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Thursday, 14 November 2019 05:26

Kent and Medway School Exclusions 2018-19

 'Teacher capacity and skill is (sic) the best antidote there is to exclusion of students'.
Folkestone Academy
 The same five secondary schools feature in the top seven fixed term excluders in every one of the last three years. Folkestone Academy, Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey and Hartsdown Academy are high profile schools in trouble and entirely predictable. Between them they account for nearly a quarter of all secondary exclusions in Kent this year. Astor College, Dover, has also struggled, the fifth being John Wallis CofE Academy, Ashford. For primary schools there are just two schools to feature over this period, Richmond Academy and Martello Primary. You will find full lists and more details of the top excluding schools below.
 
There were just 43 permanent exclusions in Kent in 2018-19, spread across 31 schools, down again from last year’s record low. In Medway there were 36.  The only school expelling five or more students last year was Robert Napier in Gillingham, which features annually in this very short list, with ten pupils thrown out in 2018-19 (also fifth in Kent and Medway for fixed term exclusions).
 
Kent has had a very low rate of permanent exclusions since 2012-13, fifth lowest in England last year, with Medway consistently above the national average over the same period. Kent has also been below the national average for fixed term exclusions 2016-18, with Medway well above since at least 2009-10; see below. For Kent secondary schools, fixed term exclusions are up by 6% since the year before, whereas for primary schools it has fallen by 5%. 
 
The quotation at the  head of this article, as reported in the TES, was given at a training day at the start of last year for staff at the controversial and underperforming Turner Schools. It should haunt Trust leaders for it followed the year that Folkestone Academy clocked up a record 1211 fixed term exclusions!
 
You will find my 2017-18 article here, which looks at some of the key issues in more detail than below. 
 
Secondary School Exclusions 2018-19
Although the total number of permanent exclusions in Kent has fallen this year, the number from secondary schools has risen from 25 to 29. No Kent school excluded five or more children, so I have no further details, except by District. There were no permanent exclusions at all in Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone & Hythe or Swale. Largest number were from Gravesham, where there were seven. In Medway there were 17 altogether, the small number meaning that after Robert Napier's ten are taken out, I cannot distinguish further between primary and secondary as totals less than five are not given. 
 
The total number of secondary school fixed term exclusions in Kent has increased by 6% to 8,816 since 2017-18, a ninth of the total from one school, Oasis Isle of Sheppey Academy, and nearly a quarter from the top three schools together. There is a larger increase in the number of schools in the table below whose exclusions are more than 20% of their roll, from the number in 2017-18,  The number of exclusions will include some pupils who have been excluded more than once. In Medway there were 1941 secondary fixed term exclusions, although I don't have the previous year's data. 
 
 Secondary Fixed Term Exclusions
Kent and Medway 2018-19*
 School Exclusions
Statutory**
Roll Jan 19
%***
Oasis Sheppey 1025  1312 78
Hartsdown Academy 459  631 73
Folkestone Academy 538 1246  43
John Wallis CofE 398 966 41
Robert Napier 319 879 36
Astor College 243 715 34
St Augustine Academy 237 706 34
High Weald Academy 79 248 32
*Data is from a KCC Freedom of Information Request
**The Statutory Roll is the number of pupils Years 7-11 in the school according to the School Census January 2019. 
*** The percentage is that of exclusions over Statutory Roll. Many of the exclusions will be multiple for the same pupil.
 
Every one of the schools in this table is an academy. No other school has a figure of over 24%, suggesting these stand out. by disciplinary policy. 
‘Our vision is to deliver Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community’
Both of the local Oasis Schools, Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey (OAIOS), and Oasis Academy Skinner Street (primary) are failing miserably in this vision. OASIS has more than twice as many fixed term exclusions as any other school in Kent or Medway (according to KCC data), at 1025,. Skinner Street had 59 fixed term exclusions, the second highest figure in Medway. The third local Oasis school, Oasis Hextable Academy  closed four years ago, primarily due to poor leadership and standards leading to falling rolls!
 
