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Friday, 13 July 2018 14:46

Turner Schools Revisited

Greatly Updated 21st July. 

American Guru on short visit to Folkestone
Compares it to American Rust-Belt cities!

The Turner Schools relentless PR campaign to promote its Folkestone academies drives on with a lengthy article in the TES (formerly the Times Educational Supplement) about another American pedagogue introducing his views to the teachers of the Trust. He finds surprising and false parallels between the coastal towns of Kent and the American ‘Rust Belt’. These are surely unrecognisable by local residents who should be up in arms about the comparison with US towns in the previously industrial North East, with their rusty, disused, failed factories and falling populations where 'Most people who are economically viable are moving to places like New York City'. Sadly, he also reiterated some of the fallacies put out previously by the Trust as he paces around the auditorium at Folkestone Academy in Kent, impeccably dressed in a cream jacket, chinos and rimless glasses’. He is reported as addressing teachers of the new Turner Free School, although it doesn't appear to have any apart from its Principal and three Vice Principals (see below)!

TurnerSchools 

This is my second article about Turner Schools Academy Trust and you should read the first before this one, as what follows is primarily an update on the situation described there, along with an analysis of the TES article and an exploration of the 'Magic Pupil Pot'. 

In between, I have had an exchange of letters with Dr Jo Saxton, CEO of the Trust,  after I had challenged her claim that I made numerous factual errors in my previous article about Turner. Fortunately, in the end there appeared to be just one minor error, now corrected of course, but she has now failed to respond to several questions I put rising out of the correspondence. Update 21 July: I have now belately received a response to my letter which includes reference to my questions, included in the updates below.  

In addition, I have uncovered other issues below, including a refusal by the Trust to answer an FOI on the number of teachers leaving Folkestone Academy as ‘Publication would be or would be likely to  prejudice commercial interests'.  (I am told the number of leavers is 25 teachers!). I am not sure what the commercial interests are that need to be kept secret.

The remainder of this article is divided into five Sections: The Mystery of the Magic Pupil Pot; Individual Schools (items not covered  elsewhere); the TES Article; Correspondence with Dr Saxton; my Four Questions

                 Note to Turner Schools
If there are any inaccuracies or other errors in this article,
please let me know and I will correct them.
The Mystery of the Magic Pupil Pot
I am puzzled by the Trust arithmetic on admissions to the two Folkestone secondary schools in September which appears to magic over a hundred extra pupils into the system. Neither Turner Trust nor KCC can explain the discrepancy between the number of children according to recent school censuses and the projections of the Turner Trust.  The January 2017/8 census data for local Primary Schools in Year Six gives us:
     Shepway Year 6 Pupils According to Census   
January 2017 January 2018
Folkestone & Hawkinge 661 647
The rest of Shepway 482 507
TOTAL 1143 1154

Folkestone Academy (FA) expanded to a temporary PAN of 300 places for September 2017, as requested by KCC to cater for additional pupils arising from the closure of Pent Valley. This is described pejoratively in a Consultation Document as: ’the inflated 300 places per year that were assumed’. In the event 303 places were offered, so the expansion was neither inflated nor wrongly assumed, although in the end just 267 arrived, some having taken up places at Dover schools rather than attend their local school; hardly the vote of confidence promulgated by Dr Saxton including her quote about one boy returning, in the correspondence below!

The 267 places taken up in 2017 at FA combined with a fall in the total number of Folkestone and Hawkinge pupils ready to transfer to secondary school from 661 in 2017 to  647 in 2018, make it difficult to see where the total of 270 FA offers in March 2018 (according to KCC data) and 120 at Turner Free School (TFS) have come from, if one is to accept the astonishing assertion that NO pupil has been offered places at both schools (Applications to TFS are outside the Kent application scheme as it is a new school, so it is possible to hold both). Needless to say the assertion is contrary to the view of several parents who have contacted me about which is the least worst of the two schools they have been offered should they take up. Presumably the further 110 who were not offered places at TFS and are on the waiting list according to the Trust will include refugees attempting to flee FA, as I can’t see where else they would be coming from. 
 
