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Kent Schools Join Forces in Trust Merger

Canterbury’s Inspira Academy Trust, which runs two primary schools in the city, is joining Folkestone’s Turner Schools in a merger that will create an organisation responsible for eight of Kent’s schools. Read on...

Created in 2016, Turner Schools runs Dover Christ Church Academy, Folkestone Academy, Folkestone Primary, Martello Primary, Morehall Primary and Turner Free School. Inspira Academy Trust has been in operation since 2021 and runs Chartham Primary School and St Stephen’s Infant School.

Dean Jones, CEO at Inspira Academy Trust, said: “As a small trust, we identified that we could offer our staff and pupils much more in terms of resources and shared expertise by joining forces with a larger trust. We are hugely proud of our two schools and we were determined to find a trust partner that would have our best interests at heart and share in our values and ethos.

“The team at Turner Schools are very much aligned with Inspira’s approach - delivering a highly ambitious education for pupils that is embedded with compassion and care. The team has made us all feel incredibly welcome and we are confident we can achieve great things together.”  

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said: “Our merger with Inspira Academy Trust means that we can offer all children attending our eight schools an even better experience thanks to our combined resources and facilities, and the high levels of knowledge and ability across the teams. It also means greater career opportunities for staff and greater capacity for professional development.

“The Inspira team have developed two highly successful, popular primary schools and we’re very much looking forward to working with them on the next phases of development for Chartham Primary School and St Stephen’s Infant School. As a trust that is well established in Folkestone, we’re looking forward to getting to know the Canterbury community and supporting children and families across the city.”

Monsters jump out of the stage as Folkestone Primary pupils enjoy theatre performance

Year 1 pupils from Folkestone Primary School, part of Turner Schools, attended a live performance of There's a Monster in Your Show at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre in Canterbury. Read on...

The show was a brand-new musical show of the well-known children’s “Who’s in Your Book?” series by Tom Fletcher.

The children were delighted with the performance which saw characters from the much loved books come to life.

Rory from Year 1 said: “It made me feel funny, the show was amazing and it was the best day ever.” Chloe added: “I was so happy because I have never seen something before and I joined in the whole time.”

Thea said: “It was fun and good to join in.” Zara added: “It was fun with the puppets and when they went into their books.”

Lynsey Tighy, the teacher who led the trip, said: “We were delighted to be able to take the children to see this live show, giving them the chance to experience live theatre.

“I am very proud of how well the children behaved and it was lovely to see how much they enjoyed the performance.”

Principal of Folkestone Primary School, Louise Feaver, said: “At Folkestone Primary, we are committed to the Turner 25 scheme, where we provide 25 enriching experiences for all pupils to take part in over the course of their primary school years.

“Attending the theatre is one of these 25 experiences and so we are delighted that the Year 1 pupils had the chance to go to the Gulbenkian Theatre.

“We look forward to seeing the Year 1s going on to experience all the other extracurricular activities that we offer, such as making and flying a kite, reading a map and using a compass, learning CPR, writing a letter to an MP and going pond dipping - all of which will help with their long-term development.”

TURNER SCHOOL digital provisions lead COMMENTS ON AI in education

Click link to read the BBC News Online article...

A basketball playing Turner Sixth Form student secures contract with professional club BC Bremerhaven

A talented teenage basketball player from Ashford is heading to Germany after securing a three-year contract to play for professional club BC Bremerhaven. Read on...

Turner Sixth Form student Kalel Davies, who recently completed his Level 3 BTEC in sport, has represented the school in basketball throughout his time at the academy. 

18 year old Kalel progressed his skills as part of the school’s Folkestone Basketball Academy, run by Mark Hinton and The Sports Trust, where he played, coached and represented the academy as a sport ambassador. Kalel has been dedicated to basketball from a young age, having also played for Saints Basketball Folkestone since he was a junior.

Now Kalel’s talent and commitment to basketball have been recognised with the offer of a three year contract with BC Bremerhaven, a professional club in Germany.  Basketball is one the most popular sports in Germany, and Kalel’s three years there will allow him to progress his training in an elite environment and develop his skills and abilities.

Kieran Cahill, Head of PE at Folkestone Academy, part of Turner Schools, said: “This is brilliant news, and recognition of Kalel’s fantastic natural talent and his unwavering determination to succeed in basketball. Kalel is a superb ambassador for the sport, and a great example of how important our sports academies are in nurturing young talent. We’re all very proud of him and can’t wait to see how his sporting career progresses.’

Kalel Davies said: “"I am very excited about the opportunity I have been offered. I’m very grateful for all the Folkestone Academy and my coaches Mark Hinton and Stuart Hunt have done in developing my skills over the short time I have been playing and their work in helping me get into the position where I am today."

TURNER SCHOOL CEO COMMENTS ON MOBILE PHONE BAN IN SCHOOLS

Click link to read the TES article...

Drug Detection Duo Jai and Jacqui Educate Students on Crime Prevention

Students at Dover Christ Church Academy were recently treated to a visit from a very special crime-fighting canine and his owner. Part of K9 Deployment, drug detection dog Jai and his handler Jacqui visited the school to explain how they help in the fight against drug-related crime. Read on...

Jacqui and the cocker spaniel attended assemblies and met with year 7, 8, 9 and 10 students to discuss their work supporting the police in tackling county lines. 

Jacqui shared her story of changing careers from being a police officer to working with dogs, and explained how Jai is her own dog which she trained personally. 

Students were thrilled to discover that Jai is employed by Liverpool Football Club and hear that Jacqui and Jai will be kept busy this summer working for Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour!

Elizabeth Brigg, Assistant Vice Principal at Dover Christ Church Academy, said: “Our students thoroughly enjoyed the visit from Jai and Jacqui. Not only did the duo open students’ eyes to career opportunities that they might not have considered, they also highlighted some of the risks facing young people around drugs, and particularly the dangers associated with county lines. 

“The old adage might advise to ‘never work with children or animals’ but I can confidently say that this wasn’t necessary here! Both Jai and our students behaved brilliantly and, considering the amount of attention and strokes Jai received, I’m sure everyone appreciated this special visit from K9 Deployment.”  

Holly in Year 10 said: "It was really interesting, I liked Jai".

Nina in Year 7 added " I really liked stroking Jai."

Pupils at Morehall Primary School will be recycling their old shoes and clothes to help reduce landfill.

Eco-minded pupils at Morehall Primary School in Folkestone have arranged for a textiles recycling bin to be set up in their playground. Read on...

Morehall Primary, part of Turner Schools, was keen to contribute to the Eco Schools movement and see what more it could do to be sustainable and support the environment.

The idea of a textiles bin was put forward by the school’s PTFA (Parent, Teacher and Friend Association) and the group worked with the school to have the bin installed. 

Pupils, parents and staff will be filling up the bin - which is already in the playground at Morehall - with unwanted, but wearable, shoes, clothes and soft toys.

The bin, provided by Astra Recycling, will be collected every two weeks and the school will receive 40p for every kilo of recycled textiles. 

Astra Recycling is a small company that promotes textile recycling to help reduce landfill waste. They have 500 textile banks across the south of England.

Their textile recycling services are available to local councils, community centres, charities, schools and the general public, giving people the chance to get something back for their unwanted textiles.

Co-chair of Morehall’s PTFA, Becky Wilson, said: “This allows the whole community to be involved in not only helping our school achieve more, but also the wider community through these donations.”

Am’e Moris, Principal of Morehall Primary, said: “We are always looking for ways to become even more sustainable as a school.

“This latest initiative will help our families and the local community recycle unwanted clothes whilst raising money for our school.

“The money will go towards the numerous eco-projects that our eco-champions have set for the future”. 

Amelia Aslett, Turner Schools’ director of food and engineering, said: “It has been a pleasure to be involved with this scheme put forward by Morehall’s PTFA.

“As a community we look forward to filling the bins and doing our bit for the environment, as well as raising funds for the school.”

Creative art scholars enjoy choral evensong at Canterbury Cathedral

A group of Year 9 students from Folkestone Academy, part of Turner Schools, were lucky enough to visit the famous Canterbury Cathedral on 7th May as part of their creative arts studies.  Read on...

The group had a guided tour of this one of England’s most famous buildings, learning about its architecture and its links to many famous names from the past like St Augustine and Thomas Becket.

