 A*-C GCSE league table including English and maths. 

The key measure is Progress 8 (full table here) which looks at progress from the end of primary school to the end of Year 11, comparing pupils to others nationally, who begin from the same starting point, and is rightly given priority in measuring performance.  Under this measure, Kent is slightly below the National Average of -0.02, at -0.09.

Wye

Attainment 8 (full table here) simply measures what it says, with Kent just above the National score of 46.4 at 46.8, although there is a variety of other statistics provided to choose from to suit your case, as explained below.. Both key measures have had their methodology changed to suit government priorities and the new GCSE grading system  As a result, numbers are not directly comparable to last year, but appear to be of a very similar nature.   

Headlines: The excellent performance of two of Kent's three Free Schools in their first GCSE cohort is a key highlight of the data. Girls grammar schools continue to dominate the Progress 8 table, with eight out of the top twelve schools all achieving Well Above Average Progress. The list is headed by Weald of Kent Grammar, but with Bennett Diocesan Memorial (selecting on religious grounds), in third place, followed by three boys super selectives. After these come two more non-selective schools, St Simon Stock and Meopham.   

The bad news is that 16 schools have fallen under the government Floor Level, all with Well-Below Average Progress  and so potentially facing government intervention. This is more than double last year's final figure of six schools, with four present in all three years of the new arrangements.  

Five of the top six grammar schools on attainment are unsurprisingly super-selective in West and North West Kent - along with Tunbridge Wells Girls', exactly as in both 2016 and 2017.  The Non-selective table is again led by Bennett Memorial, followed by Trinity School (Free) and Skinners Kent Academy. Five non-selective schools are at the foot of both Progress and Attainment Tables. 

Trinity 

Further information below, including the performance of many individual schools. The 2017 data is listed here, 2018 to come for all schools. 


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Update: Important Advice - In response to multiple enquiries you cannot appeal the Kent Test Results; challenge the Head teacher Assessment or arrange a late HTA.  What you can do is apply for one or more grammar schools and then appeal against decision of the schools to turn you down if your child did not pass the Kent Test. Please note I am still working through 200 enquiries since I published this article, too many of which request information freely available on the site via the information pages on the right hand side.

Please do not post comments about individual situations. This is not a forum.  Feel free to use my contact me form with full information as requested if you live in Kent or Medway and are seeking advice on Kent or Medway schools only. 

24 hours since publication,  over 5000 hits, a record. 

You will find the parallel article for the Medway test here

Kent Test results have been published with the pass mark slightly higher than last year. This is no reflection on the difficulty of the Test as it will have been set as always to select the target percentage of Kent children going through at 21%. This year an automatic pass has been awarded to candidates scoring 107 on each of the three sections - English, mathematics, and reasoning – along with an aggregate score across the three sections of 323. Further details will follow as I receive them.

An additional number of children will have been found to be of grammar school standard through what is called the Headteacher Assessment, targeted to be 5% of the total cohort. You will find full details of the whole Kent Selection process here. Overall, these two processes last year yielded passes for 25.4% of Kent children in the age cohort.  

KCC make individual test scores available to parents who registered online from 5 p.m. today, Thursday, so there will no longer be the anxious wait or chasing up of primary schools for results of previous years.

As last year, I  shall be publishing a second article later when I receive more data from KCC.

The number of out of county children who have passed the Kent test continues to rise inexorably, with a further 11% being found selective over the 2017 test (contrast this to the 46% increase in Medway). However, the number being offered places in Kent grammar schools has stabilised and was even slightly lower at 465 for 2018 admissions (468 in 2017).  


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Monday, 08 October 2018 20:09

Medway Test 2018: Initial Information

 You will find the parallel article for the Kent test here

The pass mark for the Medway Test for 2019 admission is an aggregate score of 492. This is calculated by adding together the score on the Verbal Reasoning Test together with twice the score on each of the mathematics and extended writing tests.

Although this is the lowest figure for some years it is no indication of the difficulty of the test. It is simply related to the proportion of the Year Group which sat the Test. The higher the proportion the lower the pass mark, as a result of what is called Local Standardisation, as explained here. You will find another information article on Review and Appeal here. Data for individual Medway schools including oversubscription levels and appeal outcomes here.

Whilst just 17 more Medway pupils passed the test than in 2017, a total of 773 children, the big news is that the number of out of county children passing the Medway Test has leapt by nearly 50% to 914, which will have considerable consequences for pressure on places. Councillor Andrew Mackness, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services, said: 'Well done to everyone who sat the Medway Test. It is pleasing to see that more children than ever took the Medway Test highlighting the popularity of our excellent grammar schools'.   Presumably he is not aware of the consequences, as explored below. 

You will find the answer to most questions about whether to apply for a Review in the article on Review and Appeal.....


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Medway Council continues to show contempt for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), after being forced to provide information exactly one year and five months after my initial request, and 43 minutes before the end of a final 35 day deadline the Commissioner set for delivery by 25th September 2018.

The information the council eventually yielded followed a request for data on Elective Home Education (EHE) and Exclusions in Medway schools for 2015-16. Given the extraordinarily high rates of both, these should surely indicate concerns the Council would wish to expose, rather than cover up. The time that elapsed included many months of the Council failing to respond to me at all, of inadequate and much delayed Internal Reviews, of false claims about the nature of the information and a meeting with the Council back in June 2018 arranged by the ICO. At the meeting I was promised full co-operation then and in the future, in the first instance to deliver the required information promptly, a promise which the Council then completely ignored.


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