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Displaying items by tag: academy - Kent Independent Education Advice
Following the government’s U-Turn on compulsory academisation, Paul Carter, Chairman of the County Councils Network and leader of Kent County Council, has written a politically astute article in the Daily Telegraph supporting the Secretary of State’s decision but expressing concerns about the increasing influence of non-elected Regional Commissioners with little or no local knowledge. However, he still sees a role for successful Local Authorities: “It was therefore encouraging to hear last week Nicky Morgan stating that government is in listening mode and wanting to work closely with local authorities. Alongside a suggestion that schools not currently academies could potentially become a new category of ‘local authority academy trusts’. This is worthy of serious consideration”.
Paul Carter 
Because of his roles as Leader of the country’s largest Local Authority (Conservative controlled) and the County Councils Network, together with membership of other national and regional organisations, Mr Carter is an influential figure nationally and will have had played his part in the government decision to abandon its daft policy of compulsory academisation. The article also considers that “High-performing county councils are the friends, not enemies, of Government in achieving their aims of better education for all”, building bridges after recent tensions. Current evidence is that Kent is one of these high performing councils, but one wonders where this all leaves Medway, the worst performing Authority in the country, by number of measures reported on elsewhere on this website.....
Published in News and Comments
See new article here, dated 29 May
The story below is growing and growing. You may wish to consult the Facebook Forum  to see developing views, or an article in Kent on Sunday which attempts an analyis of the key issues, although these are now so tangled, it is difficult to keep up.   
There is growing controversy over what appears to be a rushed decision by Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School in Canterbury to apply for academy status. The school Governing Body Minutes of November 2015 state that the reason for proceeding with haste was because of the connection, described in the most recent OFSTED Report as an “informal relationship”, with Spires Academy where the headteacher of SLGGS is also Executive Headteacher, and there are close personal links between the two institutions.
 
Simon Langton girls
The fear driving the application was that: “if the decision be held over for a few more months the option of Spires would no longer be available to the school and the decision had to be made by the end of the year as other schools were interested in taking on Spires as part of a MAT (Multi-Academy Trust); and that this could result in being allocated another school (not necessarily a local school)”, which was being discussed by the Academy (see below). Of course, nowhere does this imply that another school taking over Spires is a bad thing for the students of the school, and data presented below suggests it may be even be beneficial for the academy, especially as the Academy was served with a Pre-Warning Notice by the Department for Education because of its low standards. It may well be that the proposed academisation of SLGGS could be seen as a preemptive action to stave off such a take-over. I cannot believe there is another case where the main reason put forward for academisation of a school is to block the future prospects of another school with whom it has no formal relationship. It was reported that a further obstacle to academisation has now been removed in that partially thanks to the good offices of KCC, SLGGS had secured funds to provide new buildings. The headteacher agreed with governors at the November meeting that she would inform staff, parents and students next day of the Governors decision to apply to become a Multi Academy Trust.

It was only when I alerted parents on this website in January that the school had applied for academy status that many people learned what was going on and I was contacted by concerned staff to ask if it were true......

Published in Peter's Blog

As I was preparing to publish this article, local academy news is overtaken by the ideological decision to force all schools in England to have converted or started on the route to become academies by 2020.  Whilst I normally confined myself to matters relating only to Kent and Medway on this website, the impact of this appalling decision on local schools is such that I have added a couple of paragraphs at the foot of the page.

As the conversion rate to academise has reduced to a trickle before this news, there are just two new Academies for February, Manor Community Primary School, Dartford, and Twydall Primary School in Gillingham, the latter having finally seen its future settled as it has been sponsored by Rainham Mark Grammar School after a very difficult failed take-over attempt by the Learning Schools Academy Trust.

There are several new converter applications: Simon Langton Girls Grammar; Upton Junior, Broadstairs; Temple Hill and Oakfield Primaries, Dartford.

News below about: two new build primary academies; Maidstone School of Science and Technology (or rather lack of news!); Castle Community College; Cranbrook School; Chatham Grammar School for Boys; Royal Harbour Academy (not an academy) and the Coastal Academies Trust; and a new 11-14 extension (or is it?) to Leigh University Technical College.  

Published in News and Comments
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 04:45

Academy& Free School News, January 2016.

