Supporting Families
  • banner12
  • banner6
  • banner10
  • banner13
  • banner2
  • banner4
  • banner11
  • banner8
  • banner7
  • banner3
Displaying items by tag: Primary schools - Kent Independent Education Advice

This newspaper article is an expanded version of a news item elsewhere on this website, looking at the pressure on primary school places in Kent.

There has been much comment in the national media on the growing shortage of primary school places and Kent is no exception. I am now receiving concerned enquiries almost daily from families who have moved into or are planning to move into the area and are finding no suitable school, or in some cases no school at all being offered. Others have been allocated schools they didn’t apply to and are now finding out the reasons for the lack of popularity of some of these. Key pressure areas include: Sevenoaks, Gravesham, Dartford, Tunbridge Wells, Thanet, Maidstone and Tonbridge in Kent; and much of Medway, especially Chatham, Rainham and Rochester. 

 The problems of what are called In Year transfers are exemplified by an email circulated to primary school headteachers in Gravesham at the beginning of September by the Local Authority desperately seeking places for 23 children in the Borough (9 in Dartford) in Years 1,2 and 3 without a place........

Published in Newspaper Articles

In 2012, Kent County Council, worried about the low performance achieved by our primary schools, laid out its strategy to improve standards in “Delivering Bold Steps for Kent”. This document set as a central policy aim for 2015:“No KCC schools will be in an Ofsted category of concern. There will be more good schools, with at least 85% of primary and secondary schools judged as good or outstanding”. This article explores some of the unintended consequences of that aim.  

Just a year off the target date, OFSTED outcomes for Kent primary schools have actually fallen, compared both to previous performance and also to national norms over the same period. Since September 2013, 16 Kent primary schools have failed their OFSTEDs  out of a total of 103 inspections, three times the national average. There is a fall in the proportion of Good or Outstanding Schools inspected by OFSTED from last year’s dire figures which placed Kent 133rd out of 151 Local Authorities to a new low up to the end of May. In 2012, 61% of Kent’s Primary schools were classified as Good or Outstanding, a figure that the Document described as “clearly unacceptable”. One wonders therefore how the Authority will describe the current shocking figure of 53%, (down again from last year’s 56%) compared to a national average of 59%. 30 of the schools inspected have even seen the grade assessed declining from last time around, with half a dozen of these declining by two grades.

Published in Newspaper Articles

National Key Stage Two SATs have been published this week, producing predictable overall figures for Kent and Medway. The tables provide a wealth of statistics but of particular important are the number of children in each school with a Key Stage Two Level Four in Reading, Writing and mathematics.

Medway continues with its dreadful pattern of being at the foot of the National Table, a slight improvement (of which they have made much) to sixth from the bottom in the whole country out of 152 Local Authorities from the absolute bottom in 2012. Kent continues to be consistently just below average.  

The paradox is that at KS4 or GCSE, the most recent results show that Medway with 61.2% of its students scoring 5 GCE Grade C’s including English and maths or better, against a national average of 58.8% and Kent at 61.3% are both well above the national averages. These pose the key question: why is it that, in both Kent and Medway, primary school outcomes are so poor overall, compared with very good progress in our secondary schools? This difference is equally strongly emphasised by looking at my previous article on the recent annual OFSTED Schools Report and in a recent article in Kent on Sunday

One key difference....

Published in News and Comments

UPDATE Feb 13: Dover Road Primary has just failed another Monitoring Inspection. Inadequate progress. Quote from "Context": "Since the previous monitoring visit the headteacher has left the school. An interim headteacher joined the school in January and is due to remain until August 2013. The Early Years Foundation Stage leader has left the school. Two part-time teachers are covering a vacancy and a maternity leave in the Nursery class. Two further classes are being covered by fixed-term supply teachers because of vacancies. One of the deputy headteachers is covering a further vacancy in a Year 6 class, created when a teacher recruited in December 2012 left the school in January 2013.Classes in Years 5 and 6 have recently been reorganised into ability groups for literacy and numeracy lessons. The school is pursuing conversion to academy status, which is planned to take place at the beginning of September 2013". How could it have come to this????

dover road 7

PREVIOUSLY: I have just come across a story in the Gravesend Messenger, stating that the headteacher of Dover Road Community Primary School in Northfleet left the school over Christmas. It reports that she has signed a "compromise agreement" with Kent County Council ending her employment and settling any disputes. Presumably there would be a confidentiality clause. A notice in the staffroom apparently warns teachers not to comment on this outside the school at risk of disciplinary action. Of course such agreements are not unusual in themselves, and usually cover a financial agreement for the headteacher to go without a fuss. Dover Road  is in Special Measures, and the tenure of headteachers of failing schools increasingly look like that of Football Managers, but in this case, Mrs Smith had been placed in an intolerable situation by previous Kent County Council decisions, described elsewhere in this website.However, in summary,......