Canterbury Cathedral was founded by St Augustine in 597 AD and is a place of worship, a pilgrimage destination, a masterpiece of art and architecture and one of the UK’s most visited historic sites.   

It is the “Mother Church” of the worldwide Anglican Communion and is the seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

As well as a tour, the Folkestone Academy students were treated to a private demonstration of how the organ works by the cathedral’s assistant director of music Jamie Rogers.

Mr Rogers also showed the students how evensong is rehearsed and prepared for.

The visit finished with the students being guests at the evensong service, where they experienced a centuries old tradition of musical worship. 

The aim of the tour was to provide cultural enrichment for Creative Art scholars at Folkestone Academy. 

The Creative Art Scholarship is a unique opportunity for students at Folkestone Academy to engage in the Creative Arts and experience otherwise inaccessible experiences free of charge.

Oliver, a pupil in Year 9, said: “The cathedral made me feel in awe and the evensong was an emotional experience.”

George Gasson, the Year 9 Scholars Lead, said: “This was a fantastic day out for all our students and a chance for them to broaden their cultural knowledge and awareness.

“We were very grateful to Mr Rogers for taking time out of his day to give us our own private organ recital and talk.

“The tour guides were excellent in making a bespoke tour for us and answered the children’s questions expertly.”

Michelle Foxwood, director of creative arts for Turner Schools, said: “This trip was a wonderful opportunity for the students to develop their creative skills and knowledge.

“At Turner Schools, we are committed to offering all our students a grounding in the creative arts to give them a greater depth and breadth of understanding and learning.”  

Eco pupils roll up their sleeves to clean up Folkestone beach

Pupils from Turner Free School and Morehall Primary School took part in an Eco Schools beach clean-up this week to help make the area a place for all to enjoy. Read on...

 The young people, who are on the schools’ Eco Council, met up at the beach by The Lower Leas Coastal Park to work together on this shared project.

One of their priorities for this year is “Our Coast” and the pupils chose to help clean up the beach for the local community.

Fortunately the sun was shining for the clear-up operation and the youngsters managed to fill a staggering 11 bin bags with rubbish.  

The pupils will now sort through the rubbish and they plan on creating an art project back at school with all of the recyclable material that they found.  

Year 7 pupil, Olivia, said: “I feel good that I've cleaned up my local beach. We thought it looked quite clean at first but found loads of rubbish.”

Another pupil added: “I'm pleased we have cleaned the beach for the wildlife as well as the people who use it.”

Clemmie Webster, teacher and Eco Schools Co-Ordinator at Turner Schools, said: “It was great fun to spend time with our pupils down on the beach and to help make the area more pleasant for the whole community.

“We were very lucky to have some lovely sunny weather, and we worked together to collect 11 bin bags of rubbish!  

“We will sort all of the rubbish out and are planning on creating an art project back at school with all of the recyclable material that we found.”  

Budding young Martello golfers tee off to sporting heights

Pupils from Martello Primary School got to have a swing at golf with a visit to Etchinghill Golf Club. The event saw the pupils join in a golf event where they learned how to putt and chip with golf clubs. Read on...

The group from Martello Primary was joined by six Sixth Form students from Turner Sixth Form, who are also part of Turner Schools.

The Sixth Formers helped the teachers to supervise the seven and eight year olds taking part in the trip.

Etchinghill Golf Club is set in 200 acres of rolling Kent countryside against the backdrop of the Elham Valley.

The club prides itself on having three golf courses and a driving range, as well as a restaurant and function room. 

Oscar in Year 4 thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon: “It was very fun because I have never played before. If you learn how to play it could be the best sport ever!”

Nestor, who is also in Year 4, said: “I really like it because everybody is cheering each other on to get a point.”

George added: “I like being at a real golf course, not many people get to come here.”

Michael Airey, the children’s class teacher, said: “I wanted the children to have the chance to experience playing golf on a professional course.

“The pupils really enjoyed the afternoon and hope it will inspire them to consider taking up the sport in the future.

“Learning a sport can offer so many benefits in life, such as keeping fit and healthy and building new friendships and contacts.”

Children at Turner Schools celebrate Diversity Week 2024

Speakers and even a jazz band have enlightened and entertained students at Turner Schools annual Diversity Week aimed at celebrating diversity across the trust and the wider community. Read on...

From discussions on living with neurodiversity to hearing from speakers from different faiths and cultures, students in the trust’s schools across Folkestone and Dover have heard more about other people’s life experiences.

Boxer Josh Kennedy talked about how he had coped with living with ADHD, from his struggles at school to how boxing had helped him turn his life around. In an interactive assembly, he invited staff to take part in a ten second boxing exercise to the delight of watching students.

Musical treats included Maha Rai, a key figure within the Nepalese community, who prides himself in multiculturalism, engaging with students through his indigenous drumming and dancing.

Meanwhile, some innovative students from Folkestone Academy and an ex-student brought their Roma jazz band to Morehall and Folkestone Primary, showcasing  traditional music from the Roma community, with the songs all about love and family.

Students at Turner Free School heard about diversity in politics from local district councillor Abena Akuffo-Kelly, who spoke to current T6 students and Year 11s ,about her transition from a teaching career into politics. 

Multi-faith talks included one from a local imam from the Folkestone Mosque, who spoke with students about the five pillars that the islamic faith is built upon and the celebration of Ramadan, while teacher Mr Nijjer shared his Sikh beliefs.

The students also heard a powerful talk from Lea Baynes about the importance of accepting who you are for you and being proud of all you represent by sharing his inspirational experiences about his transition.

Turner Free School, Folkestone Academy , and Dover Christ Church Academy (DCCA) also  heard from Kim and Andy from the Kenwood Trust, who talked to them about the importance of making the right choices in life, and the destruction that any substance abuse can bring, with their powerful message bringing silence to assembly halls.

Students also enjoyed local trips as part of the week including one to The Beacon cafe on Guildhall street, where they engaged with the staff, and enjoyed having cakes, hot drinks.

Elise Tordecilla, Stakeholder Engagement Manager from Turner Schools said:

“‘Celebrating and discussing diversity in all its forms is a key way for young people to learn how to show respect to others and to learn from one another through others’  life experiences.

“It is important for children to learn that it is our differences that help to make the world a better and more interesting place, whether that be through race, culture, life experience, being neurodiverse, or through our sexual orientation.

“I want to thank everyone for taking part in Diversity week and for the staff and pupils at Turner Schools for ensuring everything ran smoothly and for making our speakers feel so welcome.”

YOUNG SCIENTISTS FROM FOLKESTONE ACADEMY GET A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE

YOUNG scientists from Folkestone Academy got a glimpse into what studying Science at university might hold at an exciting science day at Canterbury Christ Church University.. Read on...

The ten Year 10 students, who are all passionate about Science, were invited to the East Kent Schools Together Science Day as the highest attaining science students in their year group.

The wide variety of scientific courses studied from Medicine to advanced STEM subjects like augmented and virtual reality were showcased during the day in three exciting workshops.

Students were introduced to XR, extended reality, where pupils designed artwork which was then brought to life from the page. Extended reality, which incorporates augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality, is intended to mirror the physical world with a digital twin which users can interact with.

To give them a taste of studying for a medical degree, they also visited a ‘mock hospital’ where they were able to use medical equipment to evaluate model dummies that really breathed and experienced a cardiac arrest. 

Finally they learnt about the world of sports engineering, using balloons to describe the design of sports equipment. 

Lily and Dominic of Year 10 at Folkestone Academy said: “We enjoyed measuring the vitals of the medical dummies in the mock hospital ward. This was a unique experience to have a deeper insight into medicine and the human body.”

Cari Taylor, Lead Teacher for STEM, said:

“Year 10 students are at the stage when they are starting to think about what they might want to study at A level and beyond and so this day was aimed at this age group to give them an insight into what studying the sciences at university looks like in the 21st century.

“From the more traditional Medical subjects that we all might think of when we think about sciences to the newer STEM subjects like XR which reflect the rapid and continuing advances in technology, the day really opened their eyes to what the future might hold.

“The students were a real credit to the school and had a great time and thanks go to Canterbury Christ Church University and East Kent Schools Together for laying on such a fascinating and insightful day.”

