Angry parents protest against Gravesend headteacher, while 25 teachers leave school

Angry parents protest against Gravesend headteacher, while 25 teachers leave school

Angry parents are protesting over a new headteacher who they say has turned a school into a living "hell" for their children.

Emma Friend, 28, of York Road, Gravesend, has four children at the school aged three to eight. She said: "The old headteacher Peter Jackson was great.

Controversial headteacher Jane Porter who has taken over at Kings Farm this year.

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Angry parents are protesting over a new headteacher who they say has turned a school into a living "hell" for their children.

News Shopper can reveal 25 teachers and teaching staff are leaving Kings Farm Primary School in Cedar Road, Gravesend due to "significant issues" concerning executive headteacher Jane Porter, who was drafted in by Kent County Council in January to make improvements.

Mrs Porter, who is also headteacher of Whitehill Primary School in Sun Lane, is no stranger to controversy and was in the press at Christmas for banning children from talking about the festive period.

Around 20 parents armed with placards and posters protested outside the school on Thursday morning and afternoon.

Emma Friend, 28, of York Road, Gravesend, has four children at the school aged three to eight.

She said: "The old headteacher Peter Jackson was great.

"Since Mrs Porter came in all communication has broken down.

"Sports days and trips have been cancelled, since she took over the school has been hell."

Marie Heywood, 33, of Grieves Road, Northfleet, who has three children in the school, said: "I protested because my children are autistic and there is no understanding about special needs.

"My children cannot cope with the changes.

"The two Year 5 and 6 classes have been combined and my boy is chewing his jumper because he is worried about the instability."

The school was inspected by Ofsted in 2012 and given a 'satisfactory' rating which is now deemed "requires improvement" since rules have changed.

NUT Union representative Ruth Serwotka was at the protest and said the exodus of teachers and teaching staff was "incredible and catastrophic". She added: "It is obviously a very challenging school.

"I have put forward a formal complaint from teachers and teaching staff to Kent County Council.

"There are significant issues and there is a huge amount of insecurity with so many staff leaving the children have no stability."

Kings Farm was expected to become an academy in September but is not expected to convert until January next year.

A Kent County Council spokesman said: "Jane Porter was brought in at the request of the local authority to raise academic standards and the quality of teaching - as she had done at Whitehill Primary School in Gravesend.

"KCC takes complaints seriously and the governing body at King’s Farm Primary School will make sure they are properly investigated and that any response is appropriate."

Comments (12)

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10:12am Tue 22 Jul 14

Brook says...

'concerning executive headteacher Jane Porter, who was drafted in by Kent County Council in January to make improvements'.

That's where the clue lies. School needed improvement. Parents should back the head to improve their child's education instead of forming a mob to disrupt.
'concerning executive headteacher Jane Porter, who was drafted in by Kent County Council in January to make improvements'. That's where the clue lies. School needed improvement. Parents should back the head to improve their child's education instead of forming a mob to disrupt. Brook
  • Score: -59

2:22pm Tue 22 Jul 14

kentlad says...

Brook wrote:
'concerning executive headteacher Jane Porter, who was drafted in by Kent County Council in January to make improvements'.

That's where the clue lies. School needed improvement. Parents should back the head to improve their child's education instead of forming a mob to disrupt.
Without knowing the schools history before Jane Porter took over and the current changes she has made it would be impossible to comment howver, I must admit it does seem a little strange so many teachers and support staff have left.
[quote][p][bold]Brook[/bold] wrote: 'concerning executive headteacher Jane Porter, who was drafted in by Kent County Council in January to make improvements'. That's where the clue lies. School needed improvement. Parents should back the head to improve their child's education instead of forming a mob to disrupt.[/p][/quote]Without knowing the schools history before Jane Porter took over and the current changes she has made it would be impossible to comment howver, I must admit it does seem a little strange so many teachers and support staff have left. kentlad
  • Score: 56

4:00pm Tue 22 Jul 14

spectrum69 says...

My wife works for kidbrooke primary and exactly the same thing has happened there about 15 staff have left in the last 2 months due to a new head coming in and making a mess of the school
My wife works for kidbrooke primary and exactly the same thing has happened there about 15 staff have left in the last 2 months due to a new head coming in and making a mess of the school spectrum69
  • Score: 57

4:08pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Fenderstratocaster says...

Not allowing children to talk about Christmas,
Banning sports day,
Cancelling school trips,
25 staff leaving.........

