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Saturday, 22 January 2022 01:59

My Retirement from www.kentadvice.co.uk

Please Note: This item was first published on 16th December 2021, and subsequently generated a tribute from the Kent Messenger Group here. . 
It is with some sadness that I have decided to retire from KentAdvice after 15 years of running the website and its predecessor. This is partly because I am no longer able to keep up with the increasing amount of material that presents itself, but mainly because I recognise the time is right for me.

The article was followed by a look back at the history of the site: KentAdvice: Review of Seventeen Years of Support for Families, which you will also find lower down the page. 

I began the predecessor to this site in 2006, as an adjunct to my consultation service supporting families who needed advice and support to tackle school issues, with much of my work being carried out at no cost, where finances were tight. In 2010 I transferred it to the High Profile Marketing and Advertising Agency in Gravesend, with the key criteria being that it was to be very easy to manage and for browsers to navigate. As a result I accept it has not moved with the times, through no fault of the excellent High Profile Team who have patiently coped with my idiosyncracies and unscrambled my blunders  and misunderstandings. I retired from my consultation service two years ago, still helping families from time to time where appropriate behind the scenes. I have written every word on the site apart from a few by young relatives transcribing data for me.

I plan to leave the site open for at least another year and, in the short term, I will publish relevant follow-ups to on-going stories (withdrawal symptoms?). I have already had one enquiry about continuing the website, so it may continue under other management. I hope so, for I consider it has throughout delivered on its main aim to provide information and advice for Kent and Medway families about schools and the education service. Many of these parents, along with others including a wide range of education professionals and journalists, may have valued some of the 600 plus news stories that I have published over this time. Some items have gone on to influence school, Academy Trust or local authority policies, a few making the national news, with at least one developing a momentum that persuaded government to act directly. There are also around 200 pages of information and advice, directly aimed at families, covering themes such as school admissions for primary and secondary schools including sixth form admissions, profiles of every secondary school in Kent and Medway, Ofsted outcomes for every school over at least the past six years, Special Education, and school appeals. In total, there have been some 20 million hits on pages of the site.  

Whilst I still plan to update some of these information articles, many others will no longer be revised, although most carry the date of the latest version for guidance. I shall shortly publish a follow up article, exploring key parts of the website's publication history.

Can I recommend that subscribers still remain on the list as I can't at this stage be sure what if anything I shall be publishing over the next twelve months. 

Peter Read

Last modified on Sunday, 23 January 2022 03:54

18 comments

  • Comment Link Thursday, 28 April 2022 20:50 posted by Simon Gibbons

    Peter, I remember you from my days at the Harvey, helping me decide my path lay in maths rather than languages. (I went on to take a degree in maths at Oxford before moving on to a career in IT.) Many thanks for your help - Simon Gibbons. PETER: And I still remember you with pleasure, Simon. You were in my second A Level group at the school starting I think in 1986. Part of a run of Oxbridge mathematicians we had. Do you remember the Petrol Station strategy game we all played after the summer exams?. Wouldn't get away with it today. With my very best wishes..

  • Comment Link Sunday, 23 January 2022 04:01 posted by Patrick Lawrence

    You will be sadly missed for your unique contribution to Kent education Peter, although I notice this has still not stopped a steady production of articles covering subjects important to families and the education service. Please keep them coming. PETER: Thank you, Patrick. My article makes clear I had/have a number of items in the pipeline, awaiting data,or else will be prompted by ongoing themes. I'll retire when these are used up.

  • Comment Link Friday, 07 January 2022 13:52 posted by margaret read

    Well done Peter through the years of support
    u have given to schools. Am very confident that parents and children alike have truly benefited for their future.
    Best wishes for all your other ventures in 2022. which am sure are plenty.

  • Comment Link Friday, 31 December 2021 19:52 posted by Secondary Headteacher

    I think what you have achieved with this website has been a triumph. It challenged the narrative many times and provided Headteachers with a timely reminder that we are not just 'agents of the state' but human beings that run incredibly demanding schools. PETER: A cry from the heart!

  • Comment Link Saturday, 25 December 2021 12:13 posted by Lucy Harmer

    Dear Peter, My Best wishes for Christmas and your retirement. You have kept us informed, advised, and titillated with scandal for so many years, you will be badly missed. PETER: Thanks for this, but the scandals I have exposed were not for titillation but in an attempt to improve the life chances and educational prospects of Kent and Medway children. Sorry to be so grumpy on Christmas Day!

  • Comment Link Monday, 20 December 2021 19:25 posted by Proud Parent

    Peter, I don't know how many permanent exclusions you challenged. I can see no reference to these on your site, but our family remains so grateful for you standing up for our Special Needs son. His headteacher wanted him out, because the school wouldn't spare the resources to support him. The governors hearing was a farce as they all agreed with the head's lies. Then came the independent appeal, and you could have fried him, but recognised that what he needed was to return to school with the support in place. 100% success and he is now amazingly off to university. To you, just one more success, to us a life saver. Thank you so much. PETER: MY pleasure. Nine permanent exclusions, six successes (although in several I was in the background). .

