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Sunday, 30 September 2018 13:14

Kent & Medway Primary School Ofsted Outcomes: 2017-18

You will find the corresponding Secondary article here. Special Schools and PRUs to follow.

A previous article reported on Ofsted Reports up to Easter; this one completes primary school outcomes for the school year 2017-18 with a Review of the whole year.

The headline statement in Kent is that primary school performance continues to rise and outperform the national picture, the improvement being predominantly due to a strong performance from academies against a slight fall for Local Authority schools.

In Medway whilst there is an improvement in grades of schools assessed, this is almost entirely due to stronger schools being inspected with no overall movement amongst individual schools. 

Hernhill 3  Reculver St Mary of Charity

 In Kent, 89% of schools achieved Good or Outstanding outcomes, against a national figure up to March 2018 of  86%. 17 schools improved their grading against 11 that declined. Three were found Outstanding: St Mary of Charity CofE, Faversham and Reculver CofE, both up three places from an Inadequate assessment (and both after academisation with Aquila, the Diocese of Canterbury Academy Trust); and Hernhill CofE up one from Good. The excellent Ofsted outcomes are of course built in part on Key Stage Two performance last summer. 

Meanwhile Medway schools achieved 75% Good or Outstanding from 20 schools, a big rise from last year’s dreadful 62%. However, just two schools improved their rating against two that declined, showing it is more a matter of the schools inspected rather than any improvement in performance. Just one Outstanding school, Luton Juniors, up from Good.

Luton Junior

You will find further details below, along with a look at 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 Ofsted assessment over recent years is also recorded in the Information pages for Kent and Medway primary schools on this site. 

You will find my report on the 2016-17 Ofsted performance  for primary schools here.

(A) Indicates Academy throughout the  section on individual schools, below.

One of the reasons standards are improving according to the Ofsted measure is the steady conversion of schools, especially weaker ones, to become academies. According to the rules this wipes out any past OFSTED outcome. It also leaves them free for Inspection for a further three years unless there are exceptional circumstances, as in the example below. 

There is a significant discrepancy in the outcomes for Kent. Whilst 10 academies improved against three declined, only seven Local Authority schools improved their assessment, whilst eight got worse.  

You will find a comprehensive list of Kent and Medway academies and those planning to convert or be sponsored here, and a list of Multi Academy Trusts here.

Short Inspections
There are currently two main types of Inspection: the Full and the Short versions, although I have not distinguished between them in this analysis. The latter take just one day and are for schools whose previous Ofsted was rated Good and whose performance appears to be still strong. Outstanding schools are normally exempt form Inspection unless standards have fallen. For 2016/17 There were 2896 Short Inspections nationally for primary schools, compared to 2031 Full. 2093 of the Short Inspections confirmed the previous outcome, with the remainder leading to a Full Inspection producing the whole range of possible outcomes. An astonishing 82 were reclassified as Inadequate!

In 2016/17 KCC only considered Full inspections in their statistics, although this was less than half the total of schools. As a result their analysis was misleading and seriously under-reported the strong outcomes, as I pointed out at the time. I shall be interested to see the 2017/18 KCC presentation, due shortly. 

Kent & Medway Primary OFSTED Outcomes 2017 - 2018


Inadequate Total Up Down
Kent Local Authority 2 70 7 0 79 7 8
Kent LA % 3 89 9 0    9 10
Kent Academy +FS 1 31 5 1 38


Kent Academy % 0 82 11 6  


Kent Total 3 101 12 1 117 17 11
Kent Total %  3 86 10 1  100 15 9
Medway LA 1 8


0 10 2 0
Medway % 5 70 20 5    20 0
Medway Academy 0 6


1 10 0 1
Medway Academy % 0 60 30 10   0  10
Medway Total 1 14 4 1 20 2 2
Medway Total % 5 70 20 5   10  10
National % - March 18 6 80 12 2      
National % 2016-17 4 74 18 4      
Individual Kent Schools
Notable performances before Easter are in my previous article.

St Mary of Charity CofE (Aided)

Ofsted Outstanding July 2018 (excerpts): The headteacher provides outstanding and inspirational leadership for the school. All leaders, staff and governors share the vision and ambition to provide the best possible experiences for pupils. Expectations for all are uncompromising and very high. The school has improved dramatically since becoming an academy. All groups of pupils, including disadvantaged pupils, pupils who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities, and the most able pupils are very effectively supported to make strong progress from their starting points. Teaching and learning are outstanding. Pupils thrive at the school. Respect for and understanding of diversity in all its forms is promoted through the school values. Pupils‟ behaviour is exemplary. Pupils are friendly, polite and articulate, and develop as well rounded, interesting individuals. From starting points that are below and often well below those typical for their age when they start in the Reception Year, pupils make exceptionally strong progress throughout the school and achieve extremely well by the end of Year 6. St Mary of Charity was one of just three Kent schools in which KS2 Progress in all three elements was above average in 2016/17.  In 2014 the school was assessed as Inadequate, having Serious Weaknesses. Academisation has clearly worked in this case with Aquila, the Diocese of Canterbury Academy Trust, having turned the school round from its previous dire state.