Oasis Sheppey regularly features in these pages, most recently here, due to its failures across a range of measures, apparently unnoticed by Ofsted in July. Rapidly falling rolls with high numbers choosing Home Education to escape, a tough punishment regime which I have featured a number of times, including soaring exclusion rates, and poor GCSE performance, a high turnover of headteachers as the Trust attempts to resolve the massive issues in the school. Over a third of the full time teaching staff are unqualified and I have been told several times of secretaries and other non-teachers being wheeled in to cover lessons at short notice. This is a school in crisis and no one appears to care. A recent Freedom of Information request to the school informed me that there were 796 fixed term exclusions for 2018-19 up to 21st June, showing that to get to the authorised total of 1025, there were either another 229 exclusions  in the last four weeks of term, or someone has miscounted. When I challenged this the school acknowledged that the KCC figures are correct and: 'we take the process of a student leaving the academy or being temporarily excluded, extremely seriously.  As an FOI is a snapshot in time, it is likely there were incidents in process at the time of reporting'. Clearly not seriously enough. This takes place against a background of a large number of 'Internal Exclusions', where pupils are sent to the large East site which now only houses Sixth Forms due to the sharp fall in numbers at the school, to undergo days of 'Reflection, as covered in previous articles.  I have also received reports of pupils who are sent home from school for disciplinary matters, without being formally excluded, which would be illegal if proven. 
One may be able to deduce that high exclusion rates are an Oasis principle, as the other school run by the Trust, Oasis Academy Skinner Street (primary) in Gillingham, has the fifth highest exclusion rate out of all the 535 primary schools in Kent and Medway. Two years after the school was academised it failed its Ofsted in 2015, but remarkably was found Good just a year later.  It may be anecdotal, but I was approached earlier this year by an ex-member of staff, extremely worried about the poor standard of behaviour and of discipline in the school, suggesting exclusion was over-used. She appears to have been correct! A new headteacher had been appointed in January. 
 
We believe in brilliant schools where children thrive and knowledge matters
Bearing in mind the quotation at the head of this page, it is surely an absolute disgrace that Turner Schools is vying with Oasis for the second year running, for worst school in the county by this measure. The Trust, which never apologises for failing its pupils over many  different measures appears to have ignored the principle,  made following the year it set the county record of 1211 fixed term exclusions as explained here. Instead, a Trust spokesman claimed these appalling exclusion figures:"were a result of “high expectations for behaviour”. This explanation is of course in direct contradiction to the earlier view and there is no evidence in the public domain to support it as a strategy, which CEO Dr Jo Saxton surely knows. However, Folkestone Academy is not the only Turner School setting records for exclusions. Martello Primary (to give it its full trendy title) has been struggling for its whole existence including, like  Folkestone Academy, a high turnover of staff and headteachers. Along with Richmond Academy in Swale, it shares the unenviable record of being in the top three excluding primary schools in Kent out of 436 in total, by proportion of pupils in each of the past three years. The two schools are also linked by previously being run by the notorious and now closed Lilac Sky Academy Trust, until Christmas 2016! Not surprisingly,  the number of primary vacancies on allocation at Martello shot up for 2019 entry to 63% as word has got round, ninth highest in Kent, but still behind Morehall Primary, also a Turner School, leading the way with 75% vacancies.  Meanwhile at Turner's fourth school, the new Turner Free School which only had a Year Seven for 2018-19, there were 19 fixed term exclusions, the sixth highest proportion for the year group in the county, so clearly carrying on the failed tough love approach of the other two schools. 
 
Fixed Term Exclusions at Other Secondary Schools in Kent and Medway
Hartsdown Academy, Thanet
The second of Kent's three Tough Love Academies  also applies a robust approach to discipline, and has also featured strongly in these pages. You will find a closer analysis of its problems and situation - probably the most challenging in the County - here, which looks at the story behind the fourth lowest GCSEs in the country. Still boasts on the front page of its website about a fantasy vision including: 'A ‘no excuses’ culture where excellence is the norm. Excellent Uniform, a commitment to perfect uniform'. Clearly this Tough Love is not the solution, although a recent Kentonline article paints a very different picture of the school's attitude to its very genuine problems. 
 