Published in News Archive

(Article in progress, updated 1 Oct 2012)

Kent County Council has quietly released a Commissioning Plan setting out its proposals for new school places across the county for both primary and secondary schools, on a district by district basis, looking at the consequences for individual schools. The main headline is that over 10,000 new places need to be produced by 2016. You will find the full plan here. The Commissioning Plan identifies proposals for creating 5194 places by 2014, and at present there are no clear plans for the remaining 5000 places - although there is time now to consider options.

A preliminary press release focused on 35 additional classrooms being added in the current school year, catering for the additional  reception classes which were set up to cater for mainly unexpected demand.

I believe this is an essential document; it is just regrettable that when it was proposed in 2009, on the back of warnings about school place shortages, no action was taken, resulting in some of the temporary fixes we have seen in the past two years, described elsewhere in this website. Details follow below.......

The document looks at each District, and names the schools due for expansion and where new primary schools are to be commissioned  in the next four years, I summarise these as follows, although you need to check the plan for the detail......

Published in News Archive
Friday, 15 June 2012 00:00

Primary School Places in Chatham

Medway Council is proposing a new three form entry primary school on the site of the old Chatham South secondary school, after the birth rate in Chatham shows a 21% increase since 2005, coupled with increasing migration into the area probably as a result of cheaper housing costs. This follows the proposal to close two primary schools in Chatham just two yeas ago because of falling numbers! One of those schools, Ridge Meadow, did in fact close but the other, St John's Infant School, was saved after a decision by the Schools Adjudicator overruled Medway Council's proposal. A further proposed closure of St Peter's Infant School in Rochester was dropped. For 2012 entry, St John's is full, St Peter's has just two empty spaces, and there are just 17 places vacant in the whole of Chatham, all at Luton Infants School. 

This all shows that school place forecasting is a difficult science, and Medway Council acknowledges it can do better...

Published in News Archive

The OFSTED decision to place Dover Road Primary School into Special Measures should be a matter of acute embarrassment to Kent County Council. I have recorded elsewhere my concerns about the shortage of places in North West Kent, especially urban Northfleet in Gravesham, expected for summer 2011. The problem in Northfleet was exacerbated by KCC's failure .........

Published in News Archive
Monday, 04 April 2011 00:00

Infant Class Legislation

INFANT CLASS LEGISLATION 

The previous Labour government honoured an election pledge to reduce all Infant classes to 30 children by introducing what is called Infant Class Legislation that banned any class of over 30, except in certain very specific circumstances. Although the most recent Codes of Practice removed the sanctions for schools to keep to this legal requirement, it is rare that they are broken except in certain very specific circumstances.  The rules are laid down in the School Admissions Code (SAC) and the School Admission Appeals Code (SAAC),  both of which carry the force of law. The rules also apply to Academies.

Parents often puzzle over why they are allowed to appeal and informed of their rights so to do, when they actually stand no chance of success. Sadly, that is the way it is. 

You will find a recent news item on this subject here

The rules for Admissions.

Neither the school nor the Local Authority can offer more places than allowed by the Planned Admission Number, which you will find in the school or Local Authority Prospectus, except in very limited circumstances. SAC states:

2.61    The law does not require a child to start school until the start of the term following their fifth birthday. The date compulsory school age is reached is determined by dates set by the Secretary of State for the autumn, spring and summer terms. These are 31 August, 31 December and 31 March.

2.62   Infant classes (i.e. those where the majority of children will reach the age of 5, 6, or 7 during the school year) must not contain more than 30 pupils with a single school teacher. While admission can be refused on normal prejudice grounds once an admission number of lower than 30 (or multiples of 30) has been reached, admission must be refused on “infant class-size prejudice” grounds where the published admission number allows for classes of 30, and the school would have to take ‘qualifying’ measures to keep to the statutory class size limit if more children were admitted, e.g. employ another teacher.

