Mixed message re Folkestone Academy’s performance from CEO of Turner Schools Trust

Janet Downs's picture

‘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.



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John Mountford's picture
Sat, 13/10/2018 - 22:11

I value the efforts of KIEA to explore the truth behind the headlines in relation to schools and education in Kent. Some of the content has left me seething as parents, children and professionals alike are abused by an education system that is intent on promoting the interests of purveyors of 'snake-oil' education opportunities at the expense of families and society. My interest stems from having begun my teaching career in Kent many years ago and having much later retired from headship in Greenwhich Borough, recently embroiled in typicall 'slight of hand' dealings at a local secondary school under the con that passes as CONservative education policy.

This brief extract from a blog written by KIEA's Peter Read typifies what it is that gets me fired up in the face of the current wave of education piracy, carried out at the expense of the local community. Out of interest, many of the children in my last school went on to be educated at Kidbrooke School in the late 1990s

"An item in Private Eye recently (reproduced below) about a property deal between Leigh Academies Trust and Greenwich Council caught my attention.  It relates to a re-brokering of the old Kidbrooke School, the first purpose built comprehensive school in the country, which became a stand alone Academy Trust called Corelli College in 2011. This school ran into difficulties and was re-brokered to Leigh Academy Trust for March 2018, where it has been re-named Halley Academy. According to the article 'It seems baffling that Greenwich is paying a trust a £500,000 grant and a £lmsettlement over land it wasn't supposed to give away in the first place. I certainly remain baffled about what appears to be a complicated legal issue but can see it is very good business for LAT, although far away from real education."

Read the full piece here,  https://www.kentadvice.co.uk/peters-blog/item/1107-leigh-academies-trust...

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