John Wallis CofE Academy, Ashford
This for me is the real surprise, although perhaps it shouldn't have been  as it has been one of the four schools at the top of the list of high excluders for each of the last three years. Like most of the other schools on the list it has a high level of social deprivation, but is second highest GCSE performer of all Kent non-selectives, as measured by Progress 8 (the highest is Northfleet School for Girls). It regularly has this level of achievement, Would anyone like to offer an explanation of this unique set of factors? One interesting fact is the high flow of staff being promoted from John Wallis to Turner Schools. Perhaps they have taken this philosophy with them. 
 
Robert Napier School, Gillingham, Medway.
Robert Napier has the unique outcome in Kent and Medway of being the only school to permanently exclude five or more pupils in each of the past five years, with 10 being thrown out in 2018-19. Couple this with the fifth highest exclusion rate in Kent and Medway and one has to wonder about the finding in the Good Ofsted Report in January that: 'Levels of exclusion, including permanent exclusion, have decreased substantially over time. This is due to the overall improvement in pupils’ behaviour'. This is quite simply not true. The table below shows that  in just two out of the past five years, have the number of permanent exclusions been higher than 2018-19. Further, whilst the number of other schools has reduced to zero over this time, Robert Napier continues unabated. Whilst I have not previously collected Fixed Term exclusion data for Medway, I hardly think that recording the fifth highest figure in the county suggests a decrease, substantial or otherwise. 
 
Robert Napier School
Permanent Exclusions
Year Exclusions
Other schools
with more
than four exclusions
2014-15 10 3
2015-16 22 2
2016-17 12 4
2017-18 7
2018-19 10 0

 Astor College has been one of the lowest performing schools at GCSE in Kent for years, along with the other three first named schools in the list. Three years ago it was served with a warning by the DfE about low standards, and has not really improved sinceNew Line Learning Academy struggles for numbers against the other Maidstone schools and 2018-19 is the first time for some years that it has not been in the top four schools in this table. Medway UTC was, to use the phrase in vogue, a car crash from its opening in 2015, and will be no loss as it has now re-opened as Waterfront UTC, run by The Howard Academy Trust, although with Howard School in Gillingham also well featured in the table we may not see see too much change in this measure.

St Augustine Academy, Maidstone, is perhaps another surprise in this company, having gained rapidly in popularity in recent years. However, GCSE performance has tailed off badly over the past two years and it may be this is an attempt to rectify it.

Grammar School Exclusions
Not surprisingly, grammar school exclusions are at a lower level than that of non-selective schools, but a few high excluders should still produce levels of concern amongst parents and governors. 
 
Grammar School Fixed Term
Exclusions Kent and Medway 2018-19
School Exclusions Statutory Roll %
Dane Court 76 884 9
Holcombe 44 645 7
Barton Court 45 736 6
 
The previous year's two highest excluding grammar schools have both seen numbers fall away sharply, possibly due to changes in leadership and a different philosophy. 
 
 Primary School Exclusions 2018-19
There were 14 primary school permanent exclusions  in 2018-19 in Kent, down from 24 in the previous year. Five of these were from Year Two, the youngest age excluded.
 
In Kent there were 1,902 fixed term exclusions, down by 10% from 2017-18. 79 of these were from Year R, in their first year in school. In Year One where there were 183, largest number was at Cliftonville in Thanet, were there were 17, nearly a tenth of the total. 12% of all primary exclusions came from the five Kent schools in the table below. All but Downsview Primary (Swanley) are academies and all but DownsviewMartello Primary and Whitehill have failed an Ofsted Inspection.
 
In Medway there were 445 fixed term exclusions. 
 
With 525 primary schools across Kent and Medway total, it is possible I have missed one or two smaller schools with high rates of exclusion.
 
