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Ofsted has praised a centre for youngsters who have been excluded from school for its outstanding teaching.

Inspectors said students at the Will Adams Centre in Gillingham were getting the qualifications needed to help them on to further education or employment.

They have rated the centre – which caters for more than 40 teenagers in Years 10 and 11, all of whom have learning difficulties – as ‘good’, the second highest accolade possible and a step up from the last inspection.

Ofsted described teaching as “typically good and some is outstanding” and went on to say teachers encourage students to achieve a high standard of work.

Inspectors said that while most students join with a history of negative attitudes towards school, staff work hard to engage them and, as a result, behaviour improves rapidly.

They also said students do better at Will Adams than most pupils attending Pupil Referral Units elsewhere in the country.

Cllr Mike O’Brien, Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Medway Council, said: “I am delighted Ofsted has recognised the tremendous work that is going on at the Will Adams Centre.

“The turn around in student performance and attitude once they get to Will Adams is simply incredible and a real credit to all the teachers and the leadership team.”

The centres headteacher, Karen Bennett, said: “We are thrilled the inspectors have praised the work going on here and the performance of students.

“When pupils reach us, their knowledge and skills are often below the expectations for their age, however, Ofsted has pointed out how they progress rapidly here and leave us equipped with the qualifications to go on to further education or employment. That’s quite an achievement”

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Please find below a statement from Cllr Mike O’Brien, Lead Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Medway Council, following an Ofsted report for Warren Wood Primary, Rochester.

“We acknowledge what Ofsted has said about the school and had already started making improvements before inspectors visited. Ofsted noted the positive effect a new leadership team of Anne Costidell and executive headteacher, Sian Williams, had already made at Warren Wood.

“It is important to note the hard work done in such a short space of time by the new leadership team to further improve standards at the school. We acknowledge that there is a still a lot of work to be done and that the ineffectiveness of the governing body, which has now been disbanded, led to the school’s current Ofsted criticism.

“The positive aspects picked up by the inspection team will be built on and there is a real determination at the school by its current leadership to drive the school forward from here. Inspectors said the team have already had a positive impact on pupils, staff and parents by putting strategies in place to improve teaching and pupils’ behaviour.

“They also noted in the Early Years Foundation Stage, children make good progress because the teaching is engaging. Inspectors observed the new staff in Reception were using well-structured activities to help children make good progress. The recent well-planned teaching of phonics in the Early Years Foundation Stage prepares children well in their literacy skills, the report said. Pupils say that since the arrival of the new leadership team, they feel happier to come to school and feel safer.

“The majority of parents who completed an online questionnaire believe that behaviour and safety are better now with the new leadership team. Teachers and their assistants are positive about the recent improvements to the school.

“The Ofsted team said that as a result of a new behaviour policy, there has been a sharp improvement in pupils’ behaviour overall.

“Parents opinions have been sought on a wide range of subjects and parents have indicated the current leaders work well with them. Things are changing for the better at the school on a daily basis and expectations are high as the new leadership team is already starting to see the benefits.

“I will not accept bad teaching in our schools and I am confident Warren Wood, under the new leadership, is now heading in the right direction.”

cyclogocolour2Youngsters with dreams of tearing up the track represented Great Britain at one of the largest motorcross beach races in Europe.

Young bike enthusiasts from Medway competed in the Endurole du Touquest in France on 8 and 9 February – their first ever endurance race lasting a gruelling one and a half hours.

Riders Patrick O’Neil, 16, from Strood and Jordan Chapman, 15, from Chattenden came in 37th and 93rd place out of 150 riders.

The talented teens were supported by a trio of mechanics, Jack Staples, 18, from Chatham and Stuart Galloway, 18 and Charlie Knight, 16, from Gillingham, who managed the pit stop and kept the bikes in top condition.

The boys were able to take part in such a prestigious race as part of Cyber Youth Connect (CYC) Youth Project, lead by Medway Council and funded by Interreg.

The project works in conjunction with partners in France promoting English and French unity, and gives young people oppotunities to develop their skills and talents.

Not only did the youngsters have a great time on their racing trip, it also provided them with a platform to put their newly learnt skills from the CYC programme into practice.

