Mixed message re Folkestone Academy’s performance from CEO of Turner Schools Trust
‘Ten years of success’ or five years of poor teaching? Can’t be both
‘The Folkestone Academy is absolutely a success story. There has been ten years of success, more than 500 young people have gone to university,’ Jo Saxton, CEO of Turner Schools Trust (TST), told Kent Online.
But according to Kent Independent Education Advice (KIEA), the school year began with Saxton berating staff for this year’s poor GCSE results saying it was the result of five years of poor teaching.
Predecessor school judged good in 2015
TST took over the all-through Folkestone Academy on 1 December 2017 after the predecessor school was closed ‘for a fresh start’. Two years before the takeover, Ofsted judged the predecessor Folkestone Academy to be good. Inspectors wrote that teaching was of a ‘consistently high quality in the primary academy and in the sixth form’ and was ‘improving well in Years 7 to 11’.
The judgement that teaching quality in Key Stage 4 was ‘improving well’ doesn’t quite match the claim that the 2018 GCSE cohort had experienced five years of poor teaching.
Folkestone Academy faced reorganisation and redundancies after TST takeover
In July, we reported how TST was causing concern in the area. Folkestone Academy was facing reorganisation and redundancies. The Trust had paid Doug Lemov, a USA-based ‘guru’, to fly to England to deliver a training session on basic classroom techniques during which he compared Folkestone to the US rust belt.
New free secondary school in Folkestone opened by TST in September
TST has just opened Turner Free School, a secondary school also in Folkestone. The trust has denied claims that the new secondary school has dented Year Seven enrolment at Folkestone Academy. But KIEA reports there’s been a decline of ‘over a quarter’ in the number of Year Sevens entering the academy this year.