Parents hail Kent school pilot project for pupils with special educational needs as 'life-changing'

Parents of children with special educational needs have praised a pilot project for pupils in Kent describing it as 'life-changing.'

The Nest is based at Turner Free School in Folkestone and offers specialist support whilst educating students with additional needs within their mainstream school of around 1,000 pupils.

From the outside it looks like any normal setting, but within the classroom, pupils are working in a softer setting, which looks more like a primary school.

Watch the full news feature on Meridian News here: https://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2024-03-28/parents-hail-life-changing-project-for-pupils-with-special-educational-needs

Turner’s Got Talent 2024

Pupils from across Turner Schools in Folkestone and Dover have been showcasing their many talents at the trust’s annual ‘Turner’s Got Talent’ competition. This year’s production saw more than 30 pupils of all ages take to the stage and perform a series of superb routines, dazzling a packed theatre of friends, families and school staff. Read on...

The audience was wowed by dance numbers, musical performances, cheerleading routines and even yo-yo displays in a series of highly competitive heats, with eight acts making it through to the final showcase.

Performers had to impress a judging panel made up of Cllr Jackie Meade, Councillor for East Folkestone, Tim Smith,  Music Producer at local recording studio ‘Seaview Studio’, Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy and Am’e Moris, Principal at Morehall Primary.

The Best in Primary award, presented by Steve Shaw, went to Indie-Lew from Morehall Primary, with a live drawing of a dinosaur to the ‘Jurassic Park’ theme tune, while Best in Secondary, presented by Tim Smith, was Ivan from Turner Sixth Form performing on the guitar ‘Ronda alla Turca’ by Mozart.

The Murphy Prize, named after Turner Schools CEO Seamus Murphy and awarded to the act who shows the most potential for the future, was awarded to Martello Primary’s Nestor, who performed ‘Scarborough Fair’ on the trumpet.

Finally, the overall winners of Turner’s Got Talent 2024,awarded by Cllr Jackie Meade, were announced: Folkestone Academy’s students, Beth, Ava, Leah, Angel, Esme and Eden who performed ‘Ex-Wives’ from the musical Six.

Michelle Foxwood, Director of Creative Arts at Turner Schools, said:

“Once again the pupils of theTurner Schools Trust have provided an outstanding evening of entertainment. Their talent and confidence is testament to the creative education at their schools and to our ethos of striving for excellence.”

Leah Whiting, from the Folkestone Academy ‘Ex-Wives’ performance, said: 

We were so happy about winning the competition that we cried! It was such an amazing experience to be able to perform in front of so many people. We’re so proud of our achievement.”

Tim Smith, Owner of Seaview Studios, said: 

"It is so exciting to see how much talent there is in the next generation and I am thrilled to see that being nurtured in these schools"

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“I was delighted to see the variety of talents on show this evening. Well done to all who reached the final and congratulations to all the winners”. 

Students across Folkestone and Dover attend STEM Careers Fair

More than 30 leading science, tech and engineering organisations have showcased potential career opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) to students in Folkestone and Dover. Read on...

Companies including: Invvu Construction Consultants, Church & Dwight, Saga, Eurotunnel, Jenner, Swiss Re, NHS Pharmaceuticals, and Digital Kent all exhibited at Turner Schools’ annual Careers Fair, which focused on STEM this year.

Hundreds of students were able to access the careers fair as it toured three schools within the Turner Schools group - Turner Free School in Folkestone in January, Folkestone Academy in February and Dover Christ Church Academy (DCCA) in March. 

Students in Dover were able to take part in the careers fair for the first time since the school became part of Turner Schools.  As part of the Trust’s fully inclusive approach, all pupils from the Aspen 2 Specialist Provision at Dover Christ Church Academy also participated in the fair.

As well as exhibitors introducing students to job roles that utilise STEM subjects, a range of further and higher education providers including Canterbury Christ Church University and East Kent College were on hand to explain the qualifications they offered in STEM.

Pupils across all year groups attended the careers fair, enabling them to learn more about the wide range of career opportunities available in these industries and ask employers more detailed questions.

Katy Tibbles, Trust Head of Careers, explained: 

“Every year we run a series of careers fairs that link to a specific sector. This means that pupils get a more in-depth look at that particular industry and a greater insight into the wide variety of roles, not just those that are well known. 

“This year, we focused on STEM and it was great to have so many local companies attend the fairs and provide engaging activities that inspired the pupils to consider careers in this field.”

Fiona Dryburgh, Invvu Construction Consultants, commented:

‘We had a fantastic experience at the Turner Schools STEM Career Fairs, engaging with students (who were brilliant!), sharing insights into our work, and shedding light on career paths within the construction industry.

“At INVVU, we are passionate about enlightening students of all ages about the diverse opportunities in Engineering and Construction Design, showcasing the dynamic careers available in this field.

“We find that many students associate engineering solely with repairing cars or machines. However, the field of engineering encompasses much more than this and is intricately intertwined with everything we encounter in our daily lives from roads to bridges, schools to drainage systems, lighting and heating.

“Given the skills shortage in the UK, we recognize the importance of our role in inspiring future talent to explore careers within our industry, and after meeting lots of switched on and engaged students, at the Turner Schools - the future looks bright!’.”

Pupils from DCCA were delighted to attend the fair for the first time:

“I found it really interesting finding out all about different jobs I could do in the future and I hope we can do this again.” - Stanley, year 8 DCCA. 

Budding Mathematicians head to Primary Schools Maths Challenge

Budding mathematicians from 15 primary schools across Folkestone and Hythe pitted their wits against each other at an annual competition in Folkestone.

Folkestone Academy, part of the Turner Schools group, hosted the 13th annual Primary Schools Maths Challenge, welcoming 60 Year 5 pupils to the school for a day of mathematical fun and intense competition. Read on...

Competitors were welcomed by Dr Ed Cohen who is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Statistics in the Department of Mathematics at Imperial College London, one of the most pre-eminent Mathematics departments in the world.

Dr Cohen spoke to the pupils about being a mathematician and outlined some of the exciting projects he has worked on before officially opening the competition.

Pupils took part in six rounds aimed at bringing Maths and numbers to life and encouraging children to have fun with numbers: Speed Test, Murder Mystery, Codebreaking, Number Problems, Numbers Crossword and Number Relay Game.

Overall honours were scooped by pupils from St Augustine’s Catholic School with St Martin’s CofE Primary School in second place and Christ Church CofE Primary Academy in third.

Also taking part were pupils from Folkestone Primary, Martello Primary, Morehall Primary, Mundella Primary, Seabrook CofE Primary, St Nicholas CofE Primary Academy, Palmarsh Primary School, The Churchill School, St Eanswythe’s CofE Primary, St Mary’s  CofE Primary Academy, Selsted CofE Primary School and Stella Maris Catholic Primary School.

Winners were presented with a trophy and a maths gift set, including a scientific calculator and a geometry set, by Steve Shaw, Principal of Folkestone Academy.

All the competitors were presented with certificates and good bags.

Keith Denchfield, Director of Maths at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“The Maths Challenge was set up to encourage primary age children to have fun with numbers and learn to love and appreciate them before any prejudices or fears about the subject creep in. It was inspiring to see the enjoyment the children competing had for the subject and I hope that continues to grow into their secondary years.”

Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“We were delighted to host such an educational and fun event for local primary schools, encouraging the competitors in their love of Maths.

“We were also honoured to welcome Dr Ed Cohen to the school to talk to the children about his own love of the subject and his amazing career. It is so important for children to be inspired at an early age, particularly in Maths which has perhaps suffered more than other academic subjects in terms of negative perceptions.”

 Dr Ed Cohen said: 

“From explaining the world around us, to driving forward the latest developments in technology and artificial intelligence, mathematics is a remarkable subject that will continue to touch almost every aspect of our lives. There has never been a more exciting time to be a mathematician, and events like this are vital in nurturing and energising the next generation. It was wonderful to share the day with this bright, fun, and diverse group of budding mathematicians.”

‘Schools should educate about mobile phones, not ban them’

TES Article: Tuesday 12th March 2024

The debate on mobile phones in schools is too one-sided – a more education-focused approach rather than an outright ban might have better outcomes, argues Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools. Click on link to read on...

KENT SCHOOL TRUST WINS NATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR CAREERS EDUCATION

THE academy trust which educates over 4000 pupils from Folkestone and Dover, many of them from deprived areas, has won national recognition for its careers education.