Patrick said: “I’ve learnt different techniques, the way to move around the bike in the sand and how to perform and different ways to ride the bike. Because there are no sand tracks over here that’s why everyone goes to Dunkirk – it’s so hard and different out there.

“Without CYC I would have never had the opportunity to do this so I am so grateful to everyone involved in making this happen.”

Jordan never thought he would have an opportunity to take part in such an event. He said: “Motor cross is something that I really enjoy doing, it’s been in my head ever since my dad bought me my first bike with I was two and a half.

“I have really enjoyed this experience and to get the chance to represent Medway in this race is something I could never have dreamt of.”

Since being selected for the race in August last year, the team prepared for the big event with Dover based motocross project MXCP, riding 125cc Suzuki bikes.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services Cllr Mike O’Brien said: “It is wonderful that teenagers from Medway were able to take part in a big competition like this abroad, alongside other young people engaged in similar programmes to CYC.

“The CYC Youth Project can offer up some great opportunities to our young people.”

Youngsters who would like to get involved with the CYC project can still do so as a variety of courses will be running until March 2015.

CYC gives 11 to 19-year-olds an opportunity to gain skills and experience in music, cookery, motorbike mechanics and safe riding, as well as media including filming and photography.

To find out more and sign up visit www.medway.gov.uk/cyc or call 01634 332286

Figures released today show schools in Medway are narrowing the achievement gap between disadvantaged pupils and other pupils.

Performance at Key Stage 4 shows that in Medway, there has been an increase in the percentage of disadvantaged pupils gaining 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, up 1.8 percent to 38.8%.

That closes the gap from 30% in 2012 to 28.5% in 2013.

cllobrien.jpgIn 2013, the overall Medway figure for the percentage of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics) has been maintained at 61%. That means Medway is above the national figure of 60.6%. Lead Portfolio Holder for Children’s Services at Medway Council, Councillor Mike O’Brien, said: “We have much to celebrate in Medway schools with further evidence of a continuing improvement.

“Figures only show part of the picture and don’t always reflect the hard work being done by teachers and pupils but today we can congratulate all those involved for showing Medway schools are really going places.

“That’s not to say we will take these figures for granted and the hard work will continue.
“But this is fantastic news and I would like to say well done to all our young people who have worked so hard to achieve this with their dedicated and hard-working staff.”

Key facts and figures:
Medway Performance at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5

• The number of pupils at the end of Key Stage 4 has increased by 2.3%, from 3168 in 2012 to 3242 in 2013.

• In 2013, the overall Medway figure for the percentage of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics) has been maintained at 61%.

• The number of pupils entered for all English Baccalaureate subjects increased by 68%.

• The percentage of Medway pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects increased from 14.7% in 2012 to 18.6% this year. This represents an improvement of 3.9% and exceeds the 2012 national figure of 18.4%.

• Almost all Medway state funded schools saw an increase in the percentage of pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects.

• Both of the Medway LA maintained secondary schools had successful results.

• The number of pupils at the Howard School at the end of Key Stage 4 increased from 219 in 2012 to 238 in 2013. In the past year, the Howard School maintained it performance level for the number of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics). Their figure of 62% was the same as last year, and exceeded both the corresponding Local Authority and national figure for 2012.

• The Howard School also saw a remarkable increase in the percentage of pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects. Their performance improved from 1% in 2012 to 20% in 2013.

• In 2013, St John Fisher Catholic Comprehensive School increased the percentage of pupils achieving 5+GCSEs at grades A*- C (including English and Mathematics) to 47%, up one percentage point from the previous year. The percentage of pupils achieving all English Baccalaureate subjects also saw a notable increase from 2% in 2012 to 8% in 2013. The school also showed significant gains at Key Stage 5.

• Robert Napier is the most improved for 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, with figures increasing from 31% in 2012 to 47% in 2013.

• Medway has reduced the achievement gap between disadvantaged pupils and all other pupils. There has been an increase in the percentage of disadvantaged pupils gaining 5+ GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and mathematics, up 1.8 percent to 38.8%, thereby closing the gap from 30% in 2012 to 28.5% in 2013.

• The percentage of Medway disadvantaged pupils achieving the English Baccalaureate has also increased by 1.6%

Cllr Mike O,Brien

Cllr Mike O,Brien

Letters have today (Friday, 4 October) been sent out to families informing them if their child has been deemed selective after taking the Medway Test last month.

