P.O. Box 921 Maidstone Kent ME14 5WZ
Telephone: 01622 734098 - Web site: www.support-kent-schools.org.uk

Medway Young Peoples Strategic Area Review
Learning Skills Council for Kent and Medway
26 Kings Hill Avenue
Kings Hill
West Malling
Kent ME9 4AE

26 April 2004

Dear Sirs,

Medway Young Peoples Strategic Area Review

Support Kent Schools (SKS) is an apolitical organisation whose members include parents, teachers, governors and other supporters of the status quo for Kent and Medway schools.

SKS has read with interest the Consultation Document recently published by the LSC regarding the future of post sixteen education in Medway. SKS wishes to state quite categorically that it supports the retention of Sixth Forms not only in Medway schools, but also throughout the county. There is ample evidence to show that schools' Sixth Forms are doing an excellent job, with year on year improvement in academic standards being sustained. A number of our local Sixth forms are among the very best in the entire country.

There can be no justification whatsoever for undermining the excellent work they are doing. Indeed, it would be entirely inappropriate, pending the publication of the final Tomlinson report, to suggest that a single sixth form college would lead to higher standards or could address any of the other issues allegedly identified by the LSC regarding post sixteen education in Medway.

The LSC needs to be fully aware too that the removal of Sixth Form teaching from schools would seriously add to the difficulties in recruiting and retaining well qualified teaching staff throughout the area.

That the LSC should even be contemplating a massive upheaval affecting every secondary school in Medway with judgements of success being made in an exceedingly tight timescale and against as yet undefined criteria beggars belief. We believe that Medway's secondary schools are working hard at further developing their collaborative arrangements. They should be allowed to get on with this aspect of their work supported rather than threatened by the LSC.

SKS urges the LSC Council to give full regard to its views.

The LSC Council may wish to note that SKS is an organisation that has received recognition at the highest levels and met recently with Charles Clarke, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills. The Secretary of State was interested to hear of examples of the collaborative activity already underway in Kent and Medway and of the relationships that exist between schools and the LSC. In May, SKS will also be meeting with the Leader of the Opposition, Michael Howard, to also discuss with him a number of issues raised with Charles Clarke. In addition, SKS will take the opportunity to raise the matter of the LSC proposals for Medway with Mr Howard.

Yours faithfully

Mr E Hammond
Chairman of Support Kent Schools

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