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Displaying items by tag: OFSTED

My apologies to The Rowans, a PRU in Medway (see below), that I omitted from my original version of this article. 

This will be my last secondary and Special school Ofsted round up, before retirement, looking at outcomes in Kent in 2021 and 2022. Covid regulations sharply reduced the number of formal inspections but the last year has now seen nine for secondary schools, and four for Special schools, including two Outstanding Residentials. Strood Academy has received one short inspection. There was a No Notice Inspection in November 2020.

Two regularly controversial N/S schools improved their assessments, Hartsdown to Good, and Holmesdale to Requires Improvement, whilst of the five grammar school inspections, The Skinners School dropped to Good and, in a Short Inspection Wilmington Grammar Girls is to be re-inspected as its Outstanding classification comes into question. There was just one Inspection in Medway in this period, The Rowans, a Pupil Referral Unit with its second consecutive Outstanding assessment, although there was a special inspection at Victory Academy in November 2020.

The Outstanding Residential assessment for Broomhill Bank North is especially noteworthy. 

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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to reflect this new positive model, exclusions have dropped dramatically, as have the number of children being withdrawn for Home Education, academic performance has improved, and it is reported that the number of first choices for admission in September has risen as parents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Perhaps most importantly, the strong threat to the school’s existence has been withdrawn by the scrapping of the proposed Park Crescent Academy.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 the Good classification: ‘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. 
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Wednesday, 07 July 2021 13:03

Lynsted and Norton Primary: Ofsted Inadequate*

Update: As well as the four primary school inspections listed below, Ofsted are today (9th July) inspecting Oasis Academy, Isle of Sheppey.

Lynsted and Norton Primary School, in Swale, has been found Inadequate by Ofsted in May in a Report published this week, one of just three Kent primary schools inspected and reported on since the end of lockdown. This follows a remote monitoring inspection in January that found that ‘Leaders and those responsible for governance are taking effective action to provide education in the current circumstances’, which suggests that the remote inspection was itself inadequate. 

Four months later the new Report reads, ‘the curriculum for all pupils is not fit for purpose. It is jumbled and does not set out what knowledge pupils will learn. Some teachers do not have the subject expertise to be able to take confusing plans and turn them into learning that develops and builds pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding successfully. Standards are lowSome teachers’ expectations are low. Assessment has relied on commercial schemes that are not linked to what pupils have studied. As a result, staff do not have a clear understanding of what pupils already know or need to learn next. 

Lynsted and Norton Primary (2)

The previous headteacher left suddenly in February after 'Trustees recognise the need to improve their oversight of provision. They have acted robustly since identifying the issues in February 2021' according to the Ofsted report, but clearly too late to avoid this outcome. The school's previous three Ofsted Inspections have all been 'Requires Improvement' and it has changed headteachers after each. A new headteacher has been appointed who will be the seventh in eight years. Not surprisingly, the school is not popular with families, having failed to fill even half of its Published Admission Number of 20 places in any of its Year Groups. Year Six currently has just four pupils and Year One six.  

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Update 24th January: Royal Harbour Academy has been found to Require Improvement by Ofsted today, up from 'Requires Significant Improvement. This leaves just Holmesdale School as the only Kent secondary school in Special Measures.

The Chief Ofsted Inspector has published her Annual Report for 2018-19, available here. The year has been very successful overall for both Kent and Medway schools being inspected, with all categories outperforming national data. I have explored these in two previous articles, the first looking at secondary school Ofsted Reports  which show both grammar and non-selective schools in Kent and Medway performing comfortably above the national average in Progress and Attainment. At primary level, both Authorities again outperformed national data, this time with academies noticeably achieving higher levels and improved assessments against Local Authority schools. A third article on Special School Inspections will follow shortly. 

Rightly, Ofsted is concerned about ‘stuck schools’ and I look at each of the ten stuck schools in Kent and three in Medway below, discovering that this is a very broad category. I am also preparing a follow up article  looking at two other issues on which the Report focuses: schools where there is potentially off-rolling and excessive movement of pupils: and school exclusions, with Kent enjoying the fourth lowest proportion of permanent exclusions in the country.