I have omitted any reference to the local grammar schools in this article as, presumably they will take the same number of children across both years.
 
Apparently Turner Schools is still finalising numbers at FA, and so refers me back to KCC and its Commissioning Plan. All will become clear in September! 
Dr Saxton has informed me I am wrong to suggest my FOI (referred to in the introduction) was declined. According to her they have sought further time as the Act allows them to, for they had answered what was possible during a re-structuring exercise. Actually the request has been entirely possible to answer in full at any time; as the section denied was 'the current number of resignations received for the end of Term 6'. The key word here is 'current', for an FOI submitted on 25th June. However, the FOI official response gives an entirely different reason for the refusal, stating that 'it is necessary to assess the public interest test. We require more time to complete this exercise. We are entitled (under s.10(3) of the Act and the ICO Guidance) to take reasonable time to consider the test. This should normally be no more than an extra 20 working days'. Coincidentally this should be due on the next working day from this update: Monday 23rd July. 
  
Individual Trust Academies
The Trust appears to have recognised some of the many deficiencies on the TS website I have pointed out, and 'All websites will be undergoing a transformation over the summer ready for the 2018/19 academic year.'  
 
Parents are also pulling children out of Folkestone Academy in other year groups, in some cases sending children to Dover schools, including for Year Seven admission, although numbers are unclear. I have spoken with several of these. 

I understand that all but one of the 11 members of the Senior Leadership Team in post when Turner Schools took over have or are departing (the one  remaining is to go on maternity leave!). I have also been fairly reliably informed that at last count, there were 23 staff known to be leaving this month. Not surprisingly, this has enabled the Trust to write to parents informing them that there will be no redundancies, as were planned in the Consultation Document.  I have now (24th July) received the following reply to my request asking for the number of staff who have resigned for this summer, after a month's allowable delay whilst considering the public interest test: 'We have now completed our assessment of the public interest test. Having done so, we believe that for the reasons we have already identified, namely due to the reorganisation of Folkestone Academy which is referred to in our letter of 25th June, that at present the public interest in maintaining the exemptions outweighs the public interest in disclosing the balance of the information. In the circumstances, your request is declined and the information will not at present be released'. I must confess I cannot see any public interest in  withholding the information, given that I have already published an insider view there were 23 such teaching staff. I would have thought the school would want to correct it if wrong, and can see no public interest in withholding it because of a reorganisation that should have been completed by the time this reply was sent out. I am of course challenging this refusal.

I was pleased for the school, but very surprised, to learn that 'for Leadership posts at Folkestone Academy, we received an excellent field of candidates for all positions that were advertised externally - all were passionate about the vision we have as a Trust'. These included the extreme shortage posts of Heads of Mathematics and  English, advertised through their bizarre job advertisements, and with closing dates after the resignation dates from other schools for experienced teachers, all in a climate subsequently described by Dr Saxton in the TES article as: “Nationally, we know there’s a recruitment and retention issue in teaching – it is exacerbated out here. As one of my colleague jokes, half our pool for any recruitment process are literally fish” (as a literal statement, hardly flattering!). Yes, it all sounds fishy!

The Interim Principal of the Secondary Academy is Colin Boxall, appointed through an agency, although elsewhere described as coming from the wider Turner Schools team, was appointed in January until the summer. He is now leaving the school, 'having provided interim support' an unusual description for the role of Principal. In response to my question about which Outstanding Kent Academy he was Principal of, as explicitly  claimed by Dr Saxton in a signed letter to parents, she now claims she cannot speak to his history. He has been aided by Head of School, Wesley Carroll. Mr Jason Feldwick, Principal of St Augustine's Academy, Maidstone, is joining the school on part-time secondment, to 'provide additional leadership capacity'. It looks therefore as if FA has been unable to recruit a new Executive Principal even through it advertises through Saxton Bampfylde, 'one of the world’s leading independent executive search firms', alongside Harrow and other elite private schools.   Is the 'Saxton' part of the firm coincidence or a connection with Dr Saxton?

