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Displaying items by tag: failing schools - Kent Independent Education Advice
Saturday, 25 May 2013 08:08

What a difference three days makes

Took three days holiday this week in gap caused by half-term between preparing clients for appeals. Naturally there was a sudden outbreak of news including the following, some of which I will cover over the next couple of days:

1) Judd School announces it is considering setting up its own 11 plus tests for 2015 entry.

2) Judd school confirms no successful appeals this year.

3) Two new proposed Free Schools announced for opening in 2014 if approved. Jubilee Primary, in Maidstone, will be run by  Jubilee Church. Also the INSPIRE Special Free School will initially have 40 places and be based next to Silverbank Park in Churchill Avenue. Medway Council has worked in partnership with three schools in submitting the bid to the Department for Education: Willimaosn School Trust; Bradfields Special School; and Greenacre School. I don;t have any further details yet.

4) Kent County Council has begun its consultation on the proposed Sevenoaks Grammar School satellite

5) The usual assassins keep putting the boot into the Trinity Christian Free  School on the 11 plus website (not sure what it has to do with the 11 plus!) proposed for the same site

6) An OFSTED for Dame Janet Primary Academy in Ramsgate. formed out of Dame Janet Junior and Dame Janet Infants (failed OFSTED) receives shocking OFSTED  showing that  becoming an Academy is not the solution for everyone.

7) KCC to debate unacceptable delays in preparing Statements of Special Education Need. It is claimed that these are down to failures by the medical services to provide timely appropriate evdence. 

Published in Peter's Blog

Dame Janet Primary Academy in Ramsgate, created on 1st December 2012 from the two predecessor schools, Dame Janet Infant & Junior Schools, has recently been the subject of a withering OFSTED Report. Last July I wrote in an article entitled “KCC hands over low performing schools to Academy Trusts”: “A classic example is Dame Janet Community Infant School in Ramsgate, placed in Special Measures by OFSTED in January. A recent follow up OFSTED inspection is highly critical describing progress as inadequate.  KCC ought to have poured in resources to bring it back on track; instead OFSTED considers that KCC’s "Statement of Action has not had an impact on bringing about improvement". Never mind, the Report states that KCC is developing plans to change the status of the school, and it will become an academy sponsored  by Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT)”. KCC therefore absolved themselves of responsibility for the failing school, along with four other Thanet primaries all handed over to TKAT. Sadly this abdication has, initially at least, only sent the school spiralling further downwards, showing that the academy movement is not a panacea for all Local Authority failings.....

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

The Annual OFSTED Report from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education, published last week, contains damning statistics on the state of Kent and Medway’s Primary schools for the year ended August 2012, which has rightly attracted considerable media criticism.  I was on holiday in France and so unable to make a closer examination of the figures, which I have now completed, and somewhat to my surprise this analysis shows a much rosier picture. I have been collecting data on all OFSTED Inspections in Kent and Medway for nearly three years, and the primary figures up until August are as follows. All figures are given as percentages:

Comparison of OFSTED Reports for Kent & Medway Primary Schools,

against national figures by percentage

 

Outstanding

Good

Satisfactory

Inadequate

Kent

6

35

45

13

Medway

0

34

44

22

National

14

49

32

6

In fact the figures over three years together are far worse than the comparable data for 2011-12, showing that in both authorities, the last year has actually seen considerable improvement,  albeit from a very low base.

Nevertheless, with Kent 10th from bottom in the whole country, with just 55% of primary school Inspections being Good or Outstanding for 2011-12, and Medway immediately behind at 54%, this improvement is nowhere near good enough, and reveals years of underachievement by schools in both Local Authorities.

These facts I knew, but because of personal circumstances have not been able to record OFSTED Inspections since September. However, this report has spurred me to do so, and I will over the next month incorporate them into the relevant pages on the website, at Kent & Medway. What the figures show is a much improved state of affairs in Kent, but no changed conclusions for Medway, because of the small number of new schools inspected........

Published in News Archive

In the past two months, three Kent primary schools, all in Special Measures have been re-inspected and found to have made inadequate progress. First was Dover Road Primary School in Northfleet. I wrote a previous article on the appalling management by KCC that managed to lose the opportunity for a new primary school nearby, on the grounds that Dover Road would suffer a loss of pupils, then forced an additional form of entry on the school for the next seven years, without any permanent accommodation. KCC's defence was that the school was unlucky to be placed in Special Measures. If this is the case, how come the school has failed an inspection a year on, for the second time. The report notes that "The local authority is providing support for the leadership of the school", but clearly not enough........