Turner Schools, which runs three primary, three secondary schools and one Sixth Form in the region, has been named as one of ten careers education champions in the Careers Excellence 2024 awards, and was the only academy trust recognised. Read on...

The prestigious awards, run annually by the national body for careers education in England - The Careers and Enterprise Company, celebrate excellence in careers education.

They select just ten careers education champions, whose collective effort has promoted skills and great outcomes for young people, from thousands nationwide.  

This year’s awards recognised champions who stood out in three areas: Widening Opportunity, Building Future Skills and Raising Quality.

Turner Schools, which runs schools including Folkestone Academy, Turner Free School in Folkestone and Dover Christ Church Academy in Dover, was recognised in the Raising Quality section, for “demonstrating exemplary leadership in improving the standard of careers provision in their area”, according to the selection panel, who said:

“The Trust has demonstrated strategic leadership for careers across all its schools and built strong relationships with local employers.”

The panel also recognised that Turner Schools’ achievement in careers education was even greater because a higher number of the trust’s students – 44% compared to the national average of 24% - were eligible for free school meals. A higher figure is often equated to increased disadvantages faced by children in education and beyond.

The panel reported: “They progress to a wide range of post-16 destinations, with a mix of academic and vocational pathways, suggesting that pupils are well informed of the different options available to them.”

Turner Schools was awarded the accolade during National Careers Week in a ceremony at the House of Lords, attended by Seamus Murphy, Turner Schools’ CEO and Katy Tibbles, Trust Head of Careers, and hosted by Baroness Nicky Morgan, with the keynote speech given by Lord David Blunkett. 

Seamus Murphy, Turner Schools’ CEO said:

“I was delighted to have our careers provision celebrated at such a high profile event. Our strategic focus on the importance of careers education is a reflection of the trust vision for excellence in education for all and a vindication of the investment we have put in our amazing staff and partnerships.”

Katy Tibbles, Head of Careers at Turner Schools, said: 

“It was an absolute honour to be recognised for raising quality at The Careers and Enterprise Company’s Careers Excellence Awards. 

“As a trust we recognise the importance and impact of good careers education for all young people to ensure that they can take their best next step as they progress through education and into the world of work. 

“Having worked hard for a number of years to create a meaningful and rigorous careers programme that meets the needs of all pupils across our schools, it means a lot to us to receive this award.”

Martello Primary recognised for quality of inclusive education with prestigious national award

Staff and students at Martello Primary are celebrating receiving a national award recognising the quality of education on offer. The Folkestone primary school has been named a Centre of Excellence after receiving the prestigious Inclusion Quality Mark (IQM).  Read on...

The IQM is a national award which recognises the work that staff at Martello Primary, part of Turner Schools, does to support students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

Key highlights from the report include: 

To be eligible for the IQM, Martello staff filled out a comprehensive self-evaluation of how Martello is inclusive across all areas of school life. They then had a whole-day assessment where a trained evaluator came to school to meet with pupils, staff, school leaders and parents, before agreeing the school was worthy to be named a Centre of Excellence. 

Natalie Barrow, Principal at Martello Primary, said: 

“We are all delighted to be named a Centre of Excellence and to be awarded the Inclusion Quality Mark. Our team works so hard to make sure every pupil receives a great education, regardless of their individual challenges, and are so great at adapting their teaching so that everyone can benefit.

“I was so pleased that the assessor specifically commented on how we ‘just make inclusion work’ here, and how the whole school feels like a family. It was also fantastic that they included in their report our Year 6 pupil saying that ‘Martello was a small school with big memories’ as our staff work so hard every day to make sure that is the case.” 

Folkestone students learn about technology careers with Holiday Extras

A Hythe holiday company has partnered with two Folkestone schools to showcase potential careers in technology to their students. Young people from Turner Free School and Folkestone Academy have visited Holiday Extras as part of their wider careers programme to learn more about how the Hythe company uses cutting-edge technology as part of their package to holiday makers.  Read on...

Holiday Extras is a forward thinking, local company specialising in technology, software engineering and product development. Their state-of-the-art offices cater for more than 800 employees and with a mantra of 'no fun, no point' they're an enticing employment route for young people. 

Students on the trip enjoyed a tour of the amazing campus facilities, learned about different job roles and entry routes, including apprenticeships, and also had the opportunity to learn about the exciting impact of artificial intelligence on business development.

The trip was organised as part of the Turner Schools careers programme which aims to provide pupils with the knowledge, skills and experiences they need to make informed choices about their future. 

As well as the Year 10 visits, Holiday Extras have also recently supported schools in the trust by attending their STEM Careers Fairs and talking to sixth form students about their apprenticeship opportunities.

Nicola Boston, Culture & Experience Lead, said:

“It was an absolute pleasure to host both Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School at our campus. Our mission is to inspire and educate local young people about the world of career possibilities available to them - these visits were the perfect opportunity to do this. The students had fun experimenting with the latest AI technology as well as learning about how it’s transforming our business operations.”

Chloe, a Year 10 student at Turner Free School, said: 

“Going to Holiday Extras was lots of fun. I really liked the environment and the building, it made me think that it would be a fun place to work - everyone seemed to be enjoying what they were doing. It was really inspiring to learn about artificial intelligence and how it’s being used more by businesses. It made me realise that jobs will look very different by the time I go to work.”

Katy Tibbles, Head of Careers at Turner Schools, said: 

“It’s a privilege to work with supportive and innovative companies such as Holiday Extras. As a local business, they will offer real career opportunities for our young people as they progress into the world of work. Visits such as these inspire pupils and help them navigate their way through education and on to meaningful employment in the future.”

Folkestone Academy horticultural students enjoy day at world-class botanical haven

Students from Folkestone Academy with a passion for horticulture spent the day surrounded by the natural world on a visit to RHS Garden Wisley, a world-class botanical haven renowned for its stunning displays and educational opportunities. Read on...

The purpose of the visit was to provide students interested in horticulture with a firsthand experience of a nationally recognised garden, offering insights into the diverse world of plants and the various tasks involved in horticultural practices.

The day kicked off with a walk weaving through areas adorned with spring bulbs and vibrant red Cornus (Dogwood). The students took part in a photo scavenger hunt where they had to take pictures of plants with different attributes, including pink, spiky, or variegated, and note down both the Latin and common names.

They then entered the Glasshouse, where the students were transported to the tropical and desert ecosystems, marvelling at the unique flora curated by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). The RHS team then led an interactive session with a diverse range of activities, from identifying plants which contribute to wellbeing, exploring bugs and microorganisms in the soil, to participating in garden maintenance tasks and team-building exercises like constructing support structures for climbing plants.

Before the visit came to an end, the Folkestone Academy students enjoyed the Bonsai walk and Alpine Houses, before taking in the view of Wisley from the summit of the Alpine Garden.

Shyla, a Year 8 student at Folkestone Academy, said:

“I really loved going to Wisley, I especially loved going into the Glasshouse and seeing all of the tropical plants and how big they can grow.”

Demi, a Year 8 student at Folkestone Academy, said:

“My favourite part of the session with the RHS team was doing the bug hunt and seeing what bugs can be found under logs in the garden.”

Alexandra Peacock, Horticulture Lead at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“The trip to RHS Garden Wisley was a tremendous success, with our students fully immersed in the world of high-class horticulture. It was fantastic to witness their enthusiasm across the various activities organised by the RHS team and they really enjoyed the day.

‘This visit not only broadened their understanding of horticulture but also sparked a newfound passion for the subject. We are committed to providing unique opportunities like this to ensure our students receive the best possible education which extends far beyond the classroom.”

Turner Free School hosts chess tourney

Students at Turner Free School have welcomed competitors from two other Kent schools  for an exhilarating chess tournament. The contest, which saw fierce competition among teams from Dover Grammar School for Boys, Harvey Grammar School, and Turner Free School, showcased remarkable talent and strategic prowess from the young chess enthusiasts. Read on...

With five rounds of intense gameplay, the tournament witnessed captivating moves and tactical manoeuvres from all participating teams. Players had to display all their focus, determination, and skill, as they battled it out on the chessboard.