Meanwhile, the academy is closing its innovative Sixth Form Centre, the Glassworks, opened in 2013 in the centre of town under the previous ownership and catering for the current 279 Sixth Form pupils. This also contains the Academy's administrative address - two miles from the school. Apparently, although the 'The main academy was built to accommodate every year group, including Post 16', and rolls are falling, the academy has been funded for eight new classrooms to be built to accommodate the move. 

An article describing the Trust as 'The group with an ambitious plan to turn Folkestone Academy into the best school in the south of England' describes  'ambitious plans to transform the two worst performing secondary schools in Folkestone into some of the best in the country'.  Actually, as explained in my response to Jo Saxton's letter below, Folkestone Academy was comfortably in the top half of non-selective schools in Kent on performance last year, and with the only two other schools in Folkestone being the grammar schools, the comparison is worthless. It is difficult to discern the plans laid down to achieve this aim. 

The staffing plan for September’s Year Seven of 120 pupils, is for most teaching to be carried out by the three highly experienced Vice-Principals. The remainder will be made up by staff from Folkestone Academy, who have now been given Trust wide contracts, teaching maths, science and other gaps, according to a senior Trust employee.  However, Dr Saxton now informs me that there are 10 teaching posts appointed for the school, including the three Vice-Principals. I wonder how they will all be deployed across the four classes?  I have recently returned to the astonishing Public Consultation document published last Autumn that contains a remarkable set of ambitions, some no doubt very costly, such as those for Music - 'which will include exposure to the classics with everyone learning an instrument, the school providing a range of these so that parents will not need to buy them'. This at a time when other schools throughout the country are having to abandon music as a costly extra. 'Ultimately, every student from Turner Free School will have the chance to follow any dream, achieve any goal, and to be anything they want to be'. This to be achieved in 'a grammar style school for everyone'. 
 
Sadly there is no mention of pupils with Special Needs in the 44 pages of aspiration, apart from one question posed by an enquirer: 'Q: Will students’ additional needs be met? A: Yes. Appointing a special needs teacher will be a priority before opening. As a smaller school we will be able to focus on our students’ needs. To date, to the best of my knowledge, NO adverts for teachers have been placed for TFS. I have serious doubts that as a smaller school TFS will be able to focus on the needs of pupils with SEND, across the proposed demanding academic curriculum for all. It is my belief and understanding that SEN has been and remains a blind spot across all Turner Schools as such pupils do not fit in with the knowledge based curriculum taught in mixed ability classes, central to the Turner philosophy for according to Dr Hirsch, another Turner guru, this should be offered to all children and if they cannot absorb it then they won’t come to harm. The fact that the following quote from a Ghurka family is published confirms yet another promise that was given: 'Nepalese language classes will be an added bonus as we need to retain our heritage and culture'. Dining -Q: You stated that the school will operate a ‘family dining’ arrangement and that there will not be provision for packed lunches. How will you deal with any allergies? A: We will employ excellent cooks and will cater for students’ needs. We cater for the range of dietary requirements in our existing schools. The cooks will certainly need to be excellent to overcome many children's aversion to school meals!
 
It will be good to return to the Consultation Document in a year's time to see how many of the promises are being fulfilled. 
 
The Principal's welcome on the new Turner Schools website begins: 'I am delighted to welcome you to the Turner Free School (TFS) website. As a proud member of the Folkestone community it is a real privilege to be working to ensure an excellent education and future for the children of our wonderful town'. Presumably she wan't present when Doug LEmove compared Folkestone to an American Rust Bucket City!
 
