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Monday, 09 April 2018 23:01

Kent and Medway Primary Ofsted Sep 2017 - Feb 2018

Kent Primary Schools inspected by OFSTED since September have again produced excellent outcomes overall, way above the national figures. Although there is just one new Outstanding School, Hernhill CofE Primary near Faversham; 85% of all 61 schools assessed were found to be Good, as against 76% nationally. Three academies: Beaver Green CofE and Kennington CofE both in Ashford; and Lansdowne Primary in Sittingbourne all had their first academy Inspection assessed Good, although they had each failed their previous Inspection under KCC. Two schools were found Inadequate.

 hernhill 1 

Meanwhile, Medway schools continue to underperform, with just 60% Good, not including the one Outstanding School, Luton Junior, situated  in one of the most socially deprived parts of the Authority.  Although the current period includes a small sample of 10 schools, the percentage is higher than the same period of 2016-17 which was 50% Good, the higher figure wholly as a result of good performance by Local Authority schools, again with the one school Outstanding. Pleasingly, for the first time for many years, no Medway schools have been found Inadequate so far this year.

  Luton Junior

Further details for both Kent and Medway below.

My similar article for the same period 2016-17 is here, and for the full year 2016-17, here.

Kent & Medway Primary OFSTED Outcomes Sept 2017 - Feb 2018


Inadequate Total Up Down
Kent Local Authority 1 39 2 1 43 6 3
Kent LA % 2 91 5 2  14  7
Kent Academy +FS 0 15 2 1 18


Kent Academy % 0 82 11 6  


Kent Total 1 54 4 2 61 13 5
Kent Total %  2 85 7 3 21 8 
Medway LA 1 4


0 5 2 0
Medway % 0 67 17 17    50 17
Medway Academy 0 2


0 5 0 1
Medway Academy % 10 50 40 0   0  20
Medway Total 1 6 3 0 10 2 1
Medway Total % 10 60 30 0 20  10
National % - Dec 17 4 76 18 3      
National % 2016-17 4 74 18 4      

You will find the latest Kent Ofsted assessment, by Matt Dunckley, Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education here, which also reports on a very healthy pattern of the most recent assessments of all schools. My data collection differs from KCC’s in two respects. Firstly, when a school becomes an academy its Ofsted outcome is struck from the record, and it is not re-inspected until three years in. I consider the history of a school’s performance to be important. Indeed the above data on the Kent improved academies shows the sponsors of the three headline schools, Beaver Green, sponsored by Swale Academies Trust, Kennington by Canterbury Anglican Diocese, and  Lansdowne Primary run by Stour Academy Trust are to be praised for turning these schools round so decisively.

Secondly, KCC ignores the results of Ofsted Short Inspections where a school was previously Good, for reasons of its own. Actually it presents good performance in a bad light, nullifying a number of Good assessments. I have followed the government model instead and included these outcomes as being equally valid alongside full inspections.

Kent Primary Schools
You will find a comprehensive (and up to date at the time of writing) list of Kent Primary School outcomes here

This section looks at schools other than those in the headline.

80% of Kent primary schools inspected have not changed their assessment from the previous occasion when they were also found to be Good.

Dartford Primary Academy, which amalgamated a Junior and an Infant School on academisation, the former in Special Measures the latter Good, has now been found Good as a single school. Rosherville CofE Primary Academy in Gravesend, which was previously in Special Measures before academisation, following a long history of problems and short term headteachers, is now Requires Improvement after being taken on by the Rochester Diocesan Academy Trust.  

Mole Hill Academy in Maidstone up from RI to Good deserves special mention as its history, for as along as I have tracked schools was disaster until it was removed from the appalling Academies Enterprise Trust and re-allocated to Leigh Academies Trust two years back.  

The other five schools that have improved their standard, all from Requires Improvement to Good, are: Holy Trinity, CofE, Dartford; St Botolph’s CofE (Academy), Gravesham (after a very difficult time with a previous headteacher); Southborough Primary, Maidstone (after academisation); Sutton Valence and Wateringbury, both Maidstone.

Two schools have been found Inadequate.