Despite the fierce competition, the Harvey A Team emerged as the victors, with their teamwork and strategic acumen clear throughout the tournament. Three of the best individual players also hailed from the Harvey A Team, further highlighting their talent and dedication to the game.

The players from Turner Free School showed their own commendable sportsmanship and determination throughout the tournament. 

Max, a Year 9 student from the Turner Free School team, said: 

“I really appreciated the fact that there were many competitive players. I was very proud of the team as we had a great team performance!”

Francesca Fozard, who runs the Turner Free School chess team, said: 

“Congratulations to the Harvey Grammar School A Team on winning this fantastic chess tournament. They showed considerable ability, dedication, and strategic insight over the course of the day and really deserved to come out on top. 

“I would like to thank all our players for showing such sportsmanship and commitment to the game, which helped make this such a successful event. Well done to the Turner Free School team as well, as Aidan, Dhan, Max, Johan, Oscar, and William, all demonstrated their passion for the game and competed with unwavering determination.”

The tournament not only provided an opportunity for students to showcase their skills but also fostered camaraderie and sportsmanship among participants. As chess continues to inspire and engage young minds, events like these serve as a testament to the enduring appeal and intellectual challenge of the game

Folkestone students enjoy mobile planetarium, museum trips, and science challenges

Students across Folkestone Academy have welcomed the opportunity to take their Science learning to the next level this term. Staff have organised a range of different activities to bring Science teaching to life and ensure their young people keep learning both in and outside of the classroom. Read on...

As part of this, Year 7 students had the opportunity to explore the Mobile Inflatable Planetarium, a large inflatable dome which projected stellar animations for students to enjoy in our space topic. Students had a fantastic time learning about how the universe was created, how it formed atoms, then molecules then planets and finally life itself.

Meanwhile, Year 8 pupils embarked on a long journey to the London Science Museum this term to experience the history of science, seeing things such as the oldest engine in the world, Crick and Watson’s model of DNA, the space suit of the first Briton in space, and a real piece of the moon. 

Finally, Six Year 8 pupils took part in the Faraday Challenge at the Folkestone School for Girls, a cross-curricular STEM activity day which awarded all 6 students with an Industrial Cadets Challenger Award for completing a hands-on problem solving and critical thinking activity. After completing the day the students will now receive a CREST Discovery Award from the British Science Association.

Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“There has been a real buzz in the air around science this term and I am delighted that we’ve managed to offer so many different opportunities to our students to help bring their learning to life. This is so important to make sure students engage with their studies and really see how they can apply this to life after school.

“It has been fantastic for our younger years to experience not one but two Turner 25 science events. These are designed to enrich their learning and broaden their horizons outside of their traditional academic work. We can’t wait to give more opportunities to our budding scientists in the future.” 

Folkestone Academy selected to work with youth sport experts on groundbreaking Young Ambassadors initiative 

Folkestone Academy is proud to announce it is one of three schools across the country to work with the Youth Sport Trust (YST) in the development of a groundbreaking Young Ambassadors Leadership Programme. Read on...

The initiative aims to empower young people to drive opportunity, engagement, and positive change within the realm of sports, both in their educational settings and beyond. It is student-led, with young people exploring ways to empower themselves and others to promote physical activity among their peers.

The focus includes strategies to ensure that all voices within the school community are heard, fostering an environment of inclusivity and positive change.

The partnership began with an interactive workshop led by a YST tutor, engaging students with fun activities to encourage a discussion about their experiences of leadership. The wide-ranging conversation covered the significance of Youth Voice, the potential career pathways supported by being a Young Ambassador, and the motivational factors that inspire young leaders to make a difference.

The collaboration will continue, with Folkestone Academy set to meet with other pilot schools in term 6 for a larger event. The school is honoured to contribute to the development of the Young Ambassadors Leadership Programme, reinforcing its commitment to fostering leadership skills and positive change among its student body.

Beth, a Year 10 pupil at Folkestone Academy, said:

"A great morning talking and thinking about how we can improve in sport."

Louisa Eede, Director of Sport at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“This is a fantastic opportunity involving our young people from Folkestone Academy as part of this national programme for Sport Ambassadors. This groundbreaking initiative empowers our young people to take charge of opportunities, engage with their peers, and drive positive change, not just within the school but extending beyond.

“This programme aligns perfectly with our commitment to nurturing leadership skills and creating an environment where our students can thrive. We look forward to the continued collaboration and the positive impact this programme will undoubtedly have on our students' lives."

Dover Christ Church Academy students find out how to use their school skills in the industry at football careers fair 

Young people from Dover have spent a day with football professionals to learn more about potential career roles in the sector. The Year 10 sports students from Dover Christ Church Academy took part in the Charlton FC Careers Day at Ashford FC to find out more about how they could use their school studies in the sporting world. Read on...

Pupils from Years 7 to 13 worked with Academy drama, music, and dance teachers to put on a sensational show. In all, 35 pupils contributed to the final production, either through performing or working backstage to support their peers. With the support of sound and lighting engineers the full stage production allowed pupils to deliver a truly professional performance.

After all their hard work and dedication, pupils performed four shows. They performed two matinee shows to 90 primary school pupils from the local area and the Creative Arts Scholarship students from the academy, followed by two evening shows to sell-out audiences of family, friends, and staff members.

Mr Woodbridge, Drama Teacher at Folkestone Academy who organised the event, said: 

“Congratulations to all of our pupils involved with the Little Shop of Horrors performance! They have worked so hard over the past six months and it was fantastic to see this all come together to form a remarkable performance which showcased the talent that we have here at Folkestone Academy. I am incredibly proud of their hard work and dedication and who knows, we could be looking at the next Westend star.”

Kaitlyn Leizert, who played the dentist and voiced Audrey II, said: 

“It was an extraordinary experience that I will never forget. I especially enjoyed working with the band as it made the production feel more professional. We could not have produced such a successful performance without the support of the stage, lighting and sound crew as well as the hard work and dedication of our teachers Mr Woodbridge and Mr Field.”

Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy, said:

“The pupils have really enjoyed the experience of participating in the production, and have demonstrated great resilience through working all day at school and then rehearsing in the evening. All their hard work clearly paid off as the actual performance was fantastic! Thank you to Mr Woodbridge as well for his great work in organising the event and pulling this spectacular production together.

“This musical is a great example of the opportunities we want to offer all pupils across Turner Schools. Productions like this give young people the chance to see how a large-scale performance really works; whether they’re up on stage or working behind the scenes they are developing key skills and learning more about life outside of the classroom.”

Folkestone Academy and Turner Free school musicians join peers from across the town for Orchestra Workshop Day with Kent Music 

Folkestone students from a number of schools have come together for an Orchestra Workshop Day with Kent Music at Folkestone School For Girls. Enthusiastic participants from Folkestone Academy, Turner Free School, Harvey Grammar School, and Brockhill Park School collaborated for a day of musical practices and performances. Read on...

Enthusiasm permeated the air as novices and seasoned musicians alike gathered to create a symphonic spectacle. The workshop provided a platform for students to showcase their talents and join forces in creating awe-inspiring renditions of iconic pieces. From the pulsating "Mambo" from West Side Story to the enchanting "Hedwig's Theme" from Harry Potter, and the formidable "Imperial March" from Star Wars, the repertoire captivated both participants and spectators.

Throughout the day, the students not only honed their musical skills under the guidance of Kent Music professionals but also forged new friendships and bonds through the universal language of music. Throughout the workshop students went beyond the boundaries of their individual schools to create a truly creative environment where all could collaborate and share their passion for music.

Over the course of the day, it became evident that the workshop had a profound impact on the participants. The echoes of their performances lingered in the air, leaving a lasting impression on everyone present. The event showcased not only the musical abilities of the students but also instilled in them a deep sense of achievement and camaraderie.

Mr Field, Director of Music at Folkestone Academy, said:

“We would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Folkestone School for Girls and Kent Music for organising this transformative event. The Orchestra Workshop Day stands as a testament to the power of music to inspire, unite, and unlock the boundless potential of young talent.

“It was truly awe-inspiring to see these incredible young people’s collective efforts transformed into a crescendo of confidence as they harmonised with fellow musicians, their spirits soaring with each note. It is a shining example of the collaborative spirit within our local schools and the commitment to fostering creativity and camaraderie among our students.”

