News NewLine is pulling together

NEWLine Learning Academy has halted its decline in standards and teaching is improving, say Ofsted inspectors – and the Trust behind the school. A new headteacher and new

chairman of governors alongside a corporate management team have seen improvements in pupil behav- iour and attendance. While the inspection in October

concluded the school required im- provement in all areas, it acknowl- edged great strides forward have beenmade. Future Schools Trust, which runs

New Line Learning Academy in Boughton Lane, Loose, catering for 570 boys and girls aged 11-16, also runs nearby Cornwallis Academy and Tiger Primary School. Chief executive Joshua Coleman

said: “Wewere already aware of the issues highlighted by the Ofsted in- spectors and have been taking measures to address them. “Naturally, we are disappointed

that they classified the academy as still ‘requiring improvement’ when we have made huge strides in progress in the past 12months. “The trust’s new ‘gateway’ facil-

ity,which opened at the start of the autumn term, is designed to help pupils with special educational needs, as well as complex mental and emotional issues. “This is an innovative approach

Pupils and staff at New Line Learning Acad- emy have been pulling to- gether to im- prove standards

and onewhichwe believewill reap huge rewards in due course, en- abling those pupils to remain in mainstream schooling rather than being placed in a pupil referral unit, with all that this entails.” Around 50%of the pupils atNew

Line Learning are disadvantaged – much higher than the national aver- age – and the proportion of pupils with special educational needs or

Poppy fly drop missing themark

THE pavements around the war memorial were packed for Headcorn’s Remembrance Day parade, but all eyes were on the sky as the village awaited its traditional fly-by. The two bi-planes, from Headcorn Air-

field, have graced the ceremony for the last three years. They also have the tricky task of dropping poppies on to the parade below. With much anticipation, the crowd again

wondered how close the poppies would ac- tually fall from the parade, given the preci- sionwithwhich they have to be released. This year, the window of opportunity for

their releasewas bang on, but thewind lifted the paper poppies, spreading them across the nearby railway line. Cllr Lyn Selby, chairman of Headcorn

Parish Council, which organises the annual commemorative service and tribute, thanked the pilots for their efforts – andwished them better luck next time. She said: “It’s so diffi- cult to target exactly where the poppies are going to land. One year, I think they dusted the Scouts taking part and another year they ended up in a nearby garden! “However, it has become a tradition every-

one looks forward to and the sound and sight of the planes is a special element.” This year wreaths were laid by 22 repre-

sentatives. The village’s Scout andAirCadet groups also took part,with a trumpeter per- forming the Last Post.

8 Maidstone Weald December 2017

disabilities ismuch higher, too. Classes therefore have pupils of

differing abilities and their progress is inconsistent, although the cur- riculum has been adjusted to im- prove both its breadth and balance. The report says: “Pupils, staff and

visitors to the school all report a marked change in attitudes and leaders have undertaken a robust overhaul of policies and procedures

‘Wall of silence’ on park closures

COXHEATH Parish Council have hit a wall of si- lence in their bid to save a play area earmarked for closure. The site, onWhitebeam Drive in the village, is

one of 20 thatwere saved froma blanket closure byMaidstone Borough Council (MBC) inOctober. Instead, the 20 on the list of play areas

deemed “not strategically important” by the council will now be assessed individually. The parish council are keen to ensure that the

Whitebeam Drive site (pictured), which has a slide, climbing frame and swings, is secured, but another in the village – at FairhurstDrive – is also under scrutiny. Cllr RichardWebb,who represents Coxheath on

MBC, said that it has been a frustrating process. “The parish council asked the borough council

some time ago if they can take overWhitebeam Drive,” he said. “But so far nothing has happened.

“They are frustrated by that because theywant

the play area to stay. They have somemoney to be able to care for it and, of course, that means it would stay open.” CllrWebb added: “Coxheath has been hit hard

with housing. We’re losing open space so we need play areas to encourage the kids to get out and play rather than being stuck indoors.” A spokesman for MBC said: “In the coming

months, all play areas in the borough will be re- scored against a criteria of quality, accessibility and usage. This informationwill help informdeci- sions on future provision of those play areas that are non-strategic andmay be subject to closure.”

Burial ground in need ofmore space

TWO fields are being considered as pressure grows on Headcorn to extend its cemetery. With space running out at the burial ground

behind theMethodist church, the parish coun- cil is considering an offer of land for a natural burial site off theMaidstoneRoad. Itwill also look into the possibility of using land on LenhamRoad, previously offered to the coun-

cil byMaidstoneCouncil at a peppercorn rent. Council chairman Lyn Selby said talkswere

ongoing but added: “We are aware that space in the cemetery is becoming limited and that we are legally obliged to provide space. “Coincidentally, we have been approached

by a local looking to safeguard his land and it could be that we take on both sites.”

to tackle poor attendance.” The report commends head-

teacher PaulMurphy for “getting to grips”with some of the issues at the school. Inspectors state: “The headteacher

in his current role, and in his role as deputy head last year, has worked effectively to get to grips with the school’s weaknesses. The impact of this approach is clearly evidenced in the calm, purposeful, school envi- ronment.” Mr Murphy was also praised in

the report for setting high standards and demanding them of his senior management team. But he expressed disappointment

at the report, adding: “The inspec- tion was carried out inmy first half term as head – something which is virtually unheard of. "Had the inspectors come a few

weeks later, or early in the New Year, we would have new sets of data which would have clearly evi- denced the improvements being made. "The report admits that the school

is improving and the picture painted in Week 10 is much better than the one the inspectors saw in Week 5.” Inspectors found pupils felt safe

and well cared for and classrooms were calm environments where pupils paid attention and made an effort.

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