Another Tunbridge Wells school faces Ofsted scrutiny


Yet another local school has come under the scrutiny of Ofsted and its new inspection criteria, resulting in the downgrading of its status from ‘outstanding’ to ‘good’.

In the first inspection of the school since 2016, The Skinners’ Kent Academy, which has just over 1,000 pupils on its roll, was given a ‘good’ rating across all five categories in Ofsted’s report.

Until recently, schools with an ‘outstanding’ rating were exempt from routine inspection, but this rule was lifted in 2020. Since then, the watchdog has inspected 371 such schools, with more than 80 per cent across England losing their outstanding status.

This has resulted in widespread scrutiny of Ofsted and its judging criteria, which has led some educators to describe the new requirements as “unrealistic” and “inadequate”.

However, Ofsted’s recent report on The Skinners Kent Academy highlighted many successes at the school, which concluded: “The school motto of ‘pride in our success’ permeates through how pupils conduct themselves around the school. They strive to become well-rounded and respectful members of society.

“Pupils show kindness and consideration to each other because they want everyone to feel included. A strong pastoral provision in every key stage means that pupils feel well supported and have someone to go to if they need help.

“Should bullying happen, pupils know that staff will help them resolve issues quickly. Relationships between staff and pupils are nurturing and positive.”

The report continued: “Lessons are calm and purposeful because teachers insist on good behaviour. Well-developed school routines mean that pupils know exactly what to expect. Those who find it more difficult to engage with learning receive effective support.”

The watchdog also laid out areas in which the school could improve. It was noted that too many pupils did not attend school as regularly as they could, and said that staff should “implement plans effectively to improve attendance”.

The report also stated that teachers should better check that all pupils understand new learning before moving on to new topics.

In response to the report, Principal Hannah Knowles said: “Since the last full inspection in 2016, Ofsted’s judgements are made against a set of completely different criteria to those of 2016 and therefore this makes the judgement between the two inspections more difficult to compare.

“Whilst I appreciate that our overall judgement has changed, there are many aspects of the report that demonstrate the clear successes of the Academy. Successes we continue to be very proud of…

“We have worked hard since the pandemic to ensure that a consistent approach to behaviour has been established; an environment whereby learning can take place in purposeful and driven environments, and we were thrilled that this was recognised in the report with a “culture of respectful behaviour”.

“As always there are areas to develop. We will continue with our work around developing students’ ability to write fluently and accurately in addition to the recommended next step involving developing students’ depth of knowledge in subject areas.”

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter