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Thursday, 07 November 2019 05:17

Kent and Medway Primary School Ofsted Outcomes 2018-2019

The central headline of the year's Primary School Ofsted outcomes is that academies are considerably outperforming Local Authority schools,showing much stronger improvement. 
Overall, Kent and Medway schools inspected by Ofsted outperformed last year’s national level of 83% Good or Outstanding, aided by a strong performance from academies.
In Kent 19 of the 94 schools inspected have improved their grading, against just six that have declined; whilst in Medway five of the 22 have improved, and none deteriorated, the best performance for years.
19 of 24 schools that improved their category were academies, most having converted since their previous inspection.
This article focuses on Ofsted reports since March when I  published a half year report, since when there are two new Outstanding schools in addition to those listed in the previous article: Hawkinge Primary in Folkestone and Shatterlocks Infant in Dover (academy) schools.
Hawkinge 2      Shatterlocks
Five schools have improved their performance by two levels from Special Measures to Good after academisation: Barming, Maidstone; Brenzett CofE, Romney Marsh; St Edward’s Catholic, Isle of Sheppey; St Nicholas CofE, New Romney; Westgate, Dartford. Two schools have been placed in Special Measures during the year: Dartford Bridge Community, Dartford and Sunny Bank, Sittingbourne. 
I look below at all the key outcomes across Kent and Medway. 
This article  follows on from one written earlier which reported on Ofsted Reports up to the end of February and takes it through to July, with a Review of the whole year. You will find the corresponding Secondary article here my report on the 2017-18 Ofsted performance  for primary schools here.
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. This section has now been running for nine years, the most popular pages being Dartford Schools with 26,262 hits to date, followed by Thanet with 24,715 and Maidstone with 24,613. It is not obvious why these districts are the most popular as it is not possible to pinpoint individual schools.
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. 
Individual Academies are marked (A) below. 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 (needs updating).
Kent & Medway Primary OFSTED Outcomes
Sep 2018 - Jul 2019
Kent LA
2 1 46 4
Kent LA %
4 2  
Kent Academy
3 41 3 1 48 15 3
Kent Academy
6 84 6 2  


Kent Total 4 83 4 3 94 19 6
Kent Total %  3 86 10 1 100 20 9
Medway LA 0 7


0 8 1 0
Medway LA % 0 88 13 0   13 0
Medway Acad 0 13


0 14 4 0
Medway Acad% 0 93 8 0   29  0
Medway Total 0 20 2 0 22 5 0
Total %
0 91 9 0   23  0
National %
 - Dec 18
3 82 12 3      
National %
2 81 15 3      
Short Inspections
Where a Short Inspection takes place for schools previously graded Good or Outstanding, it is recorded (S) below and in the Individual Schools section. If Inspectors find concerns which might have lowered the Grade it is recorded (SC) and will lead to a full inspection in the next year. For a Good school, where inspectors are specially impressed, it is recorded (SR) and will lead to a full inspection, to see if it should be raised to Outstanding. 
Primary Short Inspections 2018-19
  Kent Medway
Short Inspections 46 13
SI Concerns 2 0
SI Raise 7 0
 As last year, the number of Short Inspections is a round half the total in both Kent and Medway.
Kent Primary Schools
Performances before March are looked at in my previous article, and the most notable since then are in the headline above. The remainder of this article mainly looks at schools with a change in Ofsted category, since March. Districts not listed below have had no changes in this period. Other schools not mentioned elsewhere that have improved their classification by one level are: Sandhurst, Cranbrook; Holy Trinity, Gravesham; and West Kingsdown CofE, Sevenoaks. 
Aquila, Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust
Especially strong are Brenzett CofE and St Nicholas CofE primaries, both on Romney Marsh, and both now academies in Aquila, the Diocese of Canterbury Academies Trust, both up to Good from Inadequate. I have written about their long term problems in previous years, most recently here. They join Reculver CofE and St Mary of Charity CofE, Special Measures to Outstanding and Kennington Junior CofE, Special Measures to Good, all featured in my parallel article last year and all now in Aquila. Archbishop Courtenay, Maidstone also in the Trust, has improved to Requires Improvement, although the Report identifies important issues that need to be worked on.
The Shatterlocks Infant (Dover) Outstanding Report follows a Short Inspection last year which recommended a full inspection because of its excellent performance then. It was previously found Outstanding in 2009, but lost this status in 2014 when it was found Good again!
St John’s CofE Primary has certainly had a colourful history as outlined in three previous articles, most recently here, five years ago, which refers back to a time when Kent headteachers of struggling schools were publicly humiliated by being marched out of their schools during school time. The article gives several examples, the KCC officer responsible for these decisions eventually losing his job. He is now Chief Learning Officer for Connected Learning, an Academy Trust in Essex, although he was previously Executive Headteacher. Uniquely, the headteacher of St John's still has her job because the governors never lost faith in her, my first article on the subject looking back to an apparently different world in Kent, where there were 13 failed primary schools. However, most of these 13 are mentioned in this article as having improved since academy conversion, whilst others such as King’s Farm in Gravesend and St John's, have succeeded to Good under their own steam,  whilst remaining under the KCC umbrella.
Kent County Council recognises the problems at Parkside Primary in Canterbury, which has now had two successive Requires Improvement. They have removed the Governing Body and replaced it with an Interim Executive Body,  and will need to see urgent improvements to head off enforced academisation, although as seen throughout the article, this is more often than not for the benefit of the pupils..