One of the things that angers me about Turner Schools is the little dishonesties that splatter the pages. For example, the current Key Stage 2 Results Page for the school highlight the 2016 outcomes, which are far better than 2017, after six months of Turner Schools' control. The year they were taken is not given, so any reader will assume it was 2017, as required to be published by law. There is an unimportant looking link at the bottom of the page to the 2017 results, which itself fails to meet government regulations requiring the most recent results to be shown. 
KS2 Results Morehall Academy 2016/17 
   2016  2017
Progress in Reading  -1.2  -2.6
Progress in Writing +0.2 -1.5
Progress in Maths -0.4  -4.2
% Expected Standard in R,W, M 36% 50%
% Higher Standard in R,W, M 7% 0%
 Dr Saxton informs me correctly that although Turner Schools took over Morehall Academy in January 2017 (I originally placed the SAT results as after a year of Turner control in error), 'the summer 2017 SAT results are regarded as Lilac Sky's last set, according to the DfE'. Unfortunately, she has still missed the point that the school website currently misrepresents outcomes by featuring 2016 rather than the legally required 2017. Dr Saxton also informs me that intake to Morehall Academy has now risen to 29 pupils for September, up from the nine who applied for places and were allocated these in May. The extra children may well be mainly those whose families have subsequently moved into the area, with no alternative school to go to.  
 
The TES Article
Unfortunately, this article is written from an American perspective, comparing Folkestone with the city of Troy, a rust belt city in New York State, where ‘like UK coastal towns, these cities often experience “net migration out”, Lemov says’, and 'Most people who are economically viable are moving to places like NYC'Actually, there is no evidence of any outward migration in Folkestone (currently planning for a new 38,000 population development at Otterpool) or in other Kent coastal towns, which are seeing considerable expansion. Neither are there disused factories, relics from heavy industry that has pulled out of the area, which give rise to the term 'rust-belt'.  To be fair, Dr Saxton attempts a comparison with 'Many coastal towns were badly hit by cheap air travel decimating demand for British seaside holidays, so poverty is another problem'.  Otherwise, the attempted comparison fails completely, as is evident from anyone who knows the town; what a betrayal by Turner Schools of the image of Folkestone, in whose non-selective schools they now have a monopoly!

I am guessing that the innocent reporter was told that ‘Today he’s delivering a training session to teachers at Turner Free School – a new school which is due to open its doors in Folkestone in September’. As recorded elsewhere, there don’t actually appear to be any classroom teachers for TFS; presumably the teachers were all from FA and the two primary academies!

Academic Standards
The article follows the traditional pattern of rubbishing the predecessor school before an ‘exciting’ new team takes over. Whilst I have offered some criticism of Folkestone Academy in the past, it is important not to get carried away. So: Like many coastal towns, Folkestone has a history of educational underperformance. In 2017 Folkestone Academy’s Progress 8 score was -0.22, compared with a national average of -00.03’ (subtle addition of the extra zero for emphasis!). Perhaps no one has told the Trust or Mr Lemov that Kent is a selective Local Authority with its non-selective schools likely to achieve below national averages. In fact, in 2017, Folkestone Academy came comfortably in the top half of non-selective schools in Kent, a matter of praise not condemnation.

Dr Lemov did provide teachers with some ‘useful’ tips for improving academic standards; the two quoted in the article being: ‘For someone familiar with his work, those techniques are immediately apparent as he delivers his own training. Firstly, there’s his pacing around the room. Rather than staying fixed at the front of the classroom, Lemov encourages teachers to “circulate” among their pupils, ensuring every corner of the classroom remains attentive. Then there’s the "cold-calling" – a technique whereby teachers select students to answer questions, rather than relying on the same people putting their hands up’. Neither could be regarded as revolutionary or even new! Both these approaches were familiar to me, some years ago when I was in the classroom, and I am confident will have been introduced to current teachers as part of their own training as mainstream ideas. One can only wonder what Turner Schools staff thought of it all, or had they never heard of these basic principles of good teaching.

