Tag Archives: school

Medway Primary Schools: results make interesting reading for parents

Mark Reckless meets pupils at Cliffe Woods Primary School

Last month it was reported that Medway’s primary schools were the lowest rated in the country on one measure. Tracey Crouch MP and I demanded an urgent meeting with Medway’s new head of education, Barbara Peacock, and Juliet Sevior, her deputy for primary education, who has been working to turn round performance. This took place on Friday and was extremely constructive.

The proportion of children gaining the expected level 4 or better at both English and Maths was a little better across the Rochester and Strood constituency, at 74%, but still not good overall. I have analysed those Key Stage 2 results for all primary schools in the constituency over the past five years, as well as the proportion of children both taking and passing the test to go to grammar school. The results make interesting reading for parents.

Mark Reckless congratulates Principal Tim Watson of Cliffe Woods Primary School on conversion to Academy

Mark Reckless congratulates Principal Tim Watson of Cliffe Woods Primary School on conversion to Academy

What is striking is the sheer range of results. Cliffe Woods, whose conversion I welcomed as our first primary academy in Medway, has had at least 90% of children meet the standard each and every year from 2008 to 2012. At the bottom in 2012 and below 60% were All Faiths in Strood, although this was a slip after two better years, and Cuxton Junior School, which worryingly has fallen from 80% to 56% attainment in just five years.

In our school by school discussion I was impressed by the extent to which our new council officers recognised and really understood the range of issues affecting different schools. However, the one which stands out again and again is the ability, drive and leadership shown (or in a few cases not shown) by the school head.

There are a number of schools in which I believe that the council is intervening appropriately. In others I am pleased by the positive approach which Medway is taking to promote primary academies which are more free of council control. As well as the excellent Cliffe Woods, I recently opened the Elaine academy in Strood as part of the fantastic Williamson Trust based on the Rochester Maths School, and on Thursday I will be joining the Bishop of Rochester to open a primary academy at St James, Grain.

I wish all our schools, their heads, teachers and pupils the very best. I will be keeping a very close eye on how attainment and results progress.

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MP visits Rochester school for World record attempt

On Friday 19th October 2012, Mark Reckless MP for Rochester and Strood visited Rochester Grammar School as  students attempted to set a Guinness record for the world’s largest memory game as part of Biology Week.

By sitting a ten-minute memory test which has been prepared by renowned experimental psychologist Professor Bruce Hood, the pupils contributed to a nationwide scientific study.

Mark Reckless acted as an independent witness to verify the record attempt for Guinness and also took questions from students with an interest in politics on a variety of issues.

Mark Reckless said:

“I was delighted to join the students at Rochester Grammar School for this World record attempt and to assist with the important neuroscience research which members of the Society of Biology are undertaking.

Rochester Grammar is a great school and I was impressed by the fantastic facilities on offer. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to take questions from the students on a wide range of local and national issues affecting our younger people in the constituency.

I would like to thank and congratulate all of the students who took part in the World record attempt and for making my visit to the school so enjoyable and informative.”

Dr Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology, said:

“This was the climax of Biology Week, with schools, universities, and learned societies testing their memories simultaneously. We’ve been thrilled with the number of people who are keen to take part and we have high hopes for setting an impressive world record.”

Alongside the attempt school pupils learnt about how our brains store memories (or at least convince us we have made accurate memories!). Anyone who is interested in how the brain works, from remembering how to make a cup of tea to falling in love with Justin Bieber, can watch the Society of Biology Brain Explorers video series.

Dr Downs says:

“We hope the record attempt will highlight the importance of neuroscience research, especially into diseases like Alzheimer’s, which affects around 496,000 people in the UK and is projected to increase.”

The memory game was the last of a series of events being held to mark Biology Week which ran from 13th-19th October and aims to inspire the nation about the life sciences. Other events included a debate about whether we should save the panda, an awards ceremony for a photography competition, and a launch in the House of Commons.