Jasmin Year 8 pupil at FA said: “It was really good how we were able to play in sync so well together even though we had only been rehearsing for that day. I definitely would like to do something like this again!”

Michael, Year 9 pupil at TFS said: “It was brilliant to meet other musicians from the local area and to find out more about them.”

Folkestone Academy puts on full-scale performance of Little Shop of Horrors for local primary schools and families

Pupils from Folkestone Academy have basked in the limelight after putting on an exceptional performance of Little Shop of Horrors. The talented performers have spent the past six months rehearsing and putting their own twist on the musical before performing for their local community.  Read on...

Pupils Attend Charlton Athletic FC CareerAs part of the Careers Day, the students learned how to put theory into practice by finding out more about the potential jobs on offer at a professional football club. They heard from industry professionals who spoke about their roles in football coaching, fitness testing, and physiotherapy, explaining to the interested students how they got into their current roles and what it takes to gain these positions.

The students also had the chance to participate in a series of sporting activities, including working with trained football coaches, to learn more about what it takes to put on a successful session. This could prove to be an invaluable experience as they learn more about football coaching and how to bring the best out of the players they work with.

Mollie, a Year 10 student from Dover Christ Church Academy, said: 

“This day gave me a real insight into different jobs in sport and made it feel possible that I could actually go on to earn money from this industry. When I leave school I would like to pursue a career in coaching and bodybuilding. It was a great experience for us as sports studies students as it linked into the course so well.”

Honey, a Year 10 student from Dover Christ Church Academy, said: 

“I really like how the day was split up into different careers and how hands on it was. We were challenged and pushed physically and mentally. It has given me confidence in what I want to do. As I now want to be a physiotherapist.” 

Joshua, a Year 10 student from Dover Christ Church Academy, said: 

“I really enjoyed this day, especially the football sections, where we got to train like professional football players, looked at analysing performances and also the different tests players might go through. It allowed me to see what top level coaching was like and has given me even more confidence to go on and pursue my career dream of being a football player or high level coach.”

Tom Durrant, Head of PE at Dover Christ Church Academy, said: 

“Thank you to Charlton FC, Ashford FC and the different universities for organising such a fantastic Careers Day for our sports students. They had an amazing time learning about the different careers that are available within professional football clubs, and how they can use the skills they’re learning in school to forge a career.

“This was a useful and unforgettable day for our young people, and I know they found it absolutely fascinating. Well done to all our students as well for being such incredible representatives of our academy and really impressing everyone they spoke to.”

Morehall Primary School honoured for ‘Changing the World’ with their eco-friendly policies

Staff and pupils from Morehall Primary School are celebrating after being honoured for their environmentally conscious work at the Green School Awards. The school won the award for ‘Changing the World’ in recognition of their efforts to help make the planet a better place. Read on...

At the Awards, the Morehall children were given the opportunity to show off their eco-projects to other guests as well as learning what other local schools are doing to help protect the environment.

The Morehall pupils showcased their work sending their food waste to be turned into energy pellets, growing their own vegetables, rewilding the school field, and planting more trees.

The Green School Awards recognise pupils, students, schools, and colleges who are making a real difference to the environment and celebrates their success.

Dorothy, a pupil at Morehall Primary School, said: 

“We got to show people what we have done at Morehall and find out what either schools have been doing. The tea and biscuits were delicious! It was nice to see all the videos of the schools who won the awards. I felt proud of what Morehall had achieved.”

Tessie, a pupil at Morehall Primary School, said:

“When we arrived we went into a big hall where there were lots of stalls to look at to see what other schools have done . There was a stage where the awards were. When we got up to collect our award they showed the school's eco video. We got a gift bag with a cup, bottle, notepad and eco friendly things. I felt proud and happy of what the school had done and that I got to go up on stage to collect an award.”

Am’e Moris, Principal at Morehall Primary School, said:

“We are so happy for the children to receive this recognition of their efforts to make the school more environmentally friendly. Our pupils have worked so hard to become an Eco School and have taken this project really seriously, coming up with lots of new initiatives to make the school greener and to reduce our energy consumption.

“They were delighted just to be invited to attend the Green School Awards, and when they learned that we had won an award they were beside themselves! This is a wonderful achievement for the school and something we will all celebrate. I’m sure our children will continue to come up with great new ideas to make the school even more environmentally friendly.”

Folkestone pupils plant hundreds of trees in whole school day of environmental learning

Pupils from Martello primary school have celebrated National Tree Week by organising their own ‘Tree Day’ event. Martello Primary School held the event to help foster a deeper connection with nature and instil a sense of environmental responsibility to its students.. Read on...

The initiative, spearheaded by Kate Yates, Forest School Lead at Martello, came about after the Woodland Trust donated 270 trees to the school. Kate and the school leadership decided to mark the planting of these trees by dedicating a day to helping children understand how the natural world around them enters into their classroom learning. 

To make this happen, every teacher at Martello designed their own tree-based activity to form part of a different lesson:

Throughout the day, the children had the opportunity to rotate between classes, fostering cross-year interactions as well as a wider understanding of the importance of trees. This interdisciplinary approach not only enriched their knowledge but also created an engaging and immersive learning environment.

All the activities tied in with one of Martello’s core values: Responsibility. Throughout the day, pupils learned more about how to take care of trees and the collective responsibility we all share in helping to preserve and nurture the world around us. 

The highlight of the day came at 1430 when the entire school, from the youngest Reception children to the eldest Year 6 pupils, as well as the entire staff team, gathered on the school field. In an inspiring display of unity, everyone there took part in the ceremonial planting of a tree, marking a collective commitment to environmental stewardship.

Pasha Year 6 said : 

“It was really fun to experience different activities throughout the day and enjoy the day with teachers who we might not see everyday. My other classmates also seemed really engaged and we could tell the teachers had gone to a lot of  effort to prepare such a wonderful day for us. The day went far too quickly.”

Lana Year 4 said:

“It was fun planting the tree as a whole school at the end of the day , my favourite activity was DT and getting to make a working toy.”

Rudi Year 2 said: 

“Tree day was amazing, I really enjoyed learning about the 4 different groups of trees through the art of poetry in year 6 with Mr Waterman.

Kate Yates, Forest School Lead at Martello Primary School, said: 

"The children had a wonderful time throughout the day, immersing themselves in activities that not only expanded their knowledge but also instilled a deep appreciation for nature. We know how seriously our pupils take learning about the environment and what we can do to protect it, so opportunities like this are vital to help them understand their place in the natural world. 

Natalie Barrow, Principal at Martello Primary School, said:

“We all loved taking part in ‘Tree Day’ and it was a fantastic success. Having each year group participate in a different tree-based activity in different subjects showed them how integral trees and wildlife are to so many facets of our lives. Thank you to Kate and all our staff for their hard work and enthusiasm in making this happen. 

“The celebration was a testament to the vibrant and inclusive learning environment we cultivate at Martello Primary School, and we are already thinking about the new and exciting learning experiences we can offer here in the future. ”

Folkestone pupils welcome HeadStrong singers into school for joint concert

Year 4 pupils at Morehall Primary have welcomed a local singing group into school for a joint concert as part of an intergenerational community project. The HeadStrong singers, a local singing group for adults who have had any head or brain affecting injury or illness, visited the school as part of their "Generation Link" project, where they enjoyed singing together on a range of songs spanning the 1940s through to the 2020s. Read on...

Both Morehall pupils and HeadStrong singers suggested songs from different eras for the group to practice and perform together.

The group have been singing with Morehall Primary pupils for the past three years in a relationship which brings so much to both the adults and children involved.

The choir have also come to watch plays put on by the school in the past and the children will enjoy visiting the HeadStrong singers at their rehearsal space at Wood Avenue library later on in the new year.

HeadStrong first connected with the school after researching the benefits of intergenerational musical schemes, and how these improve the emotional and physical wellbeing of all those taking part. It also helps Morehall pupils to force closer links with their local community, including those they might otherwise not have met.

Duncan Moris, choir leader of HeadsStrong singers: It was such a wonderful afternoon - the excellent singing and beaming smiles just proved how much both the adult choir and the children enjoy the Generation Link Project, bringing together two groups of people who might not otherwise interact. 

