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Displaying items by tag: Chatham Grammar School

This is the fourth episode in my saga about incompetence, dishonesty, and flights of fancy as Medway Council attempts to prop up its proposal for supporting three local grammar schools to become co-educational. Each time the Council attempts to respond to issues raised in my coverage it scores more own goals!  A recent item published in Kent Online about my analysis produced a response which is no exception. The biggest falsehood this time comes in a sentence that ends with the ridiculous new reported claim that 'with the expected increase in pupil numbers over the next few years it (the Medway Test pass rate) will continue to decline if we do not create this extra capacity in the system'. There are just three problems with this very brief statement. I look at these and further examples of ineptitude below, together with a very surprising and sudden response to my fifteen year campaign to have the makeup of the current Medway Test changed, as it is not fit for purpose.

Published in News and Comments

You will find my response to the Consultation here

See my follow up article here for more revelations.

Medway Council is now consulting on a proposal to turn three of the five Medway single sex grammar schools into co-educational schools, and increasing the selection rate to reduce the pressure on non-selective school places.   I first considered an early version of this proposal in a previous article, but the consultation document is now published for public comment. It is riddled with false statements. The main falsehood is the claim that there is a shortage of Medway grammar school places for Medway Boys, apparently demonstrated by there being 454 Medway girls in Year 7 of local grammar schools last September and 402 boys. The reasons for the differential  are quite simply:The Medway Test is not fit for purpose and annually allows more girls than boys to pass, 2022 entry being typical with 445 Medway girls and 388 boys being found selective. For 2021 entry, not a single boy who had been unsuccessful in the Medway selection process was offered a Medway grammar school place on appeal. At least 38 girls were offered places. Previous years have a similar pattern.

As a result, because there were insufficient local boys coming forward, Holcombe Grammar topped up with 64 out of county (ooc) boys on allocation this year, mainly from Bexley and Greenwich. The section in the Consultation on ‘How will this impact Medway girls?’, is quite simply a nonsense from beginning to end. Two separate proposals to change Holcombe Grammar to become co-educational have been put to the Schools Adjudicator in recent years. Twice they have been rejected, with myself quoted as the main objector, most recently here. This new proposal presents an even weaker case than these.

Published in News and Comments
Friday, 02 October 2020 18:50

Chatham Grammar: Desperate Advertising

Update February 2021: The forecast of 200 students in the Sixth Form for September 2020 (below) was badly adrift. The figure according to the October census was just 134. 

What is wrong with the following?

CG Tuiton

 

Published in Peter's Blog
Tagged under

The Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), which sponsors Holcombe Grammar School (previously Chatham Grammar School for Boys) is again consulting on making the school co-educational from September 2018.

To my great astonishment, and I am sure of many others, this proposal is taking place less than six months after the Department for Education turned down the previous highly controversial application for the school to become co-educational. It is perplexing to say the least, why this proposal is being wheeled out again so soon after the previous rejection as, on the surface, nothing has changed.

You will find the Letter informing Parents here, much thinner than the previous version, as it clearly struggles to find a rationale for the peculiarly and obliquely phrased proposal that:

There is a change of gender composition and consequential changes to admission arrangements from September 2018.

(Translation – the school wants to change from being just for boys to become co-educational for September 2018 admission)  

 

Published in Peter's Blog
Thursday, 24 March 2016 06:46

Medway Council: Not in the Public Interest

Update: The application was rejected by Government in August 2016, details here. 

I have covered the apparently unstoppable move by the Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT) to turn Chatham Grammar School for Boys into a co-educational school in previous articles. One thing above many others puzzled me; the decision by Medway Council (Slogan: "Serving You") not to disclose to the people of Medway if it had made objections to a proposal which inevitably will have a serious negative impact on grammar school provision and admissions in Medway. Indeed, the Council turned down my Freedom of Information request on the amazing grounds that  it was not in the Public Interest to disclose their objections. 

"Our country can't afford a two tier education system with London streaking ahead and areas like Knowsley and Medway lagging behind. It’s morally wrong and economically self-defeating"
Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, in her speech to justify all schools be academised, using Medway Education Department to make the case. 

Following an Internal Review (complaint) I have now obtained the Medway Council submission, which turns out to be a strong, if overly polite, attack on the proposal. This begs the question of why were they ashamed of critical arguments revealing the problems this proposal will now cause, that should have influenced other respondents to the ‘Consultation'?  Given the strength of these objections was there not a case for marshalling the opposition? You can still only read the full objections here at present, although Medway Council may wish to explain why they are not otherwise available.