2.63   The class size legislation makes allowance for the entry of an additional child in very limited circumstances where not to admit the child would be prejudicial to his or her interests (‘excepted pupils’). However, every effort must be made to keep over large classes to a minimum. These circumstances are where:

a)  children with statements of special educational needs are admitted to the school outside the normal admissions round;

b)  children move into the area outside the normal admissions round for whom there is no other available school within reasonable distance (admission authorities must check with local authorities before determining that a child falls into this category);

c)  children admitted, after initial allocation of places on the local offer date, because the person responsible for making the original decision recognises that an error was made in implementing the school’s admission arrangements and that a place ought to have been offered;

d)  children in care admitted outside the normal admissions round;

e)  children admitted where an independent appeal panel upholds an appeal on the grounds that the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented, and/or the admission authority’s decision to refuse a place was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case;

f)  children are registered pupils at special schools and by arrangement with another school which is not a special school, receive part of their education at that other school;

g)  children with special education needs who are registered pupils at a school which is not a special school and are normally educated in a special educational needs unit attached to that school, and attend, an infant class in the school (i.e. not in the unit), where this has been deemed as beneficial to the child.

2.64   Except in the case of f) and g), the child will remain an exception for any time they spend in an infant class at the mainstream school or outside the special educational needs unit. In all other circumstances the child will only remain an exception for the remainder of the school year in which they were admitted. Measures must be taken for the following year to ensure that the class falls within the infant class size limit.

The Rules for Appeals

Here SAAC states:

3.19  Where a child has been refused admission to a school on infant class size prejudice grounds, an appeal panel can only offer a place to a child where it is satisfied that either

a)      the child would have been offered a place if the admission arrangements had been properly implemented;

b)      the child would have been offered a place if the arrangements had not been contrary to mandatory provisions in the School Admissions Code and the SSFA 1998; and/or

c)      the decision to refuse admission was not one which a reasonable admission authority would have made in the circumstances of the case.

The third of these cases is usually the one which parents seek to challenge and although it appears reasonably mild, it actually states that the appeal can only be upheld if the admission authority (school or Local Authority) could have gone outside the rules for admission (oversubscription criteria) for the child in question. This is exceedingly rare and relates back to the rules for admission. Many parents seek to challenge the rules themselves, on the grounds that they have a very powerful case for being admitted to that school and not the one they have been allocated and this should have taken priority over the rules, but this is not a valid argument.

The Code wants to leave Appeal Panel members in no doubt as to what 3.19 (b) means and goes on to clarify:

3.25  In order for a panel to determine that an admission authority’s decision to refuse admission was unreasonable, it will need to be satisfied that the decision to refuse to admit the particular child was “perverse in the light of the admission arrangements" i.e. it was “beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision maker” or “a decision which is so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it

Infant Class legislation does not apply only when there is a Planned Admission number of a multiple of 30. Some primary schools combine two different age groups into a class of 30. This can happen when the Planned Admission number is 15, or 20  or a multiple of these. The Code also covers these cases. Other arrangements include smaller reception classes feeding into classes of 30 in Years One and Two. Again the Code covers this case:

3.29  The panel must also consider whether admission of an additional child would cause future infant class size prejudice e.g. a school publishes an admission number of 60, admitting 20 children to three reception classes, which become two classes of 30 children in Years 1 and 2. Admission of a 61st child to reception would lead to one of the Year 1 classes exceeding the infant class size limit unless the school takes remedial measures, such as recruiting an additional teacher. Therefore there would be infant class size prejudice.

Possible reasons for appeal:

(1)you have exceptional circumstances - and if you don't know if your circumstances are exceptional, they almost certainly aren't! Those unlikely to be exceptional include some heart rending cases of difficulty of travel, poor schools allocated, parental commitments, and children heading off in different  directions. None of these are likely to be accepted as reasons for AppealPanels to break the rules they are bound to follow.

(2) A second possibility is where Infant Class Legislation does not apply, for example when instead of the normal class size of 30 children, the intake is not a multiple of 10 or 15  (these two numbers allow mixed age classes of 30).