Reculver CofE Primary

Ofsted Outstanding Jul 2018 - up from Special Measures in 2013 via Requires Improvement in 2014, after being taken over as an Academy by Aquila. ‘The Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust (Aquila) provides very effective support, particularly in staff training.’  I recall parents contacting me back in 2013, queueing up to express concern about poor leadership in the school and the low standards in the school.

Hernhill Church of England Primary

Ofsted Outstanding October 2017 (Excerpt): ‘The headteacher’s ambitious vision of a well-rounded education, underpinned by Christian values, has caught the imagination of the whole community. There is a genuine sense of joy in learning at this school’.

Other Kent Schools
The following four primary schools all improved from Special Measures to Good after being taken over by Multi-Academy trusts:  Beaver Green Primary (A) in Ashford to Swale Academies Trust; Kennington CofE Junior Academy (A), also Ashford, (my old primary school!) to Aquila;  Lansdowne Primary (A) in Sittingbourne taken over by Stour Valley Trust;  Lydd Primary (A) to The Village Academy Trust.

The other Kent schools that have improved their assessment, all by one level were: Holy Trinity CofE, Dartford; King’s Farm, Rosherville CofE Academy (A) (up from Special Measures) and St Botolph’s CofE VA (A), Gravesham; Brunswick House, Mole Hill (A), South Borough (A), Sutton Valence & Wateringbury CofE, Maidstone; Dunton Green, Sevenoaks; Drapers Mills (A), Thanet.

Two Kent primary schools failed Ofsted, with Edenbridge Primary down from Good, and covered in a previous article. It has now been taken over as a Sponsored Academy by the Pioneer Academy Trust, which runs seven other primary academies in Bexley. Secondly there is Pilgrims Way Primary in Canterbury, found to have Serious Weaknesses, whose sorry tale can be found via the link. Pilgrims Way was first taken over by St Stephen's Junior School, Canterbury, has been taken away from the Village Academy Trust as a result and rebrokered with Veritas Multi Academy Trust, one of a number of such decisions

Others to regress, from Good to Requires Improvement, were: Staplehurst, Weald; Nonington, Dover (has struggled with numbers amongst other issues for some years, with an average intake in single figures, but this year fallen to three offers in April for its 12 places. There is now an Interim Executive Headteacher in place); Platts Heath, Maidstone (another school that has struggled to maintain standards in the past); St Katharine’s, Snodland, Malling; Churchill, CofE & Hever CofE VC, both Sevenoaks; Dymchurch CofE, Shepway (Also with Village Academy Trust); Northdown, Margate (run by the poorly performing TKAT Trust).

Two new schools, both initially run by the disastrous Lilac Sky Academy Trust now defunct with enormous financial losses, are still suffering the consequences and both have been found to Require Improvement on their first inspection. The Report on Thistle Hill Academy (A) on the Isle of Sheppey begins: ‘Since first opening, the academy has not benefited from consistency in leadership and teaching. The quality of education provided, including pupils’ progress, has suffered as a result. However, more recently, decisive action by the current trust has brought stable and effective leadership, leading to evident improvement, some of which is rapid’. Martello Primary (full title) (A) has now fallen into the hands of the controversial Turner Schools Trust. The school is in Folkestone, a town compared on a training day to a 'rust-bucket American city', which is surely an insult to all local residents, including the families of pupils! The report considers that ‘The trust provides valuable assistance in supporting leaders’ work. The chief executive’s passion to ensure the highest standards at Martello Primary is palpable’ . I have no problem with her passion but too many of her profusion of ideas appear unrealistic, as demonstrated in my two articles.

Medway Primary Schools
Of the 20 Medway schools inspected this year, 16 of them were awarded the same Ofsted level as in their previous inspection, two others up one level and two down.
Individual Medway Schools
I reported the Outstanding Report on Luton Junior School in my previous article, up from Good, and All Faiths Children’s Academy (A) down one to Requires Improvement in my previous article. The other improved school was Oaklands Primary up one level to Good, with Burnt Oak Primary going the other way.  
Twydall Primary continues to be Inadequate, having Serious Weaknesses, in spite of having been academised under the sponsorship of Rainham Mark Grammar, and following a controversial attempt by Thinking Schools Academy Trust to take it over. Although normally new academies are given a three year leeway before being inspected, poor Key Stage Two results will have bene amongst the reasons this Inspection was brought forward, just 18 months after academisation.  'Historic weak teaching and many fluctuations in teaching arrangements have disrupted pupils’ learning and led to too many pupils making very slow progress over time. The acting headteacher has brought stability to the school. She has introduced many positive changes and improvements are under way.'  It is taking a long time to put right the failures of the school under Medway Council control and pupils are suffering. 
Last modified on Thursday, 23 January 2020 18:53


  • Comment Link Thursday, 04 October 2018 19:49 posted by Cynic

    t looks as if KCC schools are falling by the wayside; presumably the cuts in support services are taking their toll. In such circumstances should all KCC schools be encouraged to become academies as a matter of policy as has happened in Medway. PETER: The only problem with Medway is that those schools changing to academies don't appear to be performing any better than those left behind!

  • Comment Link Thursday, 04 October 2018 12:56 posted by Tim H

    What a great analysis, along with the Secondary Report above. I look forward to reading the official and alternative KCC version, usually published around now and which traditionally ignores the issues you have exposed.

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