Fringe Box



Responses To Kings College And Its Ofsted Report

Published on: 4 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 7 Feb, 2017

The Guildford Dragon NEWS has received these comments about Kings College and its latest Ofsted report.

Kings College, Park Barn, Guildford.

Jane Keefe wrote: “I feel saddened that the information written by the Ofsted inspectors does not truly reflect the Kings College as I know it. Although the school would benefit from some change, as any school would, I do not think it deserves to be placed under special measures and classified as ‘inadequate’.

“The report appears to be very biased towards students with special educational needs, rather than the full spectrum including those students who are higher achievers. If the teaching standards were as inadequate as stated, especially for boys, then my son who left Kings in the summer of 2016 would not have obtained eleven good GCSEs, including securing the EBacc. This is also true of many of his peers.

“The extra support offered by the teachers during the run up to GCSEs was in my opinion outstanding. This support started immediately after the October half term and continued right up until the end of the final exams. An extra hour of lesson time was added to every afternoon so that students could get help and support in any subject they felt they needed, this sometimes resulted in one to one tuition. In addition, the teaching staff gave up their personal holiday time during the Easter and summer half term holidays to run either half day or full day sessions to prepare the students for their exams. This is not reflected in the Ofsted report.

“My daughter has also progressed and continues to progress well since joining Kings in 2013. What the Ofsted report fails to acknowledge is that every teacher within the school knows every child they teach. In my experience, particularly at parents’ evenings the teachers genuinely know my children, what their strengths and weaknesses are, providing constructive feedback on areas they need to work on.

“Extra-curricular activities offered at Kings, which form part of the school week are again in my opinion excellent. All students have the opportunity to participate as these sessions are held during core hours. Activities include various arts and crafts, numerous sports both at Kings and the Surrey Sport Park including the climbing wall, outdoor activities such as geocaching, along with helping at local primary schools.

“In addition, all Year 9 students take part in the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award scheme, moving onto the silver and gold awards in later years if they wish. The report did not acknowledge the opportunities offered.”

Surrey County Councillor for the Guildford West area, Fiona White (Lib Dem), wrote: “I have been a governor at Kings since 2005 and have seen the changes first hand.

“Although I am disappointed at the ratings Ofsted have given, an outside report can be useful and the school are already putting actions in place to deal with the issues Ofsted have identified. They have the full support of the governing body.”

“I am disappointed that, although Ofsted have recognised positive steps the school have taken to improve, they have not given enough weight to them. They have certainly not painted the whole picture and there is a lot more to Kings than they say. I am heartened by comments I have seen from parents who have children at the school now. I would urge any potential parents to come and see the school. They will be impressed.”

“There is so much evidence that students can be successful at Kings and often are. Kings also has a good record of giving extra help to those children who need it. That needs to be recognised.”

“I am looking forward to talking directly with some students to hear their views. What they have to say will play a big part in the action plan going forward.”

“I am delighted to see that the University of Surrey and The Royal Grammar School want to be part of the story in taking Kings forward. It is a very positive response to the report which is a good sign for the future.”

“I hope that Surrey County Council will play its part as well. They have always said that Kings is an essential part of secondary education in Guildford. Now it is time for them to follow those words up with actions. I have pointed out in the past that they have encouraged other schools to expand knowing that the expansion would affect the numbers at Kings. That must stop. The schools in Guildford should be working together to make sure that all children get the best possible outcomes.”

“It is clear from the comments by so many parents that the picture the inspectors have painted is not what people involved on a day-to-day basis see. They have given examples of how successful and happy their children are at Kings. At the end of the day, those are the important outcomes.”

Guildford Borough Councillor for the Westborough ward, Julia McShane (Lib Dem), wrote: “This Ofsted judgement is extremely unwelcome given the dedication and hard work of the staff team and comes at a time when the new principal has only been in post for one term.

“Strategies to drive improvement have already been made but have been judged before having had adequate time to show positive results.

“Many students are happy at Kings and make good progress but some young people with additional challenges find learning harder and it is rightly recognised that this is one area where improvements are required.

“The success of a school is dependant on a number of factors such as pupil numbers, funding, support from current and prospective parents, accountability from trustees as well as support from the wider community.

“Clearly, success is not solely the responsibility of the teaching staff although sadly too few people recognise this. However, I am pleased to hear that the school has received many messages of support from parents and the wider community.

“Kings has been the subject of rumour, assumption and to a degree parental prejudice for years. People who cling to their own issues of their time at a ‘previous’ school in that building are transferring that negativity quite unreasonably to Kings College and damaging it. The rumours spread by others have resulted in parents forming an opinion of Kings in many cases without even stepping over the threshold. This has led to the school being unpopular, with fewer students which means less funding which impacts on the number of teaching staff, available curriculum etc and puts a strain on staff and students alike.

“During an inspection Ofsted have to ‘find’ evidence to support the data. The data is dependant on the cohort of students in a school and is not quantified or contextualised with regard to level of attainment on entry, progress made, numbers of students with special educational needs, numbers of EAL or disadvantaged students or whether or not a child has been receiving ‘outside’ support from tutors. The latter tends to be in schools in more affluent areas where parents can afford to pay for extra tuition and the school takes the credit for that when the students gain high grades, regardless of the quality of the actual teaching that takes place in the school. This is never mentioned in either league tables or Ofsted reports but has an impact on data

“In effect this means if the data is poor Ofsted judgements must be lower regardless of what good things are having a positive impact on the students experience. Conversely if the data in a school is good then the judgement must be high even if the school lacks a high standard of governance and leadership and the students experience in school is poor.

“This way of playing the ‘system’ obviously enables ‘popular’ schools which are favoured by more affluent parents to gain higher Ofsted judgements. A good Ofsted judgement helps a school maintain it’s good reputation, therefore remaining popular, full or oversubscribed and well funded.

“This is the link to a very interesting article about Ofsted for your information.

“Surrey County Council have not helped the situation with pupil numbers at Kings College and so their assertion that they are very supportive of Kings and need the school because of a shortage of places has no credibility. They continue to use tax payers money to fund extra places at other schools when there are places available at Kings College. This has been happening consistently for many years and has contributed to the difficulty the school faces today.

“Other Guildford schools which are full to bursting and well funded continue to expand and take students when they are already popular and financially viable. They must be aware of the impact this is having on Kings?”

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