Published in News Archive

Furness School in Swanley is a special school which provides for boarding and day students who have behavioural, social and emotional difficulties. It has just 77 pupils, mostly boys, including 14 in boarding accommodation (one female) on site. All students have a statement of special educational needs and most students have previously experienced significant disruption to their education due to exclusion or non-attendance. Certainly Furness is a challenging school, but one that requires the highest standards for its children, many of whom have had seriously disrupted lives so far, and desperately need the stable education that other similar schools in Kent appear to be able to provide.

Kent County Council recognised there were problems back in February, and the headteacher was removed. However, in such a serious situation the consequences of losing the school figurehead need to be carefully managed, and insufficient thought appears to have been given to handling the fallout. KCC also removed the school governing body at the time, but did not follow the rules in doing so, and they were reinstated, only to be removed a second time - this time properly. The school was closed for three days in February, reportedly as it was out of control, and partially closed again later in the month. Since then KCC has been running the school directly using an interim leadership team and support from county officials. However, three months later, on May 15th and 16th, two of Her Majesty's Inspectors carried out an OFSTED Inspection which has produced the damning report published last week.  

In particular this condemns the interim management and leadership of the school installed by KCC, including the following comments:.........

Published in News Archive
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 07:21

Hextable School, OFSTED Notice to Improve

Hextable School has failed its most recent OFSTED, being served with Notice to Improve. The Report records that the school meets the Government floor standards, and yet the only area it fails is on pupil achievement. A closer reading shows that the problem is not actually levels of achievement, but limited progress after entry to the school. This is then qualified by noting that progress in maths and English in Years 10 & 11 is an improvement on previous years.  Quality of teaching is satisfactory. The school clearly has a challenge in that "Students’ attainment on entry is consistently well below average and the proportion of more-able students is low". Most criticism appears to be levelled at past, not present, performance of students. Leadership is satisfactory and making improvements. This appears to be a reflection of the harsher judgements increasingly made by OFSTED, and an improving school, with an academically low intake has been punished for its failure to  develop those students fast enough. The headteacher has left the school and .......

Published in News Archive

This week's published OFSTED Report on St Philip Howard RC Primary School in Herne Bay which places it in Special Measures is one of the most damning Reports I have read in recent years, the school being placed in the lowest category in all four measures considered by the Inspectors. Parents have clearly recognised this pattern of failure of recent years, as it occupies the lowest take up of any primary school in the county this year, with 76% of its reception places due to be left empty in September, just 7 children applying for and being offered places back in March out of the 30 available. For 2011 entry, it had the second lowest intake in Kent with 56% of its places being left empty. Overall, it currently has over half of all its places empty with just 100 children out of a capacity 210. Poor KS2 performance by the children may indicate one of the reasons for the lack of popularity of the school, it appearing in the bottom 5% of all schools in the county for performance in English & maths in 2011. 

So what is the mystery, and why am I devoting space analysing this issue? In May, Michael Gove announced the names of the 261 schools to be awarded funds for refurbishment, including 14 from Kent. At the time  I wrote an article expressing my bewilderment at some of the schools chosen, highlighting St Philip Howard, given the pressures on the many schools in need of critical improvement or even replacement. This latest news makes the decision even more bewildering............

Published in News Archive

The history of the Marlowe Academy Inspections is set out here but, in summary, the school failed its OFSTED in October 2010, being served with Notice to Improve. However, it failed to Improve, and sank to the lowest category, being placed in Special Measures in November 2011. By this time it had lost its headteacher and effectively handed over control to Academies Enterprise Group,  which put in an 'Intervention Team' to try and stall the calamity, but without success in the short time available to it. The school was featured in the Sunday Times and the Guardian at the end of last year, as described here.

The academy attempted to get the verdict overturned, without success, but managed to delay publication until 27th March, a wait of four months as distinct from the usual month that schools have to wait. One side effect of this was ......

Published in Peter's Blog

In a shocking indictment of the governance and management of the Marlowe Academy in Ramsgate, it has failed its second consecutive OFSTED. In October 2010 the academy was given Notice to Improve. This verdict is failure, with a stark warning that the school must change. The Marlowe Academy was inspected a second time on November 17th and 18th November 2011, and I covered some some of the issues in a previous article in December, antipating the report's publication following leaks that the trustees were to be criticised. This is indeed the case, and one can only speculate what pressure there has been to soften the harsh criticisms which strike at the heart of the academy principle before a very delayed publication today, after more than four months (the norm between inspection and publication is about a month, Meopham, the last failed school was six weeks). 

Marlowe_Academy

OFSTED's verdict is the lowest possible, the headline being:......

Published in News Archive
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