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Saturday, 11 November 2017 19:47

Kent and Medway Primary School OFSTED Outcomes 2016-17

Update: Luton Junior School, Chatham
OFSTED September 2017: Outstanding
"The school serves a community with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils from many different backgrounds and cultures. The school is a haven of care, respect, friendship and learning, situated in the very centre of the diverse community it serves. The inspirational headteacher has led a remarkable improvement in all aspects of the school so that pupils now receive an outstanding education". 

A previous article reported on Ofsted Reports up to Easter, this one completes outcomes for the school year 2016-17.

It shows Kent Primary schools soaring to dizzy Ofsted heights, with 85% of Inspections for the year being Good or Outstanding, well up from last year’s 79% and well above the national average, the latest official figure for which is 77% to March. 22% of the 114 schools inspected improved their grading. Four more schools, Adisham CofE Primary, near Canterbury, Bobbing Village, Sittingbourne, Jubilee Free School, Maidstone, and Newington Community Primary, Ramsgate, were Outstanding to add to the seven in the previous part of the year. As explained below, Newington deserves special mention.

Adisham               Bobbing                                                             

 Jubilee                  Newington

By contrast Medway has fallen from its best performance of last year at 75% of schools found Good or Outstanding, down to 64% out of the 16 inspected in 2016-17, well below the national average. Six of these schools had still improved their assessment compared to two which declined, underlining the low standards set in previous years. Warren Wood deserves special mention, whose children suffered over ten consecutive years of failure under Medway Council, but is at last out of Special Measures.  

You will find further details below, along with a look at some notable outcomes for individual schools. In nearly every case good or bad, the key issue is leadership, rather than whether a school is an academy or Local Authority maintained. Every individual primary school assessment over recent years is recorded in the Information pages for Kent and Medway, I reported on the 2015-16 Ofsted performance  for primary schools here......

One of the reasons standards are improving according to the Ofsted measure is the steady conversion of schools, especially weaker ones, to become academies which, according to the rules, wipes out any past OFSTED outcome. It also leaves them free for Inspection for three years unless there are exceptional circumstances. Quite reasonably parents of children at some of these schools, who are concerned about standards, are very unhappy they will not be assessed in the near future.

Kent & Medway Primary OFSTED Outcomes Sept 2016 - July 2017


Inadequate Total Up Down
Kent Local Authority 7 71 12 1 88 13 5
Kent LA % 7 69  9  1  14  5
Kent Academy +FS 4 15 6 1 26