Clearly this woman has got a screw loose!
Not allowing children to talk about Christmas, Banning sports day, Cancelling school trips, 25 staff leaving......... Clearly this woman has got a screw loose! Fenderstratocaster
  • Score: 48

4:58pm Tue 22 Jul 14

blondelolly says...

Fenderstratocaster - stating that this woman has a 'screw loose' is wrong.

Ms porter has made excellent challenges to schools in the area. This talking about Christmas is not true, children are not allowed to talk about Christmas before December which I completely agree with.

The staff at the school do not like the changes that have been made. Maybe they should accept them. she is trying to help the situation and make the school better.

As for the parents they clearly need to go out and get jobs instead of doing pathetic protests just to get in the news.
Fenderstratocaster - stating that this woman has a 'screw loose' is wrong. Ms porter has made excellent challenges to schools in the area. This talking about Christmas is not true, children are not allowed to talk about Christmas before December which I completely agree with. The staff at the school do not like the changes that have been made. Maybe they should accept them. she is trying to help the situation and make the school better. As for the parents they clearly need to go out and get jobs instead of doing pathetic protests just to get in the news. blondelolly
  • Score: -46

7:56pm Tue 22 Jul 14

FrankHobbs05 says...

Referring to blondelolly persons comments- all the teaching staff I know in that school and others want the best for the children and are open to change. I have friend who work at King's Farm and they have never said they are not willing to change! However the way the staff and children are being treated and the way in which the changes have been implemented have been tantamount to bullying, and detrimental to the children's learning. The school has successfully served the community for many many years- the staff have been committed and devoted to the children, Ms Porter has none of this devotion and has run the school into the ground.
Referring to blondelolly persons comments- all the teaching staff I know in that school and others want the best for the children and are open to change. I have friend who work at King's Farm and they have never said they are not willing to change! However the way the staff and children are being treated and the way in which the changes have been implemented have been tantamount to bullying, and detrimental to the children's learning. The school has successfully served the community for many many years- the staff have been committed and devoted to the children, Ms Porter has none of this devotion and has run the school into the ground. FrankHobbs05
  • Score: 49

10:50pm Tue 22 Jul 14

Harold_Monk says...

There is evil in her eyes ... I mean eye
There is evil in her eyes ... I mean eye Harold_Monk
  • Score: 9

11:16pm Tue 22 Jul 14

FrankHobbs05 says...

Ms Porters improvements.... removing all experienced teaching staff and replacing them with people who work in the kitchen and unqualified support assistants! Those are Ms.Porters improvements- that is who is now teaching your children. She has removed all pastoral care and hired a Deputy who has only been teaching 3 years to help run the school! Additionally she has removed all 1-1 support - even from those children with statements who are entitled to them. Under Ms Porters direction, special needs children are taught by teaching assistants and not qualified teachers, though there are few teachers left there now as even more have left this week - having been removed from the school. Why is it that Ms Porters schools - Kings Farm and Whitehill are the only schools which have not had their SATS results released? This usually only happens if there is an investigation into the maladministration of tests. So how does she get her good results and show improvements in schools???
Ms Porters improvements.... removing all experienced teaching staff and replacing them with people who work in the kitchen and unqualified support assistants! Those are Ms.Porters improvements- that is who is now teaching your children. She has removed all pastoral care and hired a Deputy who has only been teaching 3 years to help run the school! Additionally she has removed all 1-1 support - even from those children with statements who are entitled to them. Under Ms Porters direction, special needs children are taught by teaching assistants and not qualified teachers, though there are few teachers left there now as even more have left this week - having been removed from the school. Why is it that Ms Porters schools - Kings Farm and Whitehill are the only schools which have not had their SATS results released? This usually only happens if there is an investigation into the maladministration of tests. So how does she get her good results and show improvements in schools??? FrankHobbs05
  • Score: 40

8:35am Wed 23 Jul 14

dolly1978 says...