  • Comment Link Monday, 20 December 2021 09:56 posted by Jon Whitcombe

    This will be a sad loss to both parents and educational professionals across Kent. Whilst we might have disagreed from time to time you have always acted and written with the upmost integrity and very much with the public interest in mind. I wish you a long and happy retirement.
    PETER: Thank you for this Jon.As you say, we have disagreed from time to time and so it is that much more appreciated.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 19:16 posted by Kate Stevens

    I’ve just read that you will be stepping down from the website.

    Your advice and guidance has been invaluable to me and has changed the life chances for both of my children.

    Wishing you a very merry Christmas and long and happy retirement. Your updates will be missed!

    Best wishes. PETER: Thank you Kate.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 18:53 posted by Jamie Harrison

    Quite simply thank you so much Peter. you have been a regular source of information and advice throughout our four children's journey through Kent's arcane education system. Enjoy your well earned retirement. PETER: Thank you Jamie, it was a pleasure working with you over the seven years and learning of your children's progress afterwards.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 18:41 posted by Helen Campbell

    I have three children and Peter has supported me through the change of school for each of them. Firstly, by giving his expert advice on which schools to apply to and in which order, which gave me confidence in the process. We expected there would still be appeals for two of them, which proved the case, one for grammar school, and one for our chosen High school. He took us through the process drawing on his expertise to ensure we won both appeals. One is now at university and two are at the same grammar sixth form. Peter, we are eternally grateful. Enjoy your retirement. PETER: Thank you Helen. It was a pleasure each time to renew our link.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 18:30 posted by Supplied

    Hello Peter,

    You will remember me. I was Chair of Governors at our local primary school a number of years ago, attempting to work with our very difficult headteacher without the support of the Local Authority Primary Adviser. You talked the problem through with me and we came up with a strategy to proceed. The school now has an excellent headteacher and goes from strength to strength. Whilst our parents will never know of your contribution to the welfare of our school I thank you on their behalf. My very best wishes on your retirement. I am sure there are many schools throughout the county who are equally thankful for your contribution. PETER: I do indeed. As an unpaid volunteer, you had been placed in an impossible position with the Local Authority refusing to intervene. However, I was pleased to be able to assist you to find a way through without a scandal, one of five such cases in the county. I am delighted with the progress your school has made since.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 16:48 posted by Kent Headteacher

    Please do not publish my details. I am a Kent headteacher, whose school you criticised publicly, but correctly. This provided me with the opportunity to take up the issue with my governors who were the obstacle, and we are now much improved. On behalf of the children of my school, a heartfelt thank you. PETER: Sometimes it has been the headteacher causing the problem, sometimes the governors, and sometimes the Trust or occasionally the LA. I have always been happy to intervene, sometimes quietly and sometimes publicly, for the sake of the children in the school and often successfully as in your case.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 14:29 posted by John Constable

    Sadly, the bullies, the corrupt and the inept will be having a party on hearing this news. You have worked wonders in exposing them and many children in Kent and Medway are the much better off as a result. Thank you on behalf of all of these for your tireless efforts and enjoy your retirement with the comfort of a good job well done. Sadly there is much more for someone else to take up the gauntlet. PETER: Thank you for this John. As you know, you have been no slouch in such matters either behind the scene (true name supplied!).

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 12:14 posted by Glenda Richardson

    As a KentAdvice addict I am gobsmacked! Education story after story on a regular basis, news, informative, advice and scandal, I never knew what was coming next. This has quite spoiled my Christmas, but of course as always, you know best Peter.

    Have a happy and well earned retirement. PETER: Thank you. Sorry about Christmas, but you are right. Now is the time.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 12:10 posted by Lucy Nixon

    I wish you a long, happy and healthy retirement. However, I will miss seeing your emails dropping into my inbox!

    Your articles, news stories, and general education information was always informative and often breaking news.

    Your tenacity in ensuring no stone was left unturned in exposing situations that were harming the educational chances of Kent children needs to be applauded.

    May you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and all the best for 2022. PETER: Thank you Lucy, much appreciated.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 09:35 posted by Melanie Gailey

    Peter I will miss you immeasurably! I know that your wise counsel and deep insight will be sadly missed by many many families and the sector in general. I wish you a long and happy retirement but look forward to the odd gem from time to time please! With my very best wishes, Melanie PETER: I have enjoyed working with you Melanie, you are one of the many in authority who work hard to ensure that all children are treated fairly. Thank you.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 09:04 posted by Janet Downs

    This is sad news. However, as a retiree from on-lined blogging on education I completely understand. Good luck in your retirement - you will be missed. PETER: Janet, you preceded me with the Local Schools Network website which trod a similar path on a national basis until you also retired. Thank you so much for you rkind words.

  • Comment Link Friday, 17 December 2021 06:23 posted by Charlie

    Dear Peter, thank you for your years of advice and analysis. You have encapsulated many of the issues that parents and schools have been grappling with. I enjoy reading your posts enormously, there is nothing else like this. Will miss your work terribly. Have a wonderful retirement, with my very best wishes. PETER: Thank you Charlie, as you say KentAdvice is unique and I have had enquiries from across the country asking about possible equivalents.

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