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Displaying items by tag: Free Schools

Sunday, 26 July 2015 16:29

Academy, Free School and UTC News July 2015

Three new primary academies this month, all new church academies in Kent. They are: Reculver CofE Primary, sponsored by the Anglican Diocese of Canterbury; and two converter academies, St John’s Catholic (Gravesend) and St Mary’s Catholic (Whitstable) both joining the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership, which is now the largest academy chain across the two authorities. Rivermead School, a Special School in Gillingham for children with complex needs, has applied to become a converter academy, the third Medway Special School to go down this route. St Mary’s Catholic Primary in Canterbury has also applied to be a converter and will be joining the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership in due course.  

You will find a full list of Kent and Medway Academies and academy proposals here, and Free Schools here.

Other news on academies, Free Schools and the Medway UTC follows……

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Friday, 22 May 2015 21:14

Academy and Free School News May 2015

This article looks at the five new Kent academies opened since my previous Report, changes in ownership of academies, Lilac Sky, and new and proposed Free Schools.

New Academies

New academies open since February are: Beaver Green Primary in Ashford, sponsored by Swale Academy Trust; Charlton CofE Primary Dover, (Diocese of Canterbury); Lydd Primary (Village Academy Trust); and two Converter stand-alone primaries, Chilton Primary, Ramsgate; and Godinton Primary, Ashford.

There are new converter applications from Manor Community Primary, Dartford and St Mary’s Catholic Primary, Canterbury.

You will find a full list of open and proposed Kent and Medway Academies here, and of the academy groups operating in the county here, although the latter picture changes rapidly and I would be grateful for any updates or amendments that need to be made.

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Most of the activity of conversion to academies this year has been in the primary sector, as those secondaries looking to convert have already done so. There is one batch of secondary schools that, even if they are willing to convert, are still in difficulty about doing so. These schools were built under Private Finance Initiative and would incur heavy charges for themselves and KCC if they converted, as explained in two previous articles I wrote last year and a follow up to come.  

Once again, the majority of the nine conversions listed below are to join church academy groups either by federation, or under sponsorship for underperforming or failing schools. 

My information pages on academies and Academy Groups provide a comprehensive list of all academies open or in development across Kent and Medway. 

Currently in Kent, 72% of secondary schools and 28% of primary schools have converted to academies, are in progress or are Free Schools. The corresponding figures for Medway are !00% secondary and 42% primary. These figures are based on my own records and are not official. 

I also comment on three schools that have run into difficulties over possible conversions - Twydall Primary in Gillingham; Kings Farm Primary in Gravesend and The North School in Ashford; together with the proposed new Free School in Sittingbourne for children with high functioning autism.......

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Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:00

New Secondary Free School proposed for Maidstone

Valley Invicta Academy Trust (VIAT) is considering opening a new Free School in September 2017 on the site of its two secondary schools, Valley Park school and Invicta Grammar School. It would be called the Maidstone School of Science and Technology, specialising in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and is proposed initially to take in four classes of entry, or 120 students.  

The school is currently consulting on the proposal, asking people to email in to or attend an open evening at Valley Park School on 1st October.

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Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00

Social Mobility and Kent schools

Two issues of social mobility affecting Kent children were in the news yesterday.

Firstly, the proposal by government to extend its current freedoms for academies and free schools to prioritise admission for some disadvantaged children to all schools. I was able on Radio Kent to identify the one Kent academy, a grammar school, that has already gone down this route, However, I cannot see those oversubscribed church schools where the freedom would be most likely to have an effect, taking advantage of this opportunity to increase social cohesion and mobility. 

Secondly, the Sutton Foundation, a highly respected education charity identified the best and worst academy chains in the country for improving disadvantaged pupils, finding a huge variation in the performance of sponsored academies run by the 31 long standing chains examined. One of the of the best performers, the Leigh Academy Trust,  operates in Kent. Of those don’t who perform as well as maintained schools, five operate in Kent, including one very surprising chain based in the county......

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Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00

Academies and Free School News July 2014

This is very much a church month, as both the Church of England and the Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark remove more schools from the oversight of Kent County Council, and take over direct control of them. Most of these schools are sponsored; some are Converter academies who have joined in federation.  

You will find further details of the academy groups here, and a full list of academies and those in progress here. Details are as follows: ..............

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Four new applicants to become converter academies, together with further information on the new Jubilee Free School In Maidstone and Leigh UTC.

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Although I am no fan of Free Schools in principle, I can quite understand why a group of people of Deal has proposed a new Free School in the area, with age range from Nursery through to 18 plus, following the disaster at Castle Community College.

This article also looks at other new academies  and Free Schools opened and proposed,  along with several snippets of news....

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Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

Academy and Free School News April 2014

Once again this article only just makes it into the month, as I have been overwhelmed with concerns about primary school provision, and other news some of which is published or to come shortly.

Academy News

Three new Kent academies have opened this month, two sponsored by Lilac Sky Academy Trust: Morehall Primary School in Folkestone and Richmond Primary School in Sittingbourne. The third is the converter academy, Whitehill Primary School in Gravesend federated with Gravesend Grammar School.

In Medway there are two new stand-alone converter academies, Bradfields Special School and Delce Junior School.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Dover has also applied to become an academy, presumably joining the Kent Catholic Schools Partnership, which appears to be taking over all local Catholic schools.

Reculver CofE Primary School and St Mary of Charity CofE (Aided) Primary Schools are to be sponsored by the Diocese of Canterbury, with West Kingsdown CofE VC Primary School going to the Diocese of Rochester, as the churches take over an ever growing proportion of schools from KCC. Cuxton Community Junior School is to become an academy sponsored by the Primary First Trust, a multi academy group running academies in South East London. The troubled Warren Wood Community Primary School is to be taken over by the Greenacre Academy Trust. All of these schools have had a recent troubled history, some described in this website, which you can find using the search facility.

Free School News

No new developments this month, except to record the initial success of Kent’s Free Schools against recent national debate about the number of empty spaces in Free Schools........

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The following is an adaptation of an article appearing in Kent on Sunday this weekend. It is written following the announcement of the closure of Chaucer Technology College in Canterbury subject to Consultation (below), and  also looks at other vulnerable schools, the effect of Free Schools on Kent's maintained school system, and the impact of inward migration in Kent. 

The announcement of the closure of Chaucer Technology School in Canterbury at the end of the summer should have come as no great surprise, given the dramatically falling number of students entering the school over the past few years, and the huge financial deficit allowed to develop. You will find a fuller analysis of the issues here. However, this article looks at the wider pattern of take up of secondary school places across Kent, identifying other schools that are vulnerable. The schools with the highest proportion of vacant places have remained the same over the past few years, leading one to ask how some of these can also remain viable, given that school incomes depend on the number of pupils they attract. Chaucer is the second closure in twelve months, with Walmer Science College being absorbed into Castle Community College last September, because of the falling number of children in the Deal District. I do not anticipate these two schools will be the last.

Concerns have been expressed about the number of young people coming to Kent from other European countries, causing pressure on school places.....

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