Turner Schools ‘blazed’ into Folkestone ‘a few years ago’, claims an article in the local council’s magazine. An unfortunate metaphor: those who arrive in flames sometimes crash and burn.
Folkestone Academy has caused concern since it was transferred to Turner Schools Trust (TST) in September 2017 for a ‘fresh start’. Its predecessor academy had been judged good but was classified as ‘coasting’. It was, therefore, ripe for takeover.
The article is a ‘pseudo interview’ with TST’s CEO, Dr Jo Saxton, formerly CEO of Future Academies, a multi-academy trust set up by former schools minister Lord Nash. Dr Saxton attempts to counter ‘negative publicity’ about Folkestone Academy but fails to do so. As Peter Read of Kent Independent Education Advice points out, the puff piece doesn’t address concerns previously raised by KIEA. Rather, it comments on the quality of the food and how the school is now filled with the sound of music.
Dr Saxton admitted TST knew about the disquiet following the trust’s takeover of Folkestone Academy. The article ends with this plea:
‘We know that some people find change hard, so don’t believe all the negatives you’ve heard or read about Folkestone Academy. Come and see for yourselves, and make your minds up – we love visitors!’
‘In other words,’ Peter writes, Turner Schools ‘is aware of all those negatives, although the article does not appear to challenge them!’