I have covered most of the following issues in previous places, but not being aware of other proposals by the Sir Joseph Williamson’s Trust, had not realised full the impact of giving priority for grammar school places to children in primary schools of the two Trusts, which is likely to deprive children in some other Medway primary schools, especially in the Hoo Peninsula and Rainham, of grammar school places in the future. Surely this aspect must now be halted somehow for both Trusts. Medway Council has once again let its residents down appallingly in failing to raise this issue publicly at the right time.

Published in Peter's Blog
Tagged under

Further Update: Application Turned Down by Government in August 2016, here.

Update: Medway Council's objections published in full here

Chatham Grammar School for Boys is to admit a co-educational intake for September 2017, subject to approval from the Regional Schools Commissioner (advised by the Regional Headteacher Board of six headteachers, of which Ms Shepherd is a member, but who would not be involved in the decision), following a decision by the Directors of the Thinking School Academy Trust. This decision represents a reduction in opportunity for boys, leaving Medway with one very oversubscribed boys’ grammar, inaccessible to those in most of the Council’s area, as opposed to three girls’ grammars.

Chatham Boys 3

The school is to change its name to Holcombe Grammar School.

The Trust has scrapped its controversial proposal to admit children through a decision of the Admission Committee without testing, following my previous article pointing out that it was illegal. This article also covers some of the main issues and provides links to other items.

Medway Council refused my FOI Request for their response to the Consultation “in the public interest!” leaving one to wonder yet again, which public's interests they serve. 

Published in Peter's Blog

The issues surrounding Chatham Grammar School for Boys’ proposals to go co-educational and also to redefine the way “grammar school ability” is determined are obviously of considerable importance to all secondary schools and the families affected in Medway. You will find my most recent article on the controversy here.

Medway Council’s view is clearly central to the situation as they have legal responsibility for the provision of education, if not the power since the introduction of academies.

According to the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, owners of Chatham Grammar, Medway Council is supportive of the proposal to go co-educational: “In Medway the Council can see the benefit of a co-educational school to absorb both boys and girls” and “Medway LEA were happy for the school to increase its published admission number to accommodate all those that applied for a place”.

Unfortunately, whether this is true or not is currently a secret, as Medway Council is refusing to make its representations to the consultation public at this time……

Published in Peter's Blog

You will find a more recent article here

Last month I reported on the controversial proposal by Chatham Grammar School for Boys to become co-educational. This article looks at an even more controversial aspect whereby, with the school to be capable of expansion up to 180 children, a committee of governors would be able to fill any vacancies after school allocation each March with children they choose, using their own interpretation of ‘grammar school ability’.

To enable this to take place, the proposed new school Admission Policy states: “From National Offer Day, any available spaces will be allocated to those children who have provided sufficient evidence to the Admissions Committee of being of grammar school standard”.

Another factor emerging is the low proportion of boys being assessed suitable for grammar school in recent years, being 19% of the total number from Medway primary schools in 2015 (target is 25% of girls and boys), which may itself have precipitated the proposal if the school is desperate to make up numbers.   

At a Parental Consultation meeting on the proposal it was implied that Medway Council supported the proposal. It would be useful to know if this is true, as I cannot see why any secondary schools other than those in the Thinking Schools Academy Trust would support this proposal......

Published in Peter's Blog

See Further Controversy, in a new article here

Chatham Grammar School for Boys has published a proposal to become a mixed grammar school from September 2017, and to change its name, possibly to Holcombe Grammar School, reflecting the name of the school site.

Chatham Boys 2

This proposal to increase the number of potential students at the school by admitting girls is mainly driven by the considerable number of current vacancies at the school, described in the proposal as “under-used capacity”. With the population of eleven year old Medway children having fallen to its lowest point before a slow and steady increase over the next few years, the problem is exacerbated by what for me is the unacceptable and annual bias in the Medway Test towards girls, with 371 Medway girls and just 325 boys assessed as of grammar school ability in the Test this year. The imbalance will have been increased further by this year’s Medway Review results, which also always favour girls.

As a result of these two factors, just 81 of the school’s 120 places were awarded in March for admission in September, the school having already reduced its capacity from 146 a few years ago. Further places will have been taken up after appeals. 

Published in News and Comments

OFSTED has provided Chatham Grammar School for Boys with some excellent news just a week before the closing date for secondary school applications, by classifying the school as "Good" just fifteen months after failing it by placing the school into Special Measures. The school is the only secondary school in Kent or Medway over at least the past two years to achieve an improvement of two categories. You can read the full Report here, and my most recent previous article on the school here

Chatham Boys

This remarkable turn around will be a great relief to all those students and families who have shown faith in the school, and a matter of congratulation to all those staff and leaders who have contributed  to this exceptional performance. The school was a good school and is now again one in which families can have confidence. 

Published in Peter's Blog
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