(3) Some church schools where the oversubscriptiuon rules have been loosely drawn up, and contain flaws.

(4) a mistake has been made and a child who is lower down the preference list than you, has been offered a place.

(5) A family has been offered a place on fraudulent evidence. This can be withdrawn, creating a vacant space.

65) a very small number of academies may be prepared to break the rules!

DON'T FORGET TO PUT YOUR NAME ON THE WAITING LIST OF YOUR PREFERRED SCHOOLS.

 

 
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 00:00

Ashford Primary Schools

Updated May 2019

Entries on this page include the OFSTED Grade for each Primary School updated twice a year, also recording change from previous Inspection result, together with some other relevant information below. It is worth using the search engine on the Home Page to pick up other references to individual schools.

You will find advice on Primary school Admissions and Appeals here

You can read the full Report on each Primary School at OFSTED. Each school is awarded a main Grade: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement (previously Satisfactory), and Inadequate (two sub categories - A school that has serious weaknesses is inadequate overall and requires significant improvement but leadership and management are judged to be Grade 3 or better - A school that requires special measures is one where the school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the school’s leaders, managers or governors have not demonstrated that they have the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school). Each Report carries a brief description of the school before justifying its decision in more detail. If a school is in Special Measures or Serious Weaknesses, the results of further monitoring visits are noted.

A majority of the schools that have previously had a 'Good' or 'Outstanding' assessment are given a Short Inspection (known as Section 8). These are indicated by 'Good (S). These will be confirmed in their assessment grade. However for some of these schools, the Inspection Team may consider that there are concerns, or in the case of a Good school, grounds for raising the Grade and this can only be done by a full Section Five Grade. These are recorded for example as  'Outstanding (SC) or 'Good (SR). 

You will find an analysis of oversubscription and vacancies for  Ashford Primary Places for September 2018 Admissions here, for 2017 here, for 2016 here, and for 2015 here.

You will find a good website to provide a host of factual data about individual Kent schools here.

Reports on Inspections between between September 2018 and February 2019  are in the first table, followed by other tables containing older ones.

(A) Indicates the school is an Academy

 

ASHFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL
OFSTED REPORTS Sep 18 to Feb 19
School
OFSTED Grade
Date
Change
Finberry (A)
Good
Sep 18
 New School,
1st Inspection
Kingsnorth CofE
Good (S) Oct 18  No change

  

ASHFORD
PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2017-18
School

OFSTED Grade

Date Change
Aldington Good Jun 18  
Ashford Oaks
Good Oct 17  No change
Beaver Green (A) Good Sep 17 Up two
Bethersden Good Jan 18 No change
 Brabourne  Good  Jun 18  No change
Godinton (A)  Good Mar 18   No change
Kennington CofE (A) Good Oct 17 Up two
Repton Manor  Good  Mar 18  No change
Smarden (A) Good Dec 17 No change
Willesborough Jun Good Jan 18 No change

 

 

ASHFORD
PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2016-17
School

OFSTED Grade

Date Change
Good Nov 16  No change
Mersham Primary Good Sept 16 No change
Furley Park Primary Academy
Good
Sept 16
No change
Phoenix Community Primary Good Dec 16 No change
High Halden CofE Primary Good Jan 17 No change
Hamstreet Primary Academy Good Feb 17 No change
Headcorn Primary Good Mar 17 No change
St Simon of England RC Good Jul 17 No change

 

ASHFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2015-16

School

OFSTED Grade

Date Change
Ashford St Mary's CofE Good Jun 16 Up one
Brenzett  Special Measures  Nov 15  Down one
Brook Community Good Jan  16 Up one
Christ Church CofE
 Good  Oct 15  Up one
Goat Lees, Kennington Good May 16  New
Great Chart Outstanding Mar 16 Up one
St Michael's CofE, Tenterden
 Good
 Nov 15
 Up one
 St Nicholas CofE, New Romney
School Improvement Plan Fit for Purpose
Local Authority Statement Fit for Purpose 
May 2016
Wittersham Good Jun 16  No change

Excerpt from Ashford section of article on oversubscription in primary schools 2015: "One primary school has one vacancy. Other than that, the only school with vacancies is Furley Park, with 20 of its 90 places empty"

ASHFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2014-15

School

OFSTED Grade

Date Change
Beaver Green
Not enough progress to remove SW
Oct 14
East Stour Good Jun 15 No change
Kennington CofE Junior Reasonable progress after SW Sep 14
Lady Joanna Thornhill, Wye Outstanding Jan 15 No change
Pluckley CofE Good Jun 15 No change
Smeeth Good Nov 14 No change
 Victoria Road  Good  Oct 14  Up one
Willesborough Infant Good May 15 Up one

You will find an article discussing Beaver Green here.  You will find Ashford Primary Academies here. 