Kent Academy % 15 58 23  4  


Kent Total 11 86 15 2 114 25 6
Kent Total %  10 75 13  2   22 5 
Medway LA 0 4


1 6 3 1
Medway % 0 67 17 17    50 17
Medway Academy 1 5


0 10 3 1
Medway Academy % 10 50 40 0   30  10
Medway Total 1 9 5 1 16 6 2
Medway Total % 6 56 31 6 38 13  
National % - March 17 3 74 19 5      
National % 2015-16  6 71 18 5      
Kent Primary Schools
You will find KCC’s own figures for the current Ofsted position here, reflecting the very strong performance, with 92% overall of Kent primary schools assessed Good or Outstanding in 2016-17, compared to 88% in 2016, and 82% in 2015. Unfortunately, KCC undermines its own statistics by identifying just 51 schools (primary, secondary and Special) having been inspected with 61% achieving Good or Outstanding levels in the same year. It comes up with this low result by omitting 91 schools including 73 primaries who had a ‘Short Inspection’, all having been previously identified as Good. Including these, there is a total of 142 schools, a very different figure. To me the KCC process appears seriously flawed and pointless, and not one adopted by government in spite of a KCC claim to the contrary. I remain comfortable with my own calculation in line with the government process, which confirms the excellent results achieved.
Text RIC Main
Individual Kent Schools
Notable performances before Easter are in my previous article.
Adisham CofE Primary, near Canterbury
Outstanding Ofsted July 2017: 'The headteacher and trust leadership team have a clear and ambitious vision. It penetrates through every layer of the school so that everyone is working together effectively. This has resulted in outstanding provision.  Parents and governors value the small, ‘family’ atmosphere of the school'. The Inspection was originally a ‘Short Inspection’ converted to a full inspection when the single Inspector (according to the Report) realised the school was Outstanding. Has become part of the Stour Valley Academy Trust since the previous ‘Good’ Inspection in 2014.
Bobbing Village School, near Sittingbourne
Outstanding Ofsted May 2017: ‘The inspirational executive principal, ably assisted by the principal, has created a harmonious, happy community where everyone is valued and respected.  Their excellent leadership has ensured that Bobbing has developed into an outstanding school’. Up from Good in 2014, since the school became an Academy, one of the two in the Timu Academy Trust. The inspection began as a short inspection of a good school led by an Ofsted Inspector. The inspection converted to become a full inspection led by one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors. Two more Ofsted Inspectors joined Her Majesty’s Inspector on the second day of the inspection.
Jubilee School, Maidstone
This new Free School opened just three years ago, was found Outstanding by Ofsted in July. It is run by the local Evangelical Church and ‘The headteacher, senior leaders and governors have a compelling vision for an inclusive, nurturing school with high standards, based on a Christian ethos. Staff share this vision and, as a result, a culture of support and caring for individual pupils to promote their learning permeates the school’. The school opened with the intent of becoming two form entry but has had constant planning battles with the Maidstone Council because of the presumed unsuitability of the site, being in converted office premises on a residential street. It disappointed KCC by opening in an area with sufficient places, against other parts of the town under severe pressure and has only the one age group with two forms of entry, with a total roll of just 118.  The single Ofsted Inspector was unstinting in her praise, including the inspirational headteacher, although the latter has now left the school.
Newington Community Primary School, Ramsgate
This Outstanding Ofsted of March 2017 shows what can be done by outstanding leadership in a Local Authority ‘much larger than average-sized primary school, where the proportion of disadvantaged pupils is much higher than that found in schools nationally, and the proportion of pupils who have special educational needs and/or disabilities is far higher than that found in schools nationally’.  i.e. excellent leadership CAN transcend deprivation and difficulty to ‘create an overwhelmingly positive and ambitious culture where pupils and staff alike are known, respected and cared for. All are challenged and supported to do their very best. The school vision of ‘ambition, achievement, aspiration’ is underpinned by termly aims, such as ‘zest’ and ‘grit’, according to OFSTED. The inspection began as a short inspection of a good school led by an Ofsted Inspector, with one additional team member. The inspection converted to become a full inspection led by one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors with three more Ofsted Inspectors, joining the team, making a total of six, to ensure a rigorous outcome. It is as if they could not believe it!

This school should be hailed as an exemplar of excellent practice across the Local Authority, showing to LA schools and academies alike what can be done in the face of adversity with excellent leadership.

Archbishop Courtenay Primary, Maidstone and Kennington CofE Junior Academy, near Ashford
These were two struggling schools taken over by Aquila Academies Trust, which is run by the Anglican Diocese of Canterbury (why the fashion for classical language in CofE Trusts; this one translating as ‘Eagle’?), and given the three year freedom from inspection allowed to new sponsored academies, which saw two very different outcomes.

Archbishop Courtenay has had a troubled history for years, first placed in Special Measures back in 2012; Kent replaced the failed governing body by an Interim Executive Board, leading to a second Ofsted Inspection in March 2014 finding the school Requires Improvement, the Report making clear that there had been good progress. It was taken over six months later by Aquila, but in June 2017 was placed in Special Measures, again, failing in every aspect inspected, a damning indictment of all concerned. The pattern of high staff turnover at all levels is common to failing schools. Clearly in this case the three year lack of monitoring, and abject failure by the controlling Trust has  condemned a generation of children to a failed education.

I have included Kennington (my old primary school), although it was only inspected last month, as it its children were also failed under KCC control, the school being placed in Serious Weaknesses in May 2013. Three Monitoring Inspection followed showing Reasonable Progress, and in November 2014, it was taken over by Aquila. This time, the November 2017 Inspection found it good in three categories and Outstanding in Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare.