The Challenge for Coastal Towns
Saxton says it’s just one facet of a wider issue around “isolation”. She points out that Kent has the highest exclusions from school for racist abuse – even though “you can see France on a clear day”.’ (an analogy also used in the section on TFS in the previous article about the false claim about language take up). For reference you can’t see France on a clear day from the vast majority of the county’s towns. In 2015/16, the latest year for which exclusion data is published, Kent had no permanent exclusions for racist abuse. Yes, as the largest Local Authority in the country it had the highest number of short term exclusions in this category, as it did overall and in many other categories. However, there is no indication this is anything to do with Folkestone or coastal towns in particular, with most of the Kent population living inland.  So once again a pointless and misleading statement.

Saxton points out that Folkestone has a significant Nepalese community (the Royal Gurkha Rifles used to be based in the town) and the town’s schools also have a number of families who have arrived from the continent because of the proximity to Dover’. So what? With the proportion of pupils whose first language is not English at 9.3%, it is fractionally above the average Kent percentage of 8.7%, and below eleven grammar schools (including Folkestone School for Girls)! So why introduce the Nepalese into the article – are they considered to be a problem?

Behaviour and the Best Antidote to Exclusions
‘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’. Not only Saxton and Lemov, but every school I know of has a structured approach to behaviour, some methods more effective than others. Presumably her claim about FA exclusions is based on my data showing the school had seven permanent exclusions in 2015-16 (it being the largest school in Kent). However, although I have not published the related detailed data previously: in 2016-17 the year before Turner took over there was just one permanent exclusion; in 2014-15 there was between one and three (details for small numbers are normally redacted); and in 2013-14 there was just one again. No way does this support the untrue slur that Folkestone Academy was the highest excluding school in Kent. I am afraid I don’t understand the reference to re-integrating in the face of such low numbers.

A considerable proportion of the article is devoted to exclusion, and it is acknowledged that Lemov’s ideas are controversial. However, the self-evident view that “Teacher capacity and skill is (sic) the best antidote there is to exclusion of students,” is uttered as if it is novel, rather than blindingly obvious. It may well be that in rust belt America ‘Behaviours that lead to exclusions happen when students perceive there to be no limits and no expectations and no rules’. I know of no school in Kent with no limits, no expectations and no rules. With Dr Lemov having to defend himself as he ‘vociferously denies that his methods are linked to exclusions,’ it would certainly have helped if these 'methods' were spelled out or explained,, so that teachers could see if they have any relevance in Folkestone.

There are several links in the article to non sequitur reports. For example: ‘So-called “zero-tolerance” behaviour approaches have been blamed for pupil exclusions – an issue which the Department for Education is investigating’. Not true. The link takes one to an article entitled ‘Hinds orders DfE review into rising numbers of school exclusions’. No mention of zero tolerance behaviour. And again Educational underperformance in these areas (coastal towns) is currently high on the policy agenda’. This time the link leads to:Exclusive: Progress 8 ‘penalises schools in white working class communities’, study shows’, nothing to do with underperformance or coastal towns, but is about problems with the GCSE grading system!' 

Correspondence with Dr Saxton
This correspondence followed an allegation by her on my website that: ‘There are a number of factual inaccuracies in your post about Turner Schools. I would be happy to provide you with accurate information including about the standards we inherited, as I am sure you would want your readers to have the true picture.'

When I challenged this I received a lengthy and courteous response which identified a number of potential errors and inaccuracies. This rightly spelled out in different ways: There is no public interest in disseminating misinformation or inaccuracies. The public interest is best served when factual statements that are made are verified and underpinned by evidence, especially on controversial topics’. Unfortunately, she misunderstands where I obtain my material from, which is primarily official sources in the public domain verified and underpinned by evidence, only then confirmed by personal testimony.

