It’s time to change the depressing reality of inadequate coastal schools’

Writing in the Telegraph, Heath Monk of the Future Leaders Trust says with grey sea on one side and poor transport links on the other, the isolation of many of our coastal schools is holding pupils back.

…In general, coastal industries have declined since the 1970s and children in coastal towns have a higher than average chance of having no parents in work. Those in work are often low-paid.

Towns are isolated geographically, economically and culturally, with their distance from urban centres often resulting in narrowed horizons. It’s no wonder that many children and their families struggle to see the point of education. My organisation is working to change this…

Schools can’t update the rail network or build motorways, but they can show students that there is a way forward. They can’t create jobs in the local area, but they can help students meet employers from further afield. Schools, when they work well, expand students’ horizons and become the engines of social change. 

At Northumberland CofE Academy, headteacher Andrew Day has raised local expectations of the school and its students. He’s pulled in high-profile visitors, from politicians to sportspeople to members of the royal family. Their visits show children and the wider community that people care and want them to succeed. 

This year, the school achieved its best ever results and more than half of the academy’s most recent leavers gained university places…

A great headteacher is the surest way to change the outcomes of every student in a school. But coastal schools find it very hard to recruit and retain the leadership – at all levels – that they need…

The tide is turning. Today, we released a publication building on Ovenden-Hope’s research. It brings together the work that six headteachers across the country, including Nadia and Andrew, are doing to change the coastal schools they lead. Through hard work, they and other school leaders like them are replacing isolation with opportunity. 

But there are still many coastal schools without a great headteacher. We need more great heads to take up the challenge of leading these schools in order to make sure all children get the opportunities they deserve – wherever they live.”

More at: It’s time to change the depressing reality of inadequate coastal schools’


See or download the report from the Future Leaders Trust:

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Anything you would add to the points made by Meath Monk or the report on combatting isolation in coastal schools?

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Categories: Leadership, Primary and Secondary.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Boss of academy chain in the market for coastal schools highlights “plight” of LA coastal schools. Thinly veiled advert/bid

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove One must point out that Starburst taste the same as Opal Fruits; academy rebrand is irrelevant, it’s purely quality of staff

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Ability to attract quality staff is key, not school type; govt funding hinders LA and helps FS or academies. Smoke/mirrors

  4. Ofsted monitoring found Northumberland CoE Academy, a large multi-site 3-19 school, is making efforts to climb out of Requires Improvement.  And GCSE results have jumped from 35% in 2014 to 47% (provisional) in 2015.  But the statement about half of the ‘most recent’ school leavers gaining uni places needs clarification.
    The academy had 150 pupils in KS5 in 2013/14.  School performance tables say the number of pupils at the end of A level study was 13 (full-time equivalent 7.8).  Presumably these are the ‘most recent’ leavers.  ‘More than half’, therefore, means about 7.

  5. The DT article features Meadow Community Primary, Lowestoft, which converted to a sponsored academy with REach2 on 1 August 2015.  The article says results at KS2 were lower than 50% in the last two years.
    But in 2013 many parents withdrew their children from tests because Y6 pupils had been without their teacher in the run up to Sats.  Ofsted made it clear in March 2014, ‘The published information,
    therefore, does not reflect the true capabilities of that particular year group.’
    That didn’t appear in the DT article.
    It’s true the situation at Meadow deteriorated after the 2014 Requires Improvement judgement but the second monitoring in December 2014 found the interim head Alison Flegg was providing ‘effective leadership’.  The LA was providing a range of support although communication between the school and LA wasn’t ‘as good as it should be’.  Inspectors also noted that info re the proposed academy conversion had not been shared among ‘strategic partners’ (!).   Final monitoring (Feb 2015) found Ms Flegg was continuing ‘to provide effective leadership of school
    But there’s no mention of Ms Flegg in the DT article – all improvement is being laid at the feet of the new head who’s been there less than a term.

  6. Great Yarmouth Primary Academy features in the full report.  Dr Craig Avieson, the executive principal from September 2014, says he had to change the school culture to challenge low expectations and complacency.
    Funny thing is, schools minister Liz Truss tweeted about how inspirational GYPA was when the Inspiration Trust academy  was judged Good the previous June.  The Mail did an effusive article claiming the academy had been turned round from failing (2010)  by head Bill Holledge quite forgetting the predecessor school had been judged Satisfactory in November 2011.
    It appears, then, that a school praised by a minister in June 2014 needed a ‘challenge’ in the following September.
    More info here:

  7. Two of the featured academies are part of the Oasis Multi Academy Trust.  Ofsted sent Oasis a letter of concern in March 2015 following focussed inspections of some of its academies.  The letter wasn’t made public until after the election.

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