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Headlines:
The central headline of the year's Primary School Ofsted outcomes is that academies are considerably outperforming Local Authority schools,showing much stronger improvement. 
 
Overall, Kent and Medway schools inspected by Ofsted outperformed last year’s national level of 83% Good or Outstanding, aided by a strong performance from academies.
In Kent 19 of the 94 schools inspected have improved their grading, against just six that have declined; whilst in Medway five of the 22 have improved, and none deteriorated, the best performance for years.
19 of 24 schools that improved their category were academies, most having converted since their previous inspection.
 
This article focuses on Ofsted reports since March when I  published a half year report, since when there are two new Outstanding schools in addition to those listed in the previous article: Hawkinge Primary in Folkestone and Shatterlocks Infant in Dover (academy) schools.
Hawkinge 2      Shatterlocks
 
Five schools have improved their performance by two levels from Special Measures to Good after academisation: Barming, Maidstone; Brenzett CofE, Romney Marsh; St Edward’s Catholic, Isle of Sheppey; St Nicholas CofE, New Romney; Westgate, Dartford. Two schools have been placed in Special Measures during the year: Dartford Bridge Community, Dartford and Sunny Bank, Sittingbourne. 
 
I look below at all the key outcomes across Kent and Medway. 
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Sunday, 22 September 2019 05:17

Kent and Medway Ofsted Outcomes 2018-19: Secondary

69% of the 18 Kent secondary schools inspected by Ofsted in 2018-19 were assessed as Good or Outstanding. Once again this was better overall than the national average of the previous year which was 67% in 2017-18. The Kent schools were also well up on the national figure of 62% from September- March in 2018-19 (latest figures available). The two Medway schools inspected improved from Requires Improvement (RI) to Good. The 16 Kent non-selective schools were also above the national average overall for Good or Outstanding schools inspected in September to March this year, at 65% equalling the overall national figure in 2017-18.

Meopham 2

You will find fuller data and a list of the Kent and Medway secondary Ofsted Inspections below. There was just one Outstanding secondary Ofsted, with Meopham School having risen from the depths of Inadequate in 2012. The Towers School has also improved, from RI to Good. Four schools dropped in standard including the two grammars inspected, with The Malling School being looked at in more detail below.  I also look at the notorious Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey, RI,  which appears fortunate not to have been found Inadequate.

In Medway there were just two inspections,  St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive School and The Robert Napier School, with both seeing welcome improvements to Good from RI. I have rightly been very critical of St John Fisher in the past, but it appears to have now turned a corner as explained below.

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Following my two previous articles about the failings of those running Copperfield Academy and its predecessor school to provide an adequate education for the children of the school over too many years, I explored further the alarming position described in the most recent Ofsted Monitoring Report. This revealed that half the class teachers in the school were not qualified to teach, out of a total of 18 classes listed on the website and that: ‘the quality of teaching remains highly variable. This is further exacerbated by the high level of staff changes or staff who are absent’. The recent pattern of appointments is (presumably matched by an equivalent rate of resignations): 

Copperfield Academy, Gravesham
New Staff Appointed for 18 classes in September
Teachers
Appointed
Source Notes
2016 13 Ofsted 2016
5 NQT*, 6 teachers new
to English system
2017 11 Ofsted 2017
2018 5 School data
Ofsted 2019 describes staffing
changes as 'turbulent'
2019 10  Ofsted June 2019 planned, so likely to be more

 Note: * = Newly  Qualified Teacher

The whole amounts to a shocking rate of attrition of teachers, with the added tragedy that many of those leaving each year are no doubt being disillusioned by the experience and so have become a loss to a profession already suffering from the severe shortage of new entrants who stay the course.     