In total, 2,430 children registered to sit the test, with 2,357 children actually sitting it.

Of those children that sat the test, 1,842 are Medway residents and 515 are from out of area.

Nine hundred and eight two children have been assessed as suitable for admission to a Medway Grammar School as a direct result of the test itself.

Six hundred and eighty seven Medway resident children achieved the minimum score. This represents 23 per cent of the total Medway cohort for this year group of 2,962. Read More

Whoops of joy filled the school hall at St John Fisher Catholic School today (Thursday, 22 August), as students ripped open their GCSE exam results. Around 3,000 students received their GCSE results at schools across Medway earlier today. Read More

Two people will have to part with three hundred pounds each as a result of their decision to drop litter in Medway. More

This week sees a series of events to help warn people about the dangers of loan sharks throughout Medway and the Hoo Peninsula.
Medway Council’s Trading Standards Team and The England Illegal Money Lending Team will be warning local people to turn away from illegal money lenders and encouraging anyone who has fallen into a loan sharks trap to speak out.
The officers and Illegal Money Lending Team’s mascot ‘Sid’ the Shark will be out and about this week (w/c 24 Sept). More

The Medway Community Safety Partnership is holding a series of community engagement meetings for residents across the area from next month.
Meetings will take place on a three-monthly basis in local areas across Medway.
The first will take place on Tuesday, 9 October, between 7 and 9pm at the All Saints Church, Magpie Hall Road, Luton.
The purpose of the meeting is to allow local community safety issues to be discussed with representatives from Medway Council and Kent Police.
Medway Community Safety Partnership Chair Councillor Mike O’Brien will be there to answer questions alongside representatives from Kent Police and Medway Council.
These will include Kent Police Chief Superintendent Neil Jerome and Medway Council’s Robin Cooper, the Director of Regeneration, Community and Culture, and its Assistant Director for Frontline Services Andy McGrath.
Cllr O’Brien said “We plan to conduct a series of meetings with residents in areas across Medway to give them the opportunity to discuss community safety issues where they live.
“Similar meetings will be held elsewhere in Medway on a 3 monthly basis, and we will publicise these as they are arranged.”
“I would like to invite anyone who wishes to come along to the 9 October meeting in All Saints o please come along as all are invited.”
For further information members of the public should please call 333333.

A Medway Council portfolio holder has been on a fact finding mission discovering the good work two local charities do helping vulnerable people.
Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Customer Contact Cllr Mike O’Brien visited Emmaus Medway, to see the work it does to help people who are homeless and unemployed, and UK Resettlement to see the work it does with vulnerable young people.
Cllr O’Brien said: “I was impressed with the fantastic work that volunteers continue to carry out helping people who are less fortunate than others here in Medway.”
Emmaus Medway provides community accommodation for 24 people where residents can live and work, giving each other support and encouragement with the opportunity to refresh skills and learn new ones.
The charity also runs a social enterprise shop in Rochester High Street.
The shop receives donated furniture and household goods, and carries out repairs and safety testing before re-selling them.
Run by trustees and volunteers since October last year, the social enterprise is set to grow in 2012/13.
UK Resettlement works with vulnerable young people (at risk of offending) and adult ex-offenders in Kent and Medway.
Cllr O’Brien said: “To continue our drive to reduce re-offending rates in Medway it is essential that ex-offenders are able to obtain both accommodation and the means to get back into the workstream.
“UKResettlement works with Medway ex-offenders by finding accommodation and support in work placement to those who really want to turn their lives around and become useful members of society.
“UKResettlement would also welcome an effective partnership work with local businesses, voluntary organisations and statutory organisations to make a positive difference to the lives of our vulnerable people.”

Nearly 250 dogs were chipped at Medway Council’s A Day for Every Dog events this month.

A total of 243 dogs were chipped over five events held at Broomhill Park, the Great Lines, Riverside Country Park, Luton Rec and the Vines. More

Dog owners can get expert advice on looking after their pets during a series of special events being held in Medway in May. More

Fireworks may be fun to watch, but Medway Council’s Trading Standards team are focusing their efforts on ensuring they aren’t getting to the wrong hands. More

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