Primary Fixed Term Exclusions
Kent and Medway 2018-19
School Exclusions
Statutory
Roll Jan 19
%
Vacancies for
September 2019 
Saxon Way 69 330 21 25%
Richmond  71 350 20 65%
Downsview 35 195 18 30%
Martello 22 156 14 63%
Oasis Skinner Street 56 406 14 13%
Delce 69 566 12 67%
Whitehill 68 647 11 11%
Edenbridge 32 316 10 43%

The high number of vacancies at the large majority of these schools on allocation for September 2019, clearly reflect parental views of these schools, with anything over 50% hardly financially viable. Again, there is no evidence that a tough exclusion policy will raise standards.

It may be a coincidence that Richmond Academy,  Sheerness, and Martello Primary, Folkestone, were both run by the disgraced and defunct Lilac Sky Academy Trust, but have now been under their current Trusts since January 2017 and should by now have developed their own ethos.  However, they have both been amongst the top excluders for three consecutive years. I have looked at Martello in more detail in the Turner Schools section above. Richmond Academy is now with the Stour Academy Trust which has had considerable success with some of the struggling schools it has taken over.  

Saxon Way Primary, Gillingham, Special Measures a long time ago in 2012, was taken over by the Griffin Trust in 2013 who took it through to a Good Ofsted in 2016. Key Stage 2 results look sound. I cannot see why this should now need such a high exclusion rate to continue its success. Downsview Primary, Swanley, also appears sound in other respects. Whitehill Primary, Gravesend, was the subject of a disgraceful scandal and meltdown seeing its headteacher banned from teaching just two years ago, the story concluded in my final article here.  It was rescued by a new headteacher, transferred from Gravesend Grammar School, the other school in the Academy Trust, but he has now returned to become Headteacher of the grammar. I hope this rapid increase in exclusions is not a sign of regression.  

Oasis Academy Skinner Street, Gillingham failed its first Ofsted after being taken over by Oasis Learning Trust, but improved rapidly to Good in 2016. Poor KS2 results in 2018 may have put pressure on to improve. More details above. Delce Academy, Rochester, is a current disaster which went into Special Measures in June. You will find a dedicated article to its troubles here, this high level of exclusions simply filling out a dreadful experience of education for the children of the school. 

Edenbridge Primary, Sevenoaks, Ofsted Good in 2013, crashed to Special Measures in 2017, as explained here, the article chronicling another school on its way down which should have been picked up earlier. It was taken over by The Pioneer Academy, operating out of Croydon in July 2018 but has clearly not yet thrown off the high excluding pattern seen the previous year when it appeared in the corresponding table of high excluders.  

 National Exclusion Rates

Secondary Exclusion Rates 2014-2018
Exclusions as % of School Population 
Permanent Fixed Term
National Kent Medway National Kent Medway
2014-15  0.15 0.06  0.29  7.51 9.17  10.21 
2015-16 0.17 0.05  0.42  8.46 8.71 12.34
2016-17  0.20 0.04 0.32  9.40 7.91 11.47 
2017-18 0.20 0.02 0.29 10.13 8.36 10.66

 

Primary Exclusion Rates 2014-2018
Exclusions as % of School Population 
  Permanent  Fixed Term
  National Kent Medway National Kent  Medway
2015-16 0.02 0.01 0.01 1.21 1.20 3.59
2016-17 0.03 0.01 0.01 1.37 1.48 2.92
2017-18 0.03 0.01 0.01 1.40 1.37 2.05

 

 

 
 

 

 

Last modified on Monday, 09 December 2019 10:34

1 comment

  • Comment Link Friday, 22 November 2019 17:32 posted by Ex Oasis Parent

    How can these three schools go on year on year with no accountability for their very high exclusion numbers? The actions at Oasis are notorious. The MP does not care, KCC do not care, Ofsted do not care, The Regional Schools Commissioner does not care, the DfE does not care, the local newspaper does not care - I know as I have complained to each one quoting your figures. How can Robert Napier keep expelling such high numbers with no one caring? PETER: Ofsted has inspected Oasis, Hartsdown and Robert Napier in the last two years and no team has noticed or bothered to enquire what is going on. I am afraid the system does not want to hear about academy failures. Look at my many articles on Turner Schools and Oasis. Until proper accountability is introduced these schools have nothing to fear and children will pay the price.

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