Wednesday, 28 November 2012

OFSTED condemns Medway Tory record

An indictment of close to a decade of Conservative control of the Local Education Authority has seen Medway and Kent slide to the bottom of the Primary School league table according to the report by OFSTED yesterday

Today's results are a damning indictment on the Conservative administration and the state of education in Medway and points to a failure of the LEA to adequately support poor performing schools to ensure they improve there performance.

The two areas are among the bottom 10 ranked by Ofsted on the basis of the number of good or outstanding primary schools as decided by inspectors' ratings.

In Kent, 55% of children attend a good or outstanding primary while in Medway, the figure is 54%. That contrasts with the London borough of Camden with a figure of 92%, East Sussex with 70% and Essex with 61%.

Not one Conservative MP has challenged with vigor the incapability of the Medway and Kent Conservatives over education. 

The OFSTED report follows on from Primary School league tables which show almost a third of our pupils are failing to achieve the results they deserve despite years of per pupil funding increases from government.

It is fair to say that Medway has consistently, under the Conservatives, performed poorly. However, the story for many remains static; whilst the good schools continue to perform the poor schools are not adequately supported. 

After the shambles of the Primary School re-organisation in 2009/10, the 11+ test shambles in 2011/12 and copious overspends on capital projects, this points to a failure to grasp direction. 

Whilst true we have a new Director for Education in Medway and this is welcome we also need a change in political leadership; Cllr Wicks needs to go.

Medway should not continue to occupy - year after year after year - a position close to the bottom of the table because taken as a whole, we are a wealthier demographic than a number of those areas that perform better. This makes the poor result all the more damning, because on average our pupils should have more opportunity.

In addition the OFSTED table has higher ranking authorities who have a far more challenging demographic in terms of diversity of entrants. 

The problem with Medway is a decade of stagnant leadership from the Tories

Unfortunately, given Tory cuts to education budgets this remains a risk. We start from the bottom of the hill with a strong headwind and icy slopes.

We also need a Council which needs to change focus away from performing schools who can manage themselves, onto the most disadvantaged and poor performing schools. 

We need Councillors who get education. We need to support and incentivise governors including, in my mind, via the Council Tax system. We need to learn the lessons from performing local authorities in poorer areas.

Our position on the OFSTED table is appalling and a sad indictment of a decade of political incapability -  we need a renewed focus and vigour on improving schools so that our future generations are not strangled of opportunity from their earliest years


  1. Incentivise Governors using the Council Tax system???

    Whatever next?

    Discounts for MPs and Local Councillors maybe?

  2. Anon; we need to think of ways of incentivising and getting good quality governors in schools.

    Camden showed improvement because it focused on recruiting good governors who scrutinised the management in schools.

    We have a good set of governors locally but many are constrained with other pressures. These are not politicians; they are community activists and parents.