Fringe Box



Parents Rally Round Kings College As It Announces New Strategies Following Ofsted

Published on: 4 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 5 Feb, 2017

Parents whose children attend Kings College in Guildford have rallied behind the school following its Ofsted report that found it to be inadequate and placing it under special measures.

They have hit back at the report saying there are many aspects of the secondary school in Park Barn in which their children are benefitting by the education and care they are currently receiving.

Kings College, Southway, Guildford.

On Thursday the school held a morning and an evening meeting for parents at which the principal, Alastair Mckenzie, who has only been in post since September 2016, explained details in the Ofsted report and the plans the school is putting in place to respond to it and the wider support it will be receiving.

The meeting also gave parents a chance to voice their opinions and there was overwhelming praise for the school.

The Guildford Dragon NEWS spoke to an number of parents after the morning meeting. Tracey Wells said: “I can’t fault Kings College on the education and school life that my daughter has received and I truly believe that had she chosen to go to one of the larger secondary schools she would have been lost in the system.

“She has and continues to exceed our expectations and that would not be possible without exceptional teaching and pastoral care.”

Janet Arias-Ball, who is a governor of Guildford Grove Primary School in Park Barn, and has a child starting at Kings College later this year said: “I am passionate about this community, so it was good to hear what parents have been saying this morning. I urge people to go and see the good things they are doing at this school. Don’t judge it until you see it.”

Dawn Owen and Yvonne Perrot both have daughters in Year 9 at the school. They agree that the school has a number of special initiatives in place which truly benefit their children. One is called enrichment time that takes place on Thursdays and that its extra-curricular clubs are very successful, particularly drama.

Carol Norris said: “We visited a number of secondary schools and of those Kings was the only one my daughter wanted to go to. The pupil who showed us around was so enthusiastic and inspirational.”

The message from Kings College itself is that it will be working hard to make the improvements Ofsted has put in place and that it will be receiving support from its partner schools and also the independent fee-paying Royal Grammar School in Guildford, and the University of Surrey.

Kings College is a member of the Guildford Education Partnership (GEP). Set up in 2013, schools include Guildford Grove, George Abbot, Boxgrove Primary, Sandfield Primary, Loseley Fields Primary, and Fulbrook secondary school in New Haw.

GEP’s statement “for the future of learning at Kings College”, noted: “The disappointing Ofsted inspection has led to the formation of a new and exciting educational alliance which has the objective of transforming education for students at the Park Barn college.

“All parties in this new alliance believe that every child is entitled to receive a high-quality education and are passionate about supporting Kings College students to reach their full potential. The partners have pledged strong and meaningful  support to GEP Academies and the students, staff, governors and parents at Kings College as they strive to improve educational outcomes.”

The statement also included Kings’ principal Mr McKenzie saying: “We are very excited by the opportunities this new collaboration will provide to address the concerns raised in the Ofsted report. We are all determined to bring about transformation at the college.”

It also included a message from the headmaster of the Royal Grammar, Dr Jon Cox. He said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting collaboration and are keen to support the students at Kings with their learning.”

See our previous story about partnership between Kings College and the University of Surrey.

When news broke of the publication of the Ofsted report on Wednesday last week (February 1), social media, particular Facebook, was busy with others commenting on the school.

There were a number of negative comments, but in many cases these were quickly rebuffed.

For example, one person tagged a ‘friend’ with the comment: “Bet you’re glad you didn’t send (child’s name removed) to Kings!” The first response was: “Not sure this is really appropriate, those of us who do have kids there could find this a tad offensive. My son is doing great and the support they give him with his ASD is fantastic.”

Another person commenting on Ofsted’s method of operation wrote: “Once governance is judged as inadequate it’s almost impossible for the school to be anything but put into special measures. I have just read the full report and actually leadership and management are the exact two areas that get slaughtered. Safeguarding, one of the most important parts of a school, comes out well. It is also clearly stated as a theme throughout the report, that pupils on free school meals and special educational needs are the main area of failing to make progress. Kings has the highest rate of these two particular groups of any surrounding school…… Kings has always had a raw deal and taken pupils that were on their last legs and most other school won’t take.”

A parent posted a picture of one of the cards that are being sent home to parents to let them know how well their child is doing and wrote: “Just wanted to share this as the news of the Ofsted report hits. Just wanted to show that good things do come out of Kings College and dedicated students can thrive.”

There has also been support for the principal who took up his post in September at the start of this school year. One person on Facebook wrote: “He hasn’t been given much time to put any plans that he has for the school in place yet. My daughter has done very well there. We have only ever had a couple of issues which have always been dealt with promptly. My daughter was explaining some of what happened during the inspection and I have to say that the report does seem very unfair.”

Another wrote: “I feel for Mr McKenzie, poor guy has only been head for a term. Well, I’m sure things will change rapidly.”

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