Monday, 25 February 2008

Thanet Schools in the Limelight

I wonder how staff at King Ethelbert's School in Westgate (an 'outstanding' school) viewed the public relations blitz last week of Hartsdown's Principal to celebrate his school's 'good' rating from Ofsted inspectors? With almost full page coverage, I was expecting to read about an 'outstanding' report by Ofsted not just a 'good'. I felt quite let down. In today's world it is just not good enough to be 'outstanding' unless the whole world is told about it. Full marks to Hartsdown for a PR job well done.
In Westgate, however, The Ursuline College has more problems to think about, according to our Gazette. It does seem odd that an Ofsted Report of 'good' in May 2007 did not discover an impending financial problem. It is even stranger that one of our schools has to pay from its educational funding to make the turn into its site 'safer' by paying KCC 'Roads' a great deal of money from KCC 'Education' in order to build a 'turn' off Canterbury Road.
The sooner the mess is sorted out the better, so that Westgate can enjoy 'community use' of a splendid Sports Hall and the pupils at Ursuline can continue to use it. If TDC can look the 'other way' in regard to Planning when it comes to its ghastly fences sprouting up all over Thanet, then I am sure KCC can do likewise until there are enough 'groats' in The Ursuline funds to pay for a turn.


Anonymous said...

The "Ursuline Specialist Sports Ursuline College Sports Academy Comprehensive GM Specialist College" deserves more respect! They are currently asking to change from Specialist Sports category to Theatrics Speciality!

They are past masters at acting and "Alternative Truth Theory" and want to become the first specialist "Acting and Accounting" specialist College!

Anonymous said...

Bloody yobs, I hope that the rumour sticks that King Ethelberts takes over the Ursuline and becomes one comprehensive.

We only need one secondary school in Westgate, so lets go with the best according to Ofsted!

Bertie Biggles said...

No need for unpleasantness 00.16; just because there's a few 'groats' short at the moment! The Ursuline has an excellent reputation and Westgate is fortunate in having one outstanding and one good school and both with super Sports halls for the local community's use, hopefully!

Shinguard said...

It seems that the original Gazette article on Ursuline College by Thom Morris was misleading and full of holes.

The journo did not check the accuracy of his information.

The school does have a budget deficit but nothing like the £300,000 mentioned. The situation is being addressed along with KCC and there never was any suggestion that the school would be taken over on Monday by KCC, another tasty titbit the paper got wrong.

Lazy journalism or somebody connected to the paper with a streak of jealousy over the Schools very high position in the GCSE league tables?

Bertie Biggles said...

Shinguard, The Ursuline is certainly the best performing non-selective school in Thanet in terms of league tables but the issues raised by the Isle of Thanet Gazette are to do with fiscal management.

Governing Bodies are required to control expenditure and if, as the Gazette reported, a large deficit has accrued due to a major capital project, it is quite normal for the LEA to intervene and if necessary take over financial management to assist the school get back on track financially. I would suspect that The Gazette has if anything, erred on the side of caution in respect of amounts concerned; caution tends to be the stance taken by the media when dealing with such issues.

I await with interest, the publication of tomorrow's Gazette to see what response or follow up, if any, there has been to last week's story. The bottom line is that education of our Thanet youngsters should not be impaired and I am sure that everyone concerned will be working to that goal.

chris wells said...

I think events have proved Thom Morris rather better informed than the school wish to admit, Shinguard. KCC suspended delegated powers for financial decisions for the school on Monday last, and are now conducting an investigation into the hows, whys and wherefores that this situation has arisen, and how long the school, governing body etc have known.

Your comments reflect the letter sent by the college to all parents last week, which seemd to omit certain key facts, about the Bursar, the size of deficit, the length of time it has been known, but kept hidden, and known to whom.

Let us see who in the end is telling the truth - the Ursuline or the newspaper. I believe it may be less of an obvious call than you think.

Bertie Biggles said...

An interesting post, Chris. I hope Shinguard has read it; I must confess to missing it at the week-end. I just hope the poor Bursar has not been offered up as a sacrificial lamb because my sources inform Thanetstrife that he was 'suspended' by the Ursuline before KCC took over fiscal ( and presumably personnel) administration. Should KCC not insist on him being involved in the 'audit' and investigation? I would have thought he was pivotal to an enquiry?

chris wells said...

I think you may be right. I think you would not expect me to comment!

Bertie Biggles said...

Certainly not!!!