Her other main issues are as follows:

 Turner Schools is a not for profit and none of its leaders have ever been in the service of for profit schools. (I have never claimed otherwise)

 You allege that we are heading into difficulty with all of our schools; yet we have significant successes in each which I would be delighted to talk to you and show you about, including at Morehall and Martello, where twice as many pupils are now able to read at their chronological age. (There are indeed some successes, but this response  does not address the failings)

 You state that we are failing to attract pupils, but we are daily receiving parents seeking places in each of our schools, meaning that there are some years in Morehall with a waiting list. In addition, the Local Authority have informed us that they expect final numbers will be higher than those published earlier in the year after re-allocation. In addition, Morehall has had spaces throughout the past decade. The roll is now stable +/- 10 pupils on average since we inherited it, so it is incorrect to imply that it has spaces due to Turner Schools, it had vacancies under Lilac Sky and under the Local Authority. Martello Primary was built by the Local Authority for basic need provision, has had Years R-5 since Turner Schools has been responsible for it, with 145 on roll at present and its first Year 6 this year. KCC are clear it was built to provide capacity so it incorrect to present this capacity as unpopularity. Folkestone Primary is oversubscribed, and Folkestone Academy receives daily requests from families to move in. Just last week, I met week with a Year 7 boy delighted to have been admitted from Astor now that a space has come up. Turner Free School has had two applicants for every place, and has an active waiting list. (see my response refuting, with evidence, the key assertions).

 In terms of the Martello leadership structure, there have not been three Executive Heads. There has been a fixed term Executive Head initially, a substantive Executive Head and once stabilised, a Principal. The substantive Executive Head remains actively involved with the school as Chair of Governors (agreed, Martello Academy has had just two Executive Heads, plus Dr Saxton as Headteacher).

 Reform at Folkestone Academy is to integrate academic and pastoral life so that the school’s students achieve their full potential. No teachers are being made redundant and there will not be 42 redundancies; this is about reform not finance (see Consultation Document which identifies 42 positions to go, including 24 teachers, because of ‘straitened’ finances. Because of the large number of teacher resignations, it is now probably true there is no need for redundancies. 

 Numbers at Turner Free School, and publication thereof: we have never published anything about number of places taken up on the Turner Free School holding page (the full website is in development now policies have been approved by the DfE and clearance for readiness to open has been given) (a month has gone since this letter was sent, but still no ‘full website’. The current website makes no mention it is to be replaced) . The article about 70 applications was on the Turner Schools website and it was published on 10th November 2017 (this was removed to avoid further confusion) (removed around 23rd May only after my article pointed it out). The school had received 120 written acceptances by March 23, and this was communicated to parents, for whom we operate direct means of communication. The Local Authority have been informed of all TFS admission information throughout and are handling appeals. No family has accepted a place at Turner Free School and at Folkestone Academy (not true from personal contacts with families). 

 I have not read them, but am advised that many of the comments posted on your site made defamatory statements about me and the Trust (why has Dr Saxton not read the comments before making this serious allegation? She has not replied to my request to identify potentially defamatory comments; oddly since I offered to remove any such. In any case, I cannot find any such, especially as to the best of my knowledge as all my statements are supported by evidence).

I responded to this letter on 26th June, in which I provide a refutation to all of Dr Saxton's allegations except the one, about Executive Headship at Martello Academy which I acknowledge what appears a technical error. 

