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Displaying items by tag: Margate

The welcome news that Hartsdown has been awarded a Good Ofsted assessment by Inspectors, is now public although there has is still a delay in publishing it on the Ofsted Website. In October 2020, I wrote about the apparent ‘Damascene conversion’ of headteacher Matthew Tate as the evidence mounted that the school was changing from its previous and failing ‘Tough Love’ model. The school website has been transformed to reflect this new positive model, exclusions have dropped dramatically, as have the number of children being withdrawn for Home Education, academic performance has improved, and it is reported that the number of first choices for admission in September has risen as parents become aware of the transformation.

Perhaps most importantly, the strong threat to the school’s existence has been withdrawn by the scrapping of the proposed Park Crescent Academy.
Hartsdown Amazing (2)
The report begins by acknowledging the previous failures: ‘Staff and pupils agree that Hartsdown has improved greatly’, before immediately moving on to a justification for this: ‘Pupils are proud to belong to the school community. They know that staff want them to aim high, so that they leave with the qualifications and experiences they need to be successful. Pupils enjoy receiving reward points for demonstrating scholarship, teamwork, resilience, integrity, vision and excellence. These are encompassed in the school’s ‘STRIVE’ ethos. The school is a warm and welcoming place. Pupils spoke enthusiastically about how much diversity is valued. Pupils enjoy working together and relationships between pupils and staff are very strong’. There is much emphasis on how the school leadership team as a whole is at the heart of improvements. 
Published in News and Comments
Tuesday, 07 December 2021 07:31

The New Park Crescent Academy in Margate: Scrapped

The Government and KCC have now jointly decided that the proposed Park Crescent Academy in Margate is to be dropped as it is ‘no longer required, as I have been arguing almost alone for nearly two years, through a series of articles analysing the multiple defects in the project, including the failures in forecasting pupil population in Thanet. 

The reason given for the cancellation is that secondary student numbers in Thanet have dropped well below the levels predicted when the school was originally proposed in 2015. This was obvious in October 2019, when Sir Paul Carter, then Leader of KCC and in his last decision before stepping down from the role, vetoed the proposal on the grounds that ‘population numbers had not risen as fast as forecast’, against the advice of his officers who have championed this project, apparently unquestioningly, throughout.  In February 2020 his decision was reversed again by Lord Agnew, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System (who would soon have a new Policy Advisor, Dr Jo Saxton)  on the interesting grounds that, although there was no need for a new school on grounds of numbers, the quality of some current secondary provision in Thanet was of poor quality and it was important to offer choice!

KCC, under its new education leadership, and Baroness Barran, the new Minister for the School System, have now agreed that the project should be cancelled for the second time, again on the grounds that there is no need for it, according to a press release from KCC on 6th December this year, ! There is no mention of the central reason given by Lord Agnew for reinstating the project, because of problems with current quality of provision, nor that the planning application had proposed a wholly impracticable school on a site that that even KCC acknowledged was constricted or constrained where space is at a premium, as I have demonstrated here

Following an FOI Request I can confirm that the cost of the land for the new school was £6.8 million and there are no constraints, apart from Planning Permissions, on how the land is to be used. See below. The next question I am chasing is how much the aborted project cost Kent taxpayers. Perhaps relevant Councillors may like to try and find out also!

Published in News and Comments