South Avenue Primary, Sittingbourne
Became an academy in January 2014, the amalgamation of South Avenue Infants, Ofsted Good, and South Avenue Juniors, Special Measures. It was sponsored by Fulston Manor School, and led by the head of the successful Infant School who brought the combined school up to Good in the May 2017 Inspection.
Medway Primary Schools
Medway’s policy of strongly encouraging all schools to become academies because the Council had such a long and deep record of failure with many of them, appears to be paying off for some children. Three academies that had a long record of failure under the Council have now escaped from Special Measures, Gordon Children’s Junior Academy (back in February) and Cuxton Junior leaping by two grades, and Warren Wood Primary undoubtedly with the worst record of failure of any Medway primary school (in a strong field) now Requires Improvement.

Both Council School and Academy outcomes remain well below the national average at 67% and 60% of those inspected Good or Outstanding, way below national averages. However, with six of the sixteen schools inspected improving, against just two declining, there is some improvement, but from the very low baseline set by the Local Authority when it was responsible for all schools.

Individual Medway Schools
Notable performances before Easter are in my previous article.
Cuxton Community Junior School
The school, now sponsored by The Primary First Trust, was placed in Special Measures whilst under Council control in 2013 failing on all four counts., but was found Good by Ofsted in June 2017. In the interim, a Monitoring Inspection of the school in December 2013, formed part of an article by me of a series of failures by the Authority, in which I commented: ‘The local authority’s statement of action is not fit for purpose. The school’s improvement plan is not fit for purpose’ is one that rarely appears so baldly in such Reports, given that the after an Ofsted failure, a Local Authority should be focusing all its attentions on improving the school'. The school was academised in September 2014, surely a relief to the dwindling number of families who could not avoid the school. There is no doubt that the removal of Medway Council has improved the school dramatically, with this glowing Report coming close to Outstanding, with just one minor criticism. OFSTED notes about Primary First: ‘The academy trust is highly effective and provides just the right level of support and challenge to school leaders. The trust’s officers rightly recognise the strength in leadership and provide bespoke support and training to develop leaders further’.  A sharp contrast to the efforts of the Council and some of the other Trusts operating in Medway, who appear little better!
Warren Wood Primary Academy
An article I wrote in 2014 entitled: ‘The misery of Warren Wood Community Primary School (yet another Medway Ofsted Failure) chronicles failures of the school and Local Authority (primarily the latter) all the way back to 2004, when it was first placed in Special Measures. Two (lengthy) sentences from that article: ‘The following table shows the miserable performance of Warren Wood Primary School at OFSTED Inspections over the past ten years. It includes FOUR Ofsted failures (three Special Measures, one Requires Improvement), three Inadequate Progress Inspections following Special Measures, just one Satisfactory OFSTED, one Good progress from Special Measures and two Satisfactory Progress Inspections following Special Measures or Requires Improvement. That is a decade of an appalling standard of education offered to pupils of Warren Wood Primary School. However, Medway Council continued to maintain in its most recent responses to my reporting of the disgraceful performance of the Council that: it has nothing to apologise for; it is doing alright (citing the exam performance of the  secondary academies); that its School Improvement Department is excellent, and that any problem is down to the academies (which are mainly secondary schools, so its not!)‘. Shortly afterwards, the school was taken over by the Greenacre Academy Trust and, three years on, in June 2017, OFSTED came close to finding the school Good, highlighting the Good leadership and personal development, behaviour and welfare. This will no doubt come as a great relief to so many parents, including the large numbers who have contacted me over the decade, with cries of ‘how can I get any school other than Warren Wood’. Unfortunately, pressure of school places in Medway has condemned too many of these see their children’s education and futures harmed. Earlier in the year, the Greenacre Trust had taken Chantry Community School in Gravesend, one of the worst performers in Kent under KCC control, up to Good from Special Measures. 
Last modified on Thursday, 23 January 2020 18:39

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