I had 2 children at kingsfarm school one child has autism and an anxiety disorder she couldn't cope with 17 children in the class the stress lead to her physically harming herself she is now expected to be in a class of over 30 children due to combining 2 classes.My other child had an exemplary school record until january changes implemented by Mrs Porter had a profound effect on my daughter.My daughter received 5 suspensions since january for a variety of reasons never were other sanctions used for minor issues my daughter now will leave with a blemished record.The changes implemented without thought or care for any pupils led to my daughter being diagnosed with tics which were exacerbated by her enviroment.More worryingly was a call I received from the head of whitehill school accusing me of slander and warning me to not comment on social networking sites in regards to kingsfarm school also stating that I had been reported to the police. I have never named an establishment or any particular person in any posts that I have made. I was called on my mobile phone at home I have no dealings with whitehill school and was most concerned that my personal number that was data protected had been handed out I asked several times who had given my details to this man but never received an answer.I also took myself to the police station regarding the allegation the police had no report of the allegation and actually wondered if I had been subject to a hoax call but after checking the number I was called on it was found to be whitehill school.I willingly showed the police officer my social networking page and she agreed that their was no slanderous comments made but was most concerned about my details being given out.The call I received was very intimidating and it is most concerning that adults behaving in such a bullying way should be in charge of schools and vulnerable children I certainly wouldn't want these people babysitting my children let alone teaching them important life lessons!!! I did make my concerns known to the l.e.a.Thankfully my child is moving to a secondary school and my 4 year old will never attend their based on our experiences.
I had 2 children at kingsfarm school one child has autism and an anxiety disorder she couldn't cope with 17 children in the class the stress lead to her physically harming herself she is now expected to be in a class of over 30 children due to combining 2 classes.My other child had an exemplary school record until january changes implemented by Mrs Porter had a profound effect on my daughter.My daughter received 5 suspensions since january for a variety of reasons never were other sanctions used for minor issues my daughter now will leave with a blemished record.The changes implemented without thought or care for any pupils led to my daughter being diagnosed with tics which were exacerbated by her enviroment.More worryingly was a call I received from the head of whitehill school accusing me of slander and warning me to not comment on social networking sites in regards to kingsfarm school also stating that I had been reported to the police. I have never named an establishment or any particular person in any posts that I have made. I was called on my mobile phone at home I have no dealings with whitehill school and was most concerned that my personal number that was data protected had been handed out I asked several times who had given my details to this man but never received an answer.I also took myself to the police station regarding the allegation the police had no report of the allegation and actually wondered if I had been subject to a hoax call but after checking the number I was called on it was found to be whitehill school.I willingly showed the police officer my social networking page and she agreed that their was no slanderous comments made but was most concerned about my details being given out.The call I received was very intimidating and it is most concerning that adults behaving in such a bullying way should be in charge of schools and vulnerable children I certainly wouldn't want these people babysitting my children let alone teaching them important life lessons!!! I did make my concerns known to the l.e.a.Thankfully my child is moving to a secondary school and my 4 year old will never attend their based on our experiences. dolly1978
  • Score: 43

8:47am Wed 23 Jul 14

dolly1978 says...

blondelolly wrote:
Fenderstratocaster - stating that this woman has a 'screw loose' is wrong.

Ms porter has made excellent challenges to schools in the area. This talking about Christmas is not true, children are not allowed to talk about Christmas before December which I completely agree with.

The staff at the school do not like the changes that have been made. Maybe they should accept them. she is trying to help the situation and make the school better.

As for the parents they clearly need to go out and get jobs instead of doing pathetic protests just to get in the news.
This headteacher has a care of duty to all pupils changes can be implemented whist monitoring the level of stress and effects that these changes have on small children and teaching staff their has clearly been no thought for the effect of changes on pupils and staff.If I ran my home in the same way this head has run the school im sure it could be seen as neglect for the welfare of my children!! of course changes need to be made and will happen naturally when a new head takes over but changes need to be positive and beneficial how can combing 2 classes,effectively doubling class sizes be beneficial other than cutting costs I can see that this is damaging unnecessary and unsettling both to the pupils and the staff who have had their work load doubled.This school had a lovely warm nuturing atmosphere about it when Mrs Garner was head teacher you were in no doubt that your child was put first and I had no concerns regarding their welfare or education.The saying a school is only ever as good as the head is certainly true in my experience!!!
[quote][p][bold]blondelolly[/bold] wrote: Fenderstratocaster - stating that this woman has a 'screw loose' is wrong. Ms porter has made excellent challenges to schools in the area. This talking about Christmas is not true, children are not allowed to talk about Christmas before December which I completely agree with. The staff at the school do not like the changes that have been made. Maybe they should accept them. she is trying to help the situation and make the school better. As for the parents they clearly need to go out and get jobs instead of doing pathetic protests just to get in the news.[/p][/quote]This headteacher has a care of duty to all pupils changes can be implemented whist monitoring the level of stress and effects that these changes have on small children and teaching staff their has clearly been no thought for the effect of changes on pupils and staff.If I ran my home in the same way this head has run the school im sure it could be seen as neglect for the welfare of my children!! of course changes need to be made and will happen naturally when a new head takes over but changes need to be positive and beneficial how can combing 2 classes,effectively doubling class sizes be beneficial other than cutting costs I can see that this is damaging unnecessary and unsettling both to the pupils and the staff who have had their work load doubled.This school had a lovely warm nuturing atmosphere about it when Mrs Garner was head teacher you were in no doubt that your child was put first and I had no concerns regarding their welfare or education.The saying a school is only ever as good as the head is certainly true in my experience!!! dolly1978
  • Score: 34

