Supporting Families
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Thursday, 02 May 2019 19:54

Retirement from Personal Advisory Service

I regret to announce that I am retiring from my personal advisory service for parents, over the past two years mainly conducted by telephone consultation. I am also no longer able to respond to individual enquiries.  I shall continue to operate the highly popular KentAdvice website with its unique mixture of information, advice, news and comment on education matters across Kent and Medway, although it remains primarily self-funded apart from a small income from advertisers (more are always welcome). This has always been driven by information from parents and professionals, to whom I am very grateful, and I hope that this practice will continue.  

The advisory service has operated in several forms since 2005, but throughout I have offered predominantly free advice to many enquirers on an individual basis. Whilst my main area of activity has inevitably been with school admissions and appeals, it has also covered such matters as special education needs, exclusions, and complaints, together with specific failures of schools and Local Authorities to offer an appropriate service or education to parents. The service has been based on my recognised and unparalleled independent experience of education matters in Kent and Medway.

Over the years I have at peak times advised up to 20 families a day, and also received many enquiries from across the country by desperate families seeking help, although I have generally been unable to assist these. In 2018 alone I responded to over a thousand enquiries, offering information and support in the vast majority of cases. 

Apart from the last two years I also ran a professional and complete school appeals advice service, using local knowledge on a unique basis in the country. This proved extremely popular, with up to a hundred clients a year, predominantly in March. I stepped back from that a couple of years ago, and have since continued to run the telephone service for clients who sought more than the limited free advice I was able to offer to all. I have also offered informal advice to many governors, headteachers and teachers who have run into problems with the system and seen positive outcomes in a large number of cases.

It is with great sadness that I have made this decision, knowing that there appears no similar alternative source of individual independent advice in the county, or indeed across the country. I hope that the KentAdvice website will continue to provide information and advice for those with difficulties and plan to extend its scope to help meet the gap. 

In particular I am very grateful for the many informants, both professional and by virtue of their position as parents, who let me know of education issues across the county that often serve as the basis for news stories and investigations and campaigns affecting the education service. Many of these have changed practices for the benefit of children, in a few notable cases on a national basis. Please continue to support education in this way.  

Peter

Last modified on Friday, 10 May 2019 09:31

11 comments

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 08 October 2019 18:51 posted by addie

    hi there I do really need your advise on the process for my girls 11plus appeal.
    she was only 6point short of required level for grammer school.
    she had 484 out of required 490 to get through.school wount support with letter.can I appeal myself by just submitting the review form only.will that be enough. I only have 3days to submit. PETER: Read my article on Secondary School Admissions, Medway Grammar Schools to the right of this comment. However, without HT support, a Review won't be upheld, an Appeal is most unlikely (it is not for me to pre-judge their decision).

  • Comment Link Monday, 13 May 2019 18:57 posted by C - Kent Headteacher

    As a Kent headteacher, I and many others rely on your website for factual information not published by KCC. On occasion you publish the truth when KCC has published an alternative view. One powerful example is the pair of articles on Holmesdale School and the Education People

    On behalf of all, thank you, and long may this service continue for the benefit of both families and professionals.

    As you will appreciate, it would be unwise for me to supply my full name

  • Comment Link Sunday, 12 May 2019 23:28 posted by Karen Stiles

    We certainly consider ourselves very lucky to have been one of the last families you helped. It goes without saying that we are incredibly grateful to you for your assistance. Your advice not only helped us with Emily's appeal, but I will certainly remember the lessons you taught us in future, about focusing on the positives and avoiding negativity. This is a valuable lesson for more than just the appeal I feel.

    We wish you all the very best in retirement Peter. I’m glad your final season has been a successful one! Thank you once again. PETER: Thank you for that.

  • Comment Link Friday, 10 May 2019 12:38 posted by Madelaine

    Dear Peter, I just wanted to wish you well following your announcement about your telephone advice service, which sounds like a very good idea to me! I imagine that was quite disruptive at times. Delighted to hear you will continue with the website which is an extraordinary source of information and insight, and presumably much more ‘containable’ in terms of your time although the scope and depth of the research is impressive!

  • Comment Link Friday, 10 May 2019 11:58 posted by Harry and Emily

    Having had you support two of my three children successfully through the admission and appeal process (one grammar and one non-grammar) I completely agree with the comment below about stress reduction. Neither was easy but we were far more comfortable the second time round knowing your incomparable service easing away stress and uncertainty. We are just saddened that we shall not have the benefit of your advice for our third child coming up next year - or is there a sibling rule? PETER: Sadly, if I made exceptions for all the worthy cases I have turned away in the last ten days, I would not have retired. Sorry.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 08 May 2019 23:40 posted by Sophie and Alex

    Dear Peter, What we appreciated most was your honesty. When we first sought advice you told us we didn't need it as our son would secure his place at Oakwood Park on appeal. However, we went ahead and felt the stress fade away over the six month wait for our appeal as you guided us through the process and told us what would happen next at each stage. I am sure many others have been equally grateful for that understanding approach as to what we were going through. You will not be forgotten in our family. Thank you so much.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 07 May 2019 22:52 posted by Angie P

    Please enjoy your extra time to yourself and thank you for all your amazing hard work and informative blogs.Take care of yourself and enjoy each day. PETER: I will try and do so, but now plan to devote more time to catch up with the website items that have not appeared through lack of that time.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 07 May 2019 22:40 posted by Grateful Parents

    Peter, I have followed your website religiously for years since we had a problem with our daughter's school. you became interested in the case and supported us to a successful conclusion, not expecting any payment. You will be sadly missed, but not by those who railroad families mercilessly.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 07 May 2019 22:32 posted by Jeanette

    Hopefully this means you'll have more time for yourself. Although I retired from school governance a few years' ago, I very much enjoy your emails from a distance and am thankful not to have to deal with the weighty issues currently being thrown at governors. Thanks for your dedication to the cause! PETER: I am always happy to support good governors. Unpaid with high demands placed upon you, and you take the blame if it all goes wrong, Others get the credit. We need to do much more to show our appreciation, otherwise this can easily become the weak link. It is no coincidence and a disgrace that too many Academies do away with governors as they do not want a potentially independent voice 'interfering'.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 07 May 2019 17:41 posted by Kathryn

    I have just read that you will be retiring from your personal advisory service. Your telephone consultation service was invaluable to me in securing a place for my daughter at the grammar school of her choice. I am an avid read of your blogs which gives a fascinating insight into the world of education. Thank you again for your fantastic advice and guidance.

    I would like to wish you a very long and happy retirement.

  • Comment Link Friday, 03 May 2019 10:30 posted by Jenny Paul

    Peter, We are sorry for the many families that will now lose out from missing your sage advice and guidance. However, we will remain eternally grateful for the help you gave our Special needs son, Richard, when the world appeared against him. He has had a good schooling against all the odds. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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