 Edenbridge Primary School has been placed in Special Measures, tumbling from Good four years ago. This appears to be a school that ran out of control, for the problems should have been obvious In the last three years, pupils’ rates of progress by the end of key stage 2 have been in the lowest 10% nationally in reading and mathematics’. Also, with the permanent headteacher away on genuine sickness: ‘’Until the acting headteacher took up post very recently, senior leaders had not responded well to external support and advice. When help has been offered, some leaders have been reluctant to take it, even when some significant weaknesses were pointed out by the local authority’. The previous head has unsurprisingly now left the school, which is now run by an Acting Headteacher appointed from within the school.

‘Governance is ineffective. Governors rely too much on information provided by leaders without checking carefully that what they are told is accurate. Governors have tried to challenge the school and hold leaders to account. They ask the right questions but are hampered in their efforts because they are given inaccurate, overly positive information. Governors have not been tenacious enough in their challenge of senior leaders.  Reports of visits by the local authority alerted leaders and governors to serious weaknesses in the school. Published information about the school’s performance provides clear evidence of significant underperformance over several years. Governors did not take enough notice of this evidence to hold the headteacher and senior leaders stringently to account. Until very recently, governors have not been aware of the extent of the disorderly behaviour and bullying in the school. Leaders had not told them about concerns that parents and carers had expressed about bullying’.

What a tragedy for the children of this school. Even though this is a KCC controlled school, it appears the Council was not prepared to take the strong action required soon enough to tackle the deep rooted problems. It is surely no coincidence that five families withdrew their children to take on Home Education, one of the county's highest figures for primary schools. I presume the Governing Body has been replaced, unless they are to be kept in position until an academy sponsor can be found.  

Pilgrims Way School has had a difficult time for years. It was taken over as an underperforming school by St Stephen’s Junior School Academy Trust which took it into Special Measures. Removed from them and given to The Village Academy Trust, it got up to Requires Improvement last year, but this has not been sustained and it has fallen back to Serious Weaknesses (above SM but still Inadequate): ‘Recent discussions by the directors have focused on growing the trust, rather than checking on the standards and vulnerabilities of Pilgrims’ Way. The trust has the ethos of allowing its schools to have autonomy. However, the checks on the quality of teaching, the accuracy of self evaluation and pupil premium spending in particular have not been rigorous’. However, because the school was not full: ‘School leaders have recently been focused on an unprecedented influx of new pupils’, being rehoused from the London Borough of Redbridge, and requiring two new classes to be created, the sort of issue that can de-stabilise any school. As so often in such cases, the headteacher appears to have left the school.

Medway Primary Schools
You will find a comprehensive (and up to date at the time of writing) list of Medway Primary School outcomes here

There is still no evidence that Medway’s policy to persuade all its schools to become academies has seen any rise in standards.

Luton Junior School, one of the remaining Council schools, has indeed achieved an Outstanding performance: ‘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….The school serves a community with a high proportion of disadvantaged pupils from many different backgrounds and cultures. However, the headteacher and other leaders do not allow this to be a barrier to success. Pupils get along harmoniously because appropriate behaviour and expectations are modelled so clearly by the headteacher and her team…The school is incredibly inclusive’. (I also enjoyed its unusual website).

All Faith’s Children’s Community School, one of the lead schools of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, has slipped to Requires Improvement, the quite remarkable Key Stage 2 results of a few years ago having vanished with the retirement of the previous headteacher.  

Last modified on Friday, 28 September 2018 20:21


  • Comment Link Friday, 13 April 2018 23:34 posted by Georgina H

    So, with Medway Council wanting all schools to become academies, can they be forced to change. PETER: The only schools that can be forced to change are those found Inadequate by OFSTED, or those 'coasting' in terms of performance over three years. There is as yet no clear definition of 'coasting'. However if a Local Authority School which has its budget sliced to pay for services provided by the LA gets poor quality, for example in Medway through School Improvement, what is the incentive to stay?

  • Comment Link Thursday, 12 April 2018 06:22 posted by Rachel Timms

    You have missed out Beaver Green in Ashford which was judged good in September 2017 up from Special Measures in 2014. PETER: No its in the headline! There is also a reference under the table that I have made more explicit following your comment.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 12 April 2018 00:19 posted by Happy ex Edenbridge Parent

    I took my daughter out of Edenbridge Primary because she was bullied unmercifully and the school didn't care. You are spot on with your analysis. PETER: So sorry so hear this, but I hope you have found a better school and your daughter is recovering from what must have been a traumatic experience.

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