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Wednesday, 30 December 2020 06:15

Website Review of 2020


Sadly, the strong leadership of most of the county’s schools providing a high standard of education to their children too often goes unreported because it does not make the news. There are others at the other end of the scale most of whom appear to escape responsibility for their actions. I have frequently featured these including some of what I regard as the most unjustifiably arrogant leaders in the county. It is difficult to say who leads the field, but contenders must include Alison Colwell who proudly acknowledged that Ebbsfleet Academy under her leadership was nicknamed 'Colditz', after her ruthless disciplinary methods, as the school became one of the least popular in the county taking on large numbers of pupils who never applied for it, as there were no vacancies elsewhere, leading to huge numbers leaving to take up Home Education. See here for her latest incarnation since leaving with what in my view was the most unprofessional and vengeful public attack on her school’s parents I have ever witnessed from a headteacher. I see that publication of a projected book describing her version of her 'experiences' has now been delayed yet again to August 2021. 

At the other end of the scale has to be the leaders of once-prestigious Rochester Grammar, already referred to above, who appear intent on dragging the performance and reputation of their school to the floor, after the previous CEO was paid off following a suspension. Less than half (46%) of Year Eleven staying into the Sixth Form, the second-lowest proportion across all  Kent and Medway grammar schools, accompanied a fall in the number of Pupil Premium pupils in spite of receiving millions of pounds to increase it, with plenty of vacancies for local girls in spite of giving them priority for admission. Still no sign of regret, apology or rethink! 

And then there is the leadership of the Griffin Trust. I have previously documented its problems in Medway where it began its existence, as the Trust founders also earned large sums of money offering additional services to its schools. At the same time as it was having a Medway primary school taken away because of mismanagement, the government decided to award it what was at the time one of the largest secondary schools in the country, Stantonbury International School. The whole disgraceful story is outlined here, culminating in Failed Stantonbury School to be removed from Griffin Schools Trust by RSC. In it, I quote the leaders making the most arrogant statement I have ever seen from a school Trust, this after it was required to provide evidence to avoid the school being taken away from them:  'Leaders are not able easily to provide data and records of impact. This evidence finding takes up too much of their valuable time'.

Some struggling secondary academies appear to specialise in a rapid turnover of school leaders, presumably in the hopes that they will eventually find a winning formula, including Oasis Academy Isle of SheppeyHigh Weald Academy, Holcombe Grammar School (all three also featuring in many other articles)  and Strood Academy.

Last modified on Thursday, 14 January 2021 10:20

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