Four Questions (amongst many)

I concluded by asking three questions I believe are important to which I had had no response (but see more recent updates) . These are:

a) You have describe Mr Boxall as having been 'Principal of a number of schools, including an Outstanding Academy in Kent'. Can you please confirm which is the Outstanding Academy?

b) As you will be aware I have updated my article as further objective information has come in. The Section on FA now includes the following about staff vacancies: Four of these are Heads of Department, so will be unlikely to attract external applicants, as 31st May is the final day for submitting resignations for September. Three of these are for the major Departments of English, Maths and Geography. I happened to look at the first two. Oddly, they have a completely different structure, reflecting a school that has no clear strategy. Both have a very general introductory page, sent out for some reason from the Sixth Form Centre, but neither gives any indication of the radical change of approach set out in the reorganisation Consultation. The English Head of Department then turns via a Word download into a five page very generalised essay, although indicating that the successful applicants will be in charge of a single Key Stage, probably KS3. Amongst the specifics: the challenge of 'To establish strong cross-curricular links with other departments including helping to establish key numeracy skills', and 'Evaluating the design and delivery of the curriculum for a Key Stage in Dance'. The Mathematics Head of Department details lead in to a Head of Faculty, although Faculties are to be scrapped according to the reorganisation document. This follows into a single website page, multi-coloured and shouting (their word not mine!) that makes no mention of mathematics from beginning to end, but is merely yet another collection of generalised slogans! Try: 'Courage - To exhibit positivity and determination in your sprint and marathon goals'. There is no clue as to whether Courage is a requirement, a hope, or just a thought. There is no sign of planning or strategy here, just a sense of ad hoc decision making outside any sort of framework.
The appointment of Senior Staff is critical to any school. Would you not agree that these two job adverts show nothing better than sheer incompetence by those responsible for recruitment?

c) TFS now has four staff appointed for its 120 pupils in Year 7, a Principal and three highly qualified and experienced Assistant Principals (and therefore presumably highly paid). FA staff contracts have been changed to enable the Trust to order teachers to work elsewhere in the Trust including TFS. How many other teachers have been appointed to work primarily at TFS, and what will those highly experienced Assistant Principals be doing with their time?

Also in the letter, I posed the question about where the pupils come from to fill the Magic Money Pot. I am happy to be corrected in my data if I have made an error.

However, in addition to these four questions there are so many issues relating to Turner Schools, of a scale I have never come across before. September will no doubt answer some of them, but the chaotic nature of so many of these hardly gives one confidence. 

Last modified on Thursday, 20 September 2018 10:37

4 comments

  • Comment Link Sunday, 29 July 2018 13:01 posted by Proud Folkestone Resident

    The actions and statements about Turner Schools in your two articles are almost beyond belief in highlighting the Trust's arrogance, naivety, fantasy and plain untruth. However, what is actually more astonishing is that no one in the local media or even Shepway Council (well no surprise there I guess) has condemned Turner Trust's sponsorship of a speaker who denigrates Folkestone so completely, so unforgiveably and so falsely. PETER: I couldn't agree more.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 17 July 2018 08:08 posted by Style guru

    Is it just me, or do the pupils on the slide show that comes up on the front page of the Folkestone Academy website look improbably smart, well groomed and scrubbed. I am especially concerned about the health and safety implications for those carrying out a practical chemistry experiment in their posh jackets, FA branded shirts and presumably official trousers. I just hope there is no chemical spillage on this expensive kit! Somehow, they don't look the product of the rustbelt.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 17 July 2018 07:31 posted by Angela cross

    Since Turner schools took over the folkestone academy has gone even more down hill. If a child is one minute late they go in isolation for the whole day ridiculous. PETER: If this is true, the school would appear to be modelling itself on the notorious Oasis Isle of Sheppey Academy, detailed in various articles on this site. I did wonder when I saw a reference to the 'Academy Passport', in the recent 'Frequently Asked Questions' letter to parents which will be used to ' record rewards and acknowledge when students have done well'. At Sheppey it is also frequently used as a Passport to 'Reflection', a particularly odious form of Isolation. Time will tell. Not quite convinced it comes out of a frequently asked question.

  • Comment Link Monday, 16 July 2018 21:14 posted by Nearly Gone

    Wow, what an accurate analysis and demolition of the CPD inflicted upon us.
    I'll just be glad to leave, but sorry for the teachers and kids I am leaving to their fate.

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