Ellie Ayers, Year 4 teacher at Morehall Primary: The children had so much fun learning the songs with Duncan and were excited to hear how the HeadStrong singers had got on learning the modern songs they had suggested! We can't wait to build on this relationship and continue meeting up to sing and chat together, bringing the generations together.

Visually impaired Folkestone student wins Remarkable Achievement Award in recognition of musical skills

A Folkestone student has been honoured for overcoming incredible challenges with his remarkable commitment to music. Theo Oakley, who was born blind due to Norrie Disease, was recognised for his exceptional skills in music at the Wards Children’s Awards. Read on...

Theo, from Turner Free School and previously Morehall Primary, received the Remarkable Achievement Award. This was in recognition of his passion, skills, and accomplishments in music despite the challenges he has faced. 

He takes part in Folkestone Academy’s weekly Folkestone Music Lab to further develop his musical skills. He also hosts a weekly Sunday morning show on Folkestone Academy FM from 0900 – 1000.

Theo enjoys making music through remixing songs and experimenting with drum machines. In partnership with his Music Lab tutor Oli they have explored production sounds and deepened Theo’s understanding of musical progressions, chords, and different instrumental sounds. They are now working on further developing Theo’s remixing skills at the Music Lab.

The Folkestone Music Lab runs every Saturday morning in term time at Folkestone Academy. The Music Lab also offers some financial support to those families who are interested in pursuing further musical experiences but are unable to access these.

The Wards Childrens Awards have been running for 20 years and are designed to celebrate the amazing achievements of children, families, and charities in Kent despite the challenges they may face. The awards are organised by estate agents Wards and supported by the KM Group and Kent Community Foundation, and this year were hosted by Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins.

Theo said: It’s great to get an award especially  as sometimes it’s difficult for me to access music lessons due to being blind. I love to be creative with music and enjoy the remixing of tunes.”

Mandy Sangiuseppe, Inclusion Development Manager at the Folkestone Music Lab, said:

“Theo is a truly inspiring and committed young individual, who has a wonderful sense of humour and committed ideas of what he wants to achieve in the sessions… We are immensely proud of what Theo has achieved in his time whilst attending the Lab and look forward to following and supporting his musical journey!“

Folkestone student honoured with Young Artist award

A young artist from Folkestone Academy has had her work honoured by the Folkestone Art Society. Katie Inge from Folkestone Academy won the Gloria Gordon Award for Young Artists’ Sketchbooks (A Level category) after impressing judges with the quality of her work. Read on...

Like many amazing young artists, Katie used her sketchbook to show her development of her ideas and experimentation of techniques and processes. Katie's project focused on 'sleeping' and how sleep was linked to early childhood development.

She looked at various artists including Tracey Emin and visited her sculptures in Folkestone titled 'Baby Things'. Katie's sketchbook was a fascinating journey into her ideas as an artist and presented an honest perspective about her life. 

The Gloria Gordon Awards are sponsored by Graham Gordon in memory of his wife Gloria and are judged by an independent panel.

For young artists the use of a sketchbook is crucial in developing their skills but can also present a fascinating insight and perspective on life. The Awards are intended to find and celebrate excellence in the creation of an art and design student’s sketchbook and the impact that has on their finished pieces.

For receiving the award, Katie was honoured with a trophy in the form of an art deco dancer, as well as a cash prize.

Katie Inge said: 

“I am delighted to have received the Gloria Gordon sketchbook award and am honoured to have been recognised for my hard work over the course of my A-levels.”

Miss Diwell, Art Teacher at Folkestone Academy, said:

“We are extremely proud of Katie for winning this prestigious award. She is an extremely talented and multi disciplined artist, who has worked hard over the years to hone her skill in drawing, painting, embroidery and photography to create beautiful artworks both inside and outside her sketchbook.”

Folkestone Primary celebrates decade of excellent education with 10th birthday party

Staff and pupils at Folkestone Primary have celebrated the school’s tenth birthday with cakes, dancing, balloons, and banners. The primary school, part of the Turner Schools academy trust, offered staff a birthday cake made by ‘star baker’ Mrs Tighy as part of the celebrations. Read on...

The occasion marked a decade since then-Parliamentary Under Secretary for Education and Childcare, and future Prime Minister, Liz Truss MP, officially opened the two new school buildings designed to cater for primary children.

For the celebrations, the school grounds were decorated with balloons and celebratory banners. The clear highlight for the children were the frosted cupcakes, specially decorated in the school’s colours, hand-delivered by Principal Louise Feaver to every child and member of staff.

In addition to the cupcakes, children and staff came together to dance and sing at the end of the day, and even formed a conga line around the playground.

This anniversary was the school’s second celebration in just a few weeks, following swiftly behind Folkestone Primary’s first Ofsted inspection. The school was judged as offering a ‘Good’ standard of education, with ‘Outstanding’ provision in Early Years, Personal Development and Behaviour and Attitudes.

Louise Feaver, Principal at Folkestone Primary, said:

"The last ten years have gone so quickly, and it is fantastic to see how far our school has come. It was lovely seeing children and staff enjoying the celebrations. This anniversary not only marks ten years since we started our journey, but also symbolises a decade of shaping young minds and nurturing future leaders."

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“I am delighted that Louise and the whole Folkestone Primary community could enjoy such a lovely celebration of the school’s tenth birthday. The school is clearly continuing to go from strength to strength and we all look forward to seeing how it develops over the next ten years."

Turner Schools and U Can Too provide Folkestone students with a whole day o interactive workshops designed to showcase power of technology

Year 9 students from Turner Free School and Folkestone Academy have enthusiastically embraced a day of hands-on workshops introducing them to the exciting realms of programming and electronics. The initiative, organised by the Turner Schools Trust, was conducted in collaboration with local computing training company, U Can Too with the aim of igniting the young students’ eagerness to learn. Read on...

During these engaging workshops, students embarked on a creative journey where they designed their own ‘crazy golf’. Armed with microbits, small yet powerful programmable devices, the students delved into the fascinating world of coding, learning to program their designed golf courses with precision and ingenuity. The microbits allowed the students to control the movement of golf balls around their courses and even craft ingenious obstacles and challenges for players to conquer.

During the workshops students also learned how to program servo movement and control this using light sensors and programmable LED lights. Under expert guidance, the students used these to create moving robots and innovative gadgets which responded dynamically to light levels.

The workshops were a great success with students learning about the basics of programming and electronics, as well as being encouraged to explore and experiment.

Belle, a student at Turner Free School, said:

"I really enjoyed the crazy golf workshop. It was great to be able to design and build our own courses, and then program them using microbits." 

Oscar, a student at Turner Free School, said:

"The light sensor and LED light workshop was really cool. I learned how to create devices that could respond to light levels."

Mr Papworth, Lead Teacher of Computing and Art at Turner Schools, said: 

"We were thrilled to witness the enthusiasm and creativity displayed by our Year 9 students during these workshops. We are immensely grateful to U Can Too for their invaluable support in making this initiative a resounding success and we are looking forward to running similar workshops in the future.

“Turner 25 aims to provide enriching experiences as well as the opportunity for students to apply their learning in a practical, real-world, context. These workshops have done just that, as well as fostering a sense of innovation and creativity which we hope will serve our students well over the course of their studies."

Horticulture Classroom officially opened by Tony Woods, Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner 

Staff and students at Folkestone Academy have celebrated the grand opening of their new state-of-the-art Horticulture Classroom. This purpose-built facility will revolutionise the teaching of environmental science and horticulture as well as ensuring that teaching can take place in all weathers. Read on...

The Classroom was officially opened by Tony Woods, Director of Garden Club London. Tony is a renowned figure in the gardening world and achieved great success as a Gold Medal Winner at last year's prestigious Chelsea Flower Show with his stunning Garden Sanctuary design.

The Horticulture Classroom stands as the centre point of Turner Schools’ drive to promote environmental awareness among students and the wider Folkestone community. Students will be taught about the vital role plants play in ecosystems, grasp the significance of growing local and seasonal produce in combating climate change, and gain insights into the journey of food from farm to table.

School leaders at Folkestone Academy plan to use this facility for Year 10 and 11 pupils as part of their alternative education provision, while Key Stage 3 students will have one dedicated horticultural lesson a week.

Lessons will be taught in mixed ability groups with numerous practical sessions where students will have access to a purpose-built horticulture area including an outdoor classroom, polytunnel, and a number of raised beds.