There are two new academies, Kingsnorth Cof E Primary and Temple Mill Primary in Strood, since my last report, together with three new applications – Brenchley and Matfield Primary, Westgate Primary and a new primary at Ebbsfleet Garden City. Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar is also consulting on forming a multi-academy trust.

 The Academy Monopoly game continues to run, with Marsh Academy now being managed by the Skinners Company Trust, Mascalls School joining the Leigh Academy Group and taking over the running of its three troubled Maidstone Primary Schools, and  Chantry Primary in Gravesend being taken over by Greenacre School in Chatham after the failure of the Meopham Community Schools Trust.

The opening of the new Bishop Chavasse Free School in Tonbridge opening has been delayed by a year to 2017; this year's newly opened primary academies are taking time to  attract pupils, with all having vacancies in Reception, several with over 50% empty spaces.

You will find a full list of Academies, Academy Groups and Free Schools elsewhere on the website....

Published in News and Comments
Sunday, 15 November 2015 17:28

Academy & Free School News October 2015

There were four new Converter Academies in Kent for October, all primary schools. Culverstone Green Primary and Riverview Infants are both in Gravesham.

Culverstone Green                                         Riverview Infants

Dymchurch Primary has joined The Village Academy Trust, based in Swale, and St George’s CofE (Aided) Primary in Sheppey has joined the Diocese of Canterbury Academy Trust. These four schools bring the total of current and proposed primary academies in Kent to 137 out of 432, or 32%. 

Dymchurch                                              St Georges Sheerness

Whilst t here are no new academies in Medway there are three new sponsored primary 'academies in progress', all currently in Special Measures, bring the total of current or in progress primary academies to 34 out of 79 or 43%.…….

Published in News and Comments
Saturday, 07 November 2015 18:25

The Griffin Academies Trust

The Griffin Academies Trust,which runs 12 schools, six in the Midlands and six in the South East including four in Medway, has been heavily criticised for its financial arrangements.  An article in the Guardian reports that in just two years the Trust paid over £700,000 to a company jointly owned by its two chief executives, one whom is Elizabeth Lewis, previously a headteacher of Dover Grammar School for Girls. Three other companies in which trustees of the charity have majority interests received smaller payments that amounted to around £100,000 for “educational consultancy services’”, the trust’s accounts show. The article continues:....

Published in Peter's Blog
Unfortunately, the Department for Education has taken to publishing monthly data on academies four weeks later than in previous years, so the September information has only recently been made available. A total of eleven new academies have been created in Kent and Medway in August and September. One new Free School has opened in Ramsgate, along with the Medway University Technical College.
 
You will find  a list of Academies and proposed academies here, Free Schools here, and UTCs here........
Published in News and Comments

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……

Published in News and Comments

The new draft Education and Adoption Bill which includes provision to force failing or coasting schools to become academies, without local or parental views being taken into account, has many flaws, possibly the most serious one being that there is no evidence that, overall, academisation improves standards. You will find plenty of evidence to support this assertion on the Anti Academies Alliance website, admittedly a partisan organisation, but one that carries out a powerful analysis of outcomes.

Certainly not an original view, but I strongly believe that the key to a good school is good leadership and the status of the school is irrelevant if the resources delivered to perform the job are similar.

The second key flaw in the argument is that there is no consideration of what to do with failing academies, and we have plenty of these in Kent and Medway, most recently, Oasis Academy Skinner Street in Gillingham, classified ‘Requires Improvement’ under Medway and handed over, with many of its fellow underperforming schools, to academy chains.

oasis academy skinner street

The most recent OFSTED Report on Oasis Skinner Street, published today, places it in Special Measures, so where next for the school? The Report does not mince its words: “Leaders and governors have an unrealistic view of how well the academy is performing. Leaders do not check weak teaching or underachievement sufficiently strongly to address them promptly”. The Marlowe Academy is of course to close after 10 years of providing a sub-standard education to its students, with little happening from government to force improvement in this period. Castle Community College in Deal, fast-tracked as an Outstanding school to become an academy, spectacularly fell from Outstanding to Special Measures in 2014, in just three years.

There are of course many examples of highly successful academies and county maintained schools in Kent and Medway that are highlighted elsewhere in this website, but this article is written primarily to look at the implications of the proposed Bill for local failing or underperforming schools, identified below…….

Published in News and Comments
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.

Published in News and Comments
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