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News War graves site


has improved MAJOR improvements have been carried out at a war graves ceme- tery on the A20 with the support of the community in Lenham. The parish council has been co-


ordinating the work at Lenham Cemetery,where the final section of rabbit fencing has nowbeen in- stalled.Anewshed, sponsored by A W Court and a local parish- ioner, has also been installed and a large compost bin, sponsored by Lenham Storage Company, is to be added. The parish council, which has


also helped with funding, says the last piece of work was made possible by a generous grant from theCommonwealthGravesCom- mission. Margo McFarlane, the parish


council’s clerk, said: “The parish council takes a pride in the ceme- tery and maintains it to a high standard and has planted trees to enhance the area. The fencingwas needed to keep out rabbits,which were burrowing under the graves and undermining the head- stones.”


Sensory plan


TANYARD Green in Holling- bourne could soon become a much nicer place to visit for those with disabilities. Hollingbourne Parish Council


has applied for a £250 govern- ment grant tomake the areamore sensory friendly for vision-im- paired villagers, those with men- tal health issues and familieswith disabled children. The Friends of Tanyard Green


Park also want to add a bench, nesting boxes and bird feeders. The application has been made


to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, which has made £1million available to sup- port pocket-sized parks.


Murder date


RAISING funds to renew the church roof is proving to bemur- der at Bearsted’sHoly Cross. The parish has called in the


ChandeliersDramaGroup to per- form a murder mystery evening called The Great British Bump Off. The event, on March 16 at Bearsted and Thurnham Memo- rial Hall, Manor Rise, includes a three course dinner with wine. There are only 80 tickets available, at £45 per head. Proceeds go to the church Raise the Roof Fund. Contact Sandra on 01622 631538 for details.


18 Maidstone East March 2019


downsmail.co.uk


Grammar slips from outstanding to good


MAIDSTONEGrammar School has slippedfrombeing an “outstanding” to a “good” school after itsmost recentOfsted inspection.


HeadmasterMark Tomkins has


written to parents accepting the “entirely fair, accurate and realis- tic” assesment of the school’s present position. Now the 570-year-old school,


which has nearly 1,300 students, has invited families and carers in for a Q&A session on February 26. Inspectors went to the Barton


Road school on January 15 and 16. The last inspection was in 2013. Mr Tomkins, pictured, writes:


“Governors identified the very many positive aspects of the re- port and remain confident that young people who receive their education atMGS will leave very well prepared tomake themost of future opportunities. “They recognise, however, that


improvements are needed in re- spect of teaching and learning and fully support the work al- ready underway in this area as


the best means of bringing about those improvements.” The Ofsted team noted that


GCSE and A level results dipped in 2017, but school leaders insti- tuted “rigorous accountability systems” tomonitor progress. The 2018 resultswere not taken


into account. The inspectors’ conclusions were generally positive, but Kent


education expert Peter Read said that its “exam performance is poor in grammar school terms”. He said: “It is a semi-super se-


lective school,which gives prefer- ence to high-performing pupils, sowhy is it doing so badly in rel- ative terms?Having said that, it is an Oftsed report most other schoolswould desire.” TheOfsted report concludes the


management has improved teach- ing quality, but there are still in- consistencies. The report says: “Better teach-


ing over the last 18monthsmeans that outcomes have improved.At- tainment is well above national levels. The progressmade by cur- rent pupils is good.” Inspectors rated pupils’ per-


sonal development, behaviour andwelfare as outstanding. The curriculum is “broad, rich


and ambitious” and the headmas- ter and deputies “lead the school with passion and determination”.


Club gets youngsters rocking


YOUNG guitarists in Bearsted are tearing up themusical rule book in a bid tomaster rock. The budding stars of tomorrow


have ditched conventionalwisdom that says players must learn acoustic guitar before switching on the amps. As a result, they are playing


power chords, and sliding and bending notes within the first six months of starting. Andmusic teacher and rock gui-


tarist Lisa Davies says that within the first year of tuition, they are even belting out AC/DC numbers. Mum-of-two Lisa, of Cross Keys,


said: “It’s amyth that you have to learn acoustic guitar first – electric guitars are so much easier to play and they sound great with effects. “Learning is so much more en-


joyable when you actually sound great… and the children love the effects on they can achieve with their amps.” Lisa’s most advanced student, 15-year-old Charlotte Pike, will be


performing the Top Gear theme tune “Jessica” at Munchies on the Meadow in CobhamonMay 4. Pictured with Lisa, from left to right, are other rising stars from


her Electric Guitar Club – Owen Rickett from Sandling Primary School, and Joshua Joseph and Charlotte Ellam from Roseacre Junior School.


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