The school has employed an experienced horticulturalist as lead teacher, as well as another teacher to support. There are plans in place to create a training centre for wider Turner Schools staff.

Turner Schools are also planning to organise a series of talks and workshops led by industry specialists to promote the benefits of the facility, as well as acting as a hugely valuable community space.

The Horticulture Classroom, raised beds and polytunnel was made possible by the generous £160,000 grant from Sir Roger De Haan, Chair of Friends of Folkestone Academy. 

Steve Shaw, Principal at Turner Schools, said:

“We believe in nurturing a profound appreciation for the natural world among our students. The Horticulture Classroom shows our commitment to providing hands-on learning experiences that not only empower our students with skills but also inspire a lifelong love for nature. We want to use this classroom to promote environmental issues and increase our students’ understanding of the challenges ahead, as well as highlighting careers and progression opportunities in the horticultural and environmental science industries.”

Seamus Murphy, Chief Executive at Turner Schools, said:

"We are immensely grateful to Sir Roger De Haan for his unwavering support. His generous donation has allowed us to create a space that will not only enhance the learning experience of our students but also serve as a valuable community asset. We truly believe that this project will prove pivotal in our bid to establish Turner Schools as a local, and in time national, beacon of excellence for environmental science and horticulture teaching.”

BBC NEWS FEATURE - SCHOOL ABSENCES REPORT

Wednesday 27th September

A new report by the Commons Education Select Committee warns mental-health problems and cost-of-living pressures on families are among the complex reasons for school absence. 

Turner Schools explains how they are supporting families...

BBC News - Primary School Story

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BBC News - Secondary School Story

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Primary and secondary schools honoured with coveted Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation 

Eco-friendly pupils and staff across Turner Schools have celebrated receiving the prestigious Eco-Schools Green Flag accreditation. Folkestone Primary, Folkestone Academy, Martello Primary, Morehall Primary and Turner Free School were each granted the notable award for going above and beyond to protect the natural world around them. Read on...

This award is the highest honour from the Eco-Schools organisation and is given to schools working hard towards making and keeping their schools sustainable.

The schools’ eco-friendly efforts are spearheaded by their Eco-Ambassadors - a group of particularly keen pupils who are responsible for looking after the school environment. They identify environmental initiatives already taking place in your school, areas for improvement, and opportunities for quick eco-wins.  From here an action plan is developed and forms the framework for encouraging staff and pupils to think about the schools environmental impact, as well as taking part in discussions, voting on environmental factors, and feeding back relevant information to the rest of their class.

Each school’s Eco-Ambassadors have created a climate charter for their school where pupils commit to following a code to improve their school environment. They also work to ensure each school is as environmentally friendly as possible, as well as looking for new ways of reducing waste for the future.


Each school has also developed a social action plan focusing on three areas: Litter, Recycling Waste and a school specific action. This has included biodiversity, rewilding, maintaining school grounds, planting vegetables and sustainability. Throughout the school year schools take part in activities covering these three areas.

The Eco-Schools Programme aims to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of a school. Its participatory approach and combination of learning and action makes it an ideal way for schools to begin improving the environments of schools and their local communities.  

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“We are all delighted to receive the Eco-Schools Green Flag award in recognition of the work done to embed sustainability and environmental activism into our schools’ work. It is so important to all of us at Turner Schools that we educate our young people on the importance of environmental awareness and how they can help protect the world around us.

“I am so impressed by the commitment and dedication shown by our pupils and their desire to make our schools as eco-friendly as possible. I am sure that they will continue to look at what else we can do to make Turner Schools green in the future.”

FOLKESTONE PRIMARY JUDGED AS ‘GOOD’ IN FIRST EVER INSPECTION WITH ‘OUTSTANDING’ IN THREE AREAS

“Pupils love the school and feel loved by the school”

Folkestone Primary is celebrating their first ever Ofsted grading, having been recognised as ‘outstanding’ in three areas: behaviour and attitudes; personal development and early years.  Part of Turner Schools family, Folkestone Primary has been awarded a ‘Good’ judgement overall. Read on...

The opening lines of the heartening report speak about the culture and atmosphere that has been cultivated at the school: “Pupils at Folkestone Primary love the school and feel loved by the school; a close and warm relationship between staff and pupils is present throughout.”


Amongst the highlights, the inspection team point to the school’s exceptional work in Early Years, which is of the ’highest quality’ where sequencing and planning is exceptional, from the very first days of Kindergarten.’  Children do well in reading and maths and the application of knowledge is seen as ‘exemplary’.  Inspectors concluded that “no matter a child’s particular needs or background, they are well cared for and educated at Folkestone Primary.”

The report also recognises that children with special educational needs are well supported as part of an ‘inclusive culture’ at Folkestone Primary, with children achieving the best possible outcomes. 

Inspectors also point to pupils enjoying making decisions about their learning and that they feel encouraged by the lengths leaders go to, going above and beyond to meet the contextual needs of the school.   

More generally, children access a broad curriculum and rapidly become fluent readers, with staff showing expertise in teaching reading. This has helped cultivate a “love of reading” amongst pupils who are “avid readers”, beyond their phonics and reading lessons.

Inspectors also praise the school’s work on pupils’ personal development and behaviour, noting this as exceptional.  The school ‘creates and curates’ a positive environment for behaviour in which pupils are ‘impeccably polite and respectful.’  Behaviour is calm and settled across the school.  There is a deliberately and coherently planned personal development offer and a “cohesive and well-considered approach” to children’s physical and mental wellbeing.  Tolerance and learning how to play a positive role in their local community is also prioritised. 

Finally, leadership, supported by Turner Schools and governors is recognised in the report, as having contributed to strengths seen across the curriculum and the development of subject leaders.

Louise Feaver, Principal of Folkestone Primary said:

“We are incredibly proud of our school and what we have achieved during our first inspection.  I feel privileged to work with such a dedicated team who put the children at the heart of all that they do.  Folkestone Primary is a special place and we are delighted that this was encapsulated throughout the report.”  

Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools said:

“We are all very proud of what Louise and her team have achieved. A school’s very first Ofsted grade is a milestone moment, and it is wonderful to see that the inspection team have recognised what a great school Folkestone Primary is and really captured the ethos and culture that the team have created. My congratulations to Louise and the whole Folkestone Primary team!”

Turner Schools hosts former Turner Prize Judge for annual Creative Arts Exhibition

Pupils from across Folkestone have showcased their artistic talents at the third annual Turner Schools Creative Arts Exhibition. In total the exhibition saw more than 1,500 entries from the schools in the trust, with pupils collaborating on a number of projects to make up the finished exhibits. Read on...

In addition to the range of artwork on display, there were two live performance stages: Musical Meadows for the primaries and The Speakeasy for the secondary provision. The Folkestone pupils sang and played instruments from a range of different genres from musicals to jazz throughout the evening. After the performances there were speeches from Sir Stephen Deuchar, former Director of Tate Britain and the Art Fund who assisted in judging for the event.

Folkestone Town Mayor, Counsellor Belinda Walker attended the event along with other district and town councillors, Alastair Upton (Chair of Creative Folkestone), school governors and other notable figures from across the trust. Councillor Walker, Sir Stephen Deuchar and Turner Schools CEO Seamus Murphy presented prizes to the winning pupils.

The theme of this year’s exhibition was ‘Rise Up’. This theme has focused on overcoming adversity and demonstrating that life can thrive in the most arid environments.  This was wonderfully demonstrated by the Primary Desert which included large scale models of desert animals. 

Seamus Murphy, Turner Schools CEO, said:

“I’m incredibly proud of the resilience and strength of character that our pupils have shown throughout the past year. The quality of work that they have produced in school has been fabulous. This exhibition was an opportunity to showcase just some of the talents that they have demonstrated throughout the year. I am especially pleased that we also have the creative scholars showcasing their work this year, which is moving from strength to strength at Folkestone Academy, providing pupils with exceptional cultural capital.”

Michelle Foxwood, Turner Schools Creative Arts Director, said: 

“This event was our best yet, the quality of artwork and performances was to an excellent standard across the board. Our staff, pupils, parents/carers and Trust community are incredibly proud to be a part of an ongoing legacy of creative achievement.”

Turner Free School Celebrates First Ever Set of GCSE Successes 

Teenagers