3:55pm Wed 23 Jul 14

esme18 says...

dolly1978
I am absolutely astounded and horrified by the fact your details have been given out and that you have received a phone call aimed at intimidating you. From what I have heard from staff working at the school, unless you are one of the 'in crowd' bullying and intimidation are commonplace but this is far more serious. I hope you have sought legal advice, I would be very reluctant to let them get away with that.
dolly1978 I am absolutely astounded and horrified by the fact your details have been given out and that you have received a phone call aimed at intimidating you. From what I have heard from staff working at the school, unless you are one of the 'in crowd' bullying and intimidation are commonplace but this is far more serious. I hope you have sought legal advice, I would be very reluctant to let them get away with that. esme18
  • Score: 15

12:59pm Sat 26 Jul 14

esme18 says...

blondelolly wrote:
Fenderstratocaster - stating that this woman has a 'screw loose' is wrong.

Ms porter has made excellent challenges to schools in the area. This talking about Christmas is not true, children are not allowed to talk about Christmas before December which I completely agree with.

The staff at the school do not like the changes that have been made. Maybe they should accept them. she is trying to help the situation and make the school better.

As for the parents they clearly need to go out and get jobs instead of doing pathetic protests just to get in the news.
Blondelolly - you seem to make some assumptions; do you know that the staff are leaving because they don't like all the changes that have been made rather than leaving because they do not want to work in a school run by a tyrannical head with a reputation for cheating to achieve good results?
My assumption that the later is true is based on the experiences of friends who have or are still working in schools led by Ms Porter and while I do not claim that they reflect the views of all the staff, I am confident that they represent the majority rather than a minority who are generally inexperienced or malleable staff who are promoted or given preferential treatment.

Also you assert that all the parents need to go and get jobs, is that because you know they are all unemployed? Perhaps that is why a young girl was sent out to take the names of the protesters, to check their employment records, or maybe so the head of Whitehill can bully and intimidate them the way he did Dolly1978. It is unclear why you think that the unemployed would be more interested in protesting to ensure they have their five minutes of fame rather than because they are concerned for their children's education.
I would be interested to know your view on the employment status of the parents who joined Ms Porters son and office staff to shout at the protesters. Are they also all unemployed?
[quote][p][bold]blondelolly[/bold] wrote: Fenderstratocaster - stating that this woman has a 'screw loose' is wrong. Ms porter has made excellent challenges to schools in the area. This talking about Christmas is not true, children are not allowed to talk about Christmas before December which I completely agree with. The staff at the school do not like the changes that have been made. Maybe they should accept them. she is trying to help the situation and make the school better. As for the parents they clearly need to go out and get jobs instead of doing pathetic protests just to get in the news.[/p][/quote]Blondelolly - you seem to make some assumptions; do you know that the staff are leaving because they don't like all the changes that have been made rather than leaving because they do not want to work in a school run by a tyrannical head with a reputation for cheating to achieve good results? My assumption that the later is true is based on the experiences of friends who have or are still working in schools led by Ms Porter and while I do not claim that they reflect the views of all the staff, I am confident that they represent the majority rather than a minority who are generally inexperienced or malleable staff who are promoted or given preferential treatment. Also you assert that all the parents need to go and get jobs, is that because you know they are all unemployed? Perhaps that is why a young girl was sent out to take the names of the protesters, to check their employment records, or maybe so the head of Whitehill can bully and intimidate them the way he did Dolly1978. It is unclear why you think that the unemployed would be more interested in protesting to ensure they have their five minutes of fame rather than because they are concerned for their children's education. I would be interested to know your view on the employment status of the parents who joined Ms Porters son and office staff to shout at the protesters. Are they also all unemployed? esme18
  • Score: 5

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