Tuesday, 11 November 2008


What odd news in today's Thanet Times. It would appear that Dane Court Grammar in Broadstairs is to 'federate' with King Ethelbert School in Westgate under one Governing Body and one head , Mr Paul Luxmore of Dane Court.
For those who are not aware, The Ursuline College and King Ethelbert School share a common boundary and it does beg the question why an Ethelbert/Ursuline 'federation' would not have made more sense?
A lack of KCC Education 'banging heads' together in Westgate seems to be the pattern over the years. Despite becoming a 'Specialist Sports College', Ursuline had lacked playing field space and a Sports Hall, yet the two schools could not appear to share any facilities with the result that both now have big sports halls and masses of under-used playing field space. The new fields between Ethelberts and Birchington have been put down to grass and are awaiting regular use whilst fields at Ethelbert's (between the two schools) have looked more like hay-meadows this summer. Now, we hear that King Ethelbert School is to be federated with Dane Court!
Forgive me for wondering why King Ethelbert and Ursuline are not 'Federating' if this is the way forward? In the meant time, tax payer's money seems to have been spent in Westgate duplicating facilities that could have been shared.


Anonymous said...

Simply put DC management is classed as outstanding, so they are hoping it will rub off on KE.

Anonymous said...

Bit of a joke in Westgate I'm afraid!

The Ursuline Sports College got it's planning permission, as long as they built a turn in from the Canterbury Road, and a proper access to the Sports Hall from the rear. Neither has been done, and no one else can use the Sports Hall! In fact a visiting school had it's visit turned down because of the lack of access!

They have also employed a Community Coach for three years, who has not been seen in the Community at all!

This point was being taken up by local Councillor last year, but then the school went broke, and nothing has been heard since!

chris wells said...

Now Bertie, are you sitting comfortably, then I will begin. Firstly, you must ignore all comments from Steve Ladyman and Elizabeth Green; it is clear neither understand the concept of federation, even though it is an accepted part of their own government policy. In particular, national challenge schools (some of you may remeber my views on that debacle in the summer!) are encouraged to link with more successful schools in the area to share expertise and improve their teaching resources and experience.

It is indeed a very successful element of linkage in the Academies in Kent, Dr Ladyman's government's flagship programme.

I digress. Federation means linking for common cause but remaining 2 schools for reporting purposes - and indeed governing bodies can de federate if they so wish. National Challenge schools are expected to take advantage of these opportunities, but the local authority has no power to force non national challenge schools into federating.

I seem to recall the (good) Dr Ladyman lecturing us all a few years ago on the only future for grammar schools is to lonk with high schools. When this happens, he doesn't like it - there really is no pleasing the feller is there!

So, even a national challenge school has to have a better scoring school willing to federate, and has found one in Dane Court. For years David Green has berated grammar schools for having better teaching staff and more money than other schools.. it was never true, but fascinatingly now they are linked his wife and boss are united against the idea.

I realise that the Labour government has had a real revalation about economic policy..I did not think that would stretch to approving the continued seperation of grammar and high schools..you really couldn't make it up!

Bertie Biggles said...

Sorry to have taken time putting up comments. Firstly 16.57; I was under the impression that both Dane Court and King Ethelbert were rated 'outstanding' by Ofsted?

17.52; thanks for the up-date on why only Ethelbert's Hall is available for community use by the people and Clubs in Westgate. Is Ursuline still in financial special measures?

Lastly, Chris Wells.I have no gripe Chris about 'federation' unlike the commentators you refer to elsewhere and in today's Your Thanet ( just an aside, but a more interesting report than in The Thanet Times!). What I cannot understand is why 'federation' could not have been achieved between neighbouring schools and a sharing of facilities and strengths. If the outcome at Ethelbert's by working with Dane Court, is improvement in the education of Thanet's youngsters, then I certainly have no complaints and I find Steve Ladyman's position odd!

Anonymous said...

Dear Chris, I was to believe that failing schools would be turned into Academies!

As Marlow Academy is a failing school, what is that going to be turned into?

Anonymous said...

I'm not suprised at King Ethelberts looking elsewhere.

If you ask the residents, and shop keepers in Westgate, they will tell you that the Ursuline kids are now out of control. They are rude, loud, stupid and an an embarrasment to what was a good school!

If you ask people in Westgate which is the better school, most will now say King Ethelberts! Including staff from the Ursuline who sent their own children to King Ethelberts!!

That must say something!

Anonymous said...

Mr Wells - I was interested to see in today's Times page 7, that Thanet is listed as a 'broken community' with the highest percentage of children failing to reach Key Stage 2 (32.2%) in the entire country! What does this say about education provision in Thanet Mr Wells and what do you intend to do about it?

Bertie Biggles said...

I think 15.43 that you meant this comment to follow on here so I have moved it for you. You must remember that Cllr Wells is no longer the KCC member responsible for Education.

Anonymous said...
Further to my previous post: that should have been 32.3% failure rate at KS2. Just put it down to poor educational attainment in Thanet.

15 November 2008 15:53