Water Meadows Primary in Hersden, a village near Canterbury, created a minor controversy when the controlling Stour Academy Trust  changed the name of the school from Hersden Primary, it being suggested the village name had a problematic reputation, associated with its mining past. Last year’s Short Inspection recommended it be looked at again because of a strong performance, but this year’s inspection confirmed the Good status.

Temple Hill and Westgate (Special Measures, two inspections ago) are both up one level to Good since academisation under the Cygnus Trust, centred on Manor Community School. Cygnus has also taken on Dartford Bridge, since it crashed to Special Measures from Good earlier this year, and Royal Rise,  Tonbridge (previously St Stephen’s), Special Measures, both under KCC control. Cygnus, a new Trust already looks like one that can make changes. The Trust has also taken on the Ofsted Outstanding Brent Primary, and Darenth Community (previously RI several times) now renamed Greenlands Primary, and most recently Dartford Bridge Community School which failed its Ofsted earlier in the year.
Deal and Sandwich
Has had no Inspections, mainly because seven of the nine primary schools, six Ofsted Good and Kingsdown & Ringwould Outstanding, converted to become academies, joining the other schools which are already primary academies.
Folkestone and Hythe
Both Hawkinge (Local Authority school), Outstanding, and St Nicholas CofE (Academy), New Romney. Good, are looked at above.
It is good to see Tree Tops Academy in Maidstone at last attaining a Good Ofsted. I have followed its misfortunes for many years, observing in 2013 about the same school under its previous name, that: ‘The record of Bell Wood Primary School under Kent County Council control is a dismal one. It had been in trouble for years before my records began in 2009, when it was placed in Special Measures’. In 2014, I published an article entitled: ‘Is this the worst school in the country run by the worst academy chain – Tree Tops Academy?’ The chain was the Academies Enterprise Trust. Quite rightly, after several more cohorts of children were failed by AET, government removed it and two other Maidstone primaries from  the Trust and placed them with the Leigh Academy Trust. As browsers will be aware, I am very critical of Leigh Academies Trust management as they push the rules to and sometimes over the limit, but there is no doubt they are good at turning schools round. Archbishop Courtenay and Barming are both improved as described above. Ditton Primary, a KCC school received a Short Inspection in November that found: 'Based on the evidence gathered during this short inspection, I have identified some priorities for improvement which I advise the school to address'. However, the school and KCC's Education People  (once again) failed to take note and the school now Requires Improvement following a full inspection in November 2019.  
Sunny Bank, Sittingbourne was formed by the amalgamation of Murston Infant (Ofsted Good 2015) and Junior (Requires Improvement)  Schools in September 2016, partly to provide additional school places in East Sittingbourne. The Special Measures Ofsted Report is withering in its criticism of the school leadership: 'Over the past three years, weak and turbulent leadership has prevented the school from improving. Despite recent changes, the school lacks the depth and capacity in leadership required to improve'. One would have expected as a new Local Authority school that KCC would keep a close eye on developments, especially as one of the two component schools was already struggling, but: 'The support from the local authority has not helped to provide enough stability to the school. Despite officers’ efforts over time, substantive leadership has not been secured, which means that improvements are too slow and remain fragile' Yet another failure by KCC's Education People, responsible for School Improvement of Loclal Authority schools, which will now see Sunny Bank taken over by an Academy Chain which hopefully will do a better job.  
Eastchurch Primary, on the far end of the Isle of Sheppey, spread across two sites several miles apart was described in its latest Ofsted Report taking it down from Good to RI, as ‘Leadership is vulnerable. Both leadership and staffing since the previous inspection have been turbulent, with a number of successive headteachers having been in post. Since the appointment of the current headteacher, leadership is stabilising and the headteacher is building a wider team of school leaders across this dual-site primary school. The problems arose because the school was not financially viable, running with two separate headteachers. When it tried to rationalise this, both heads chose to leave. Half the places in Reception were unfilled two years ago, but this has decreased to 25% for 2019, suggesting the new headteacher is stabilising matters
Medway Primary Schools
The only change in Medway school Ofsted assessments since March is with Wayfield Primary School, up two levels to Good since academisation.  Of the 22 schools which were inspected during the year, 20 were found to be Good, 13 being academies, with five schools improving their assessment during the year, four to Good: Byron (A), up to RI from Special Measures after academisation; Hempstead Infants; Lordswood (A); Temple Mill (up two); Wayfield (A). The drive by Medway Council for all schools to become academies out of their control is certainly paying off for local children, as standards are clearly rising.
Last modified on Friday, 29 May 2020 23:05

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