Accordingly, I submitted a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) to the REach 2 Academy Trust which runs Copperfield to find out the detail and received back a report of a different pattern of events as explained below, which put the school in a much better light. So, I followed it up and was told there was no discrepancy with the Ofsted comments in my first paragraph, which is untrue. One key admission  was that Higher Level Teaching Assistants or Learning Support Assistants who have been 'covering classes' during the year will return to their substantive roles in September (presuming of course that all the ten new appointments turn up). Sadly, I regularly get reports of other schools engaging in such practices with the result that children are not being provided with an adequate education. 

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Just two weeks ago, when I published an article on Oversubscription and Vacancies Medway Primary Schools for September 2019, I was so concerned about the self-evident mismanagement at Delce Academy, that I devoted a special section to the school, the only one I picked out in this way.

It was therefore no great surprise to me that yesterday Ofsted published a Report on an Inspection which placed Delce Academy in Special Measures concluding that: ‘Since the last inspection, leaders and those responsible for governance have been ineffective in ensuring that pupils have received an acceptable quality of education’

Delce Academy

Just two years ago, a previous inspection concluded that the school Required Improvement, down from Good, but in this latest verdict there is no indication that the school or its leaders, including the Local Advisory Body for the school and the Directors of the Castle Trust, have drawn lessons from this or have any clue how to improve matters.‘Parents and carers told inspectors that they had lost faith in the leadership of the school. Parents are deeply concerned by high staff turnover, standards of behaviour at the school and the lack of communication from the trust and school leaders’.

This indictment surely goes some way to explain why numbers applying for places at the school have fallen away so sharply in both the Junior and controversial new Infant sections but, as always it is the children that pay the price, in stark contrast to the school motto: 'Learning Towards a Brighter Future'.  Those responsible for this totally preventable disaster will as usual walk away unscathed. 

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Update: The KCC Corporate Director, Children, Young People and Education has published KCC's most recent Ofsted data here. Whilst it confirms the excellent performance, it neither distinguishes between KCC schools and academies, nor does it count those schools whose Ofsted assessments have been cancelled after they have been academised, some of these losing the 'Inadequate' label. 

Kent Primary Schools inspected by OFSTED since September have again produced excellent outcomes overall, way above the national figures. There are two new Outstanding schools, both having followed the same route. These are Chilton Primary, in Ramsgate and St Eanswythe’s CofE in Folkestone. Both schools converted to become academies following a ‘Good’ Ofsted, then having a Short Inspection which recommended a re-visit for a full Inspection, that found them Outstanding, as explained below.

Chilton                St Eanswythes

 

Another 86% of the 47 Kent schools inspected were found to be ‘Good’, up on the 2018 data at this stage. At the other end, two schools were placed in Special Measures.

Medway, for the first time in many years, has an improving set of inspection outcomes, with four of its 15 schools improving their assessment, a total of 13 or 87% being found to be ‘Good’, primarily due to a policy of academising all its primary schools, Removing them from being its responsibility. 

Further details for both Kent and Medway primary schools below.

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You will find the corresponding Primary article here. Special Schools and PRUs to follow. 

No Kent or Medway secondary schools were found Outstanding in 2017-18. However, the 79% of Kent schools classified as Good by Ofsted compares well with the national figure of 68% Good or Outstanding up to March this year. In Medway 75% of schools were classified as Good.

Three schools were found Inadequate. I have previously reported on the recent history of Holmesdale School in Snodland as it plunged from Good to Special Measures in four years, but the tragic story continues, below. Royal Harbour Academy, like Holmesdale not an academy but one of the few secondary schools still the responsibility of KCC, is weighed down by multiple challenges and was found to Require Significant Improvement in July. The Medway UTC, just three years old was put into Special Measures, the Report and other factors adding up to a disgrace that should shame everyone concerned, although no doubt the governors carry on regardless of the damage they have done to children’s education and prospects.

You will find a profile for each Kent and Medway secondary school, including Ofsted outcomes, by following the links. All Ofsted Reports are available here. Further information on significant Ofsted decisions below....

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