 

ASHFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2013-14

School

OFSTED Grade

Date Change
Aldington

Good

Nov 13 No change
Ashford, St Mary's CofE

Requires Improvement

May 14 Down one
Beaver  Green
 
Special Measures Dec 13 Down one
After delay, LA Plan fit for purpose
School Improvement Action Plan not fit for purpose
Mar 14
 
Reasonable progress to removal of SM Jun 14
Bethersden Good Mar 14 Up one
Brabourne CofE Good Oct 13 No change
Brenzett CofE Requires Improvement Sep 13 No change
Brook Community Requires Improvement Oct 13 No change
John Mayne CofE, Biddenden Good Feb 14 No change
Kennington CofE Junior Prog from Serious Weaknesses Sep 13  
Reasonable Progress from SW Feb 14  
Lydd Special Measures Nov 13 Down one
Local Authority Plan not fit for purpose
School Action Plan not fit for purpose
 
Apr 14
St Michael's CofE, Tenterden
failure to make required improvements
from previous OFSTED (see below)
 Oct 13  
Willesborough Junior Good May 14 No change

 

 

ASHFORD PRIMARY SCHOOL OFSTED REPORTS 2012-13

School

OFSTED Grade

Date Change
Ashford Oaks Community Good May 13 Up one
Brookland CofE Good Apr 13 Down one
Charing Good Nov 12 Up one
Egerton Requires Improvement Dec 12 No change
Hamstreet  Satisf progr from SM Oct 12  
Good May 13 Up two
Headcorn Good Jun 13 Up one
High Halden CofE Good Jan 13 Up one
Kennington CofE Junior Serious Weaknesses Dec 13 Down one
Kingsnorth CofE Good Oct 12 Up one
St Michael's Cofe, Tenterden Requires Improvement Jul 13 No change
Smarden Good Mar 13 1st Academy insp
Tenterden Junior Good Jan 13 Up one
Victoria Road  Satisf progr from NtoI Oct 12  
Requires Improvement Jun 13 Up one
Willesborough Infants Requires Improvement Apr 13 Down one

 

Pre September 2012 Reports

 

School Grade Date
Aldington Primary Good May 2011
Ashford, St Mary's CofE Primary Good Jun 2010
Ashford Oaks Community Primary Satisfactory Jun 2010
Beaver Green Primary Satisfactory May 2012
Bethersden Primary Satisfactory May 2012
Brenzett CofE Primary Satisfactory Nov 2011
Brook Community Primary Satisfactory  Nov 2011
Challock Primary Outstanding Sep 2011
Downs View Infants, Kennington Outstanding Jun 2010
 East Stour Primary   
Good & Rapidly Improving May 2010
Furley Park Primary Good Nov 2010
Great Chart Primary Good Nov 2010
Godinton Primary Good Feb 2011
Hamstreet Primary  Notice to Improve Feb 2012
High Halden CofE Primary Satisfactory Oct 2010
John Wesley CofE Methodist VA Primary Good Dec 2011
Kennington CofE Junior Satisfactory Jun 2011
Kingsnorth CofE Primary Satisfactory Jun 2010
Linden Grove Primary Special Measures Mar 2012
Mersham Primary Good Jun 2012
Phoenix Primary Good Jul 2012
Pluckley CofE Primary Good Jun 2010
Smarden Satisfactory Oct 2010
Smeeth Primary Good Jun 2011
St Michael's CofE Primary, Tenterden Satisfactory Nov 2010
St Simon of England RC Primary Good Mar 2012
Tenterden Infants Good Feb 2012
Wittersham CofE Primary Good Mar 2012
Woodchurch CofE Primary
Satisfactory Jul 2011
Published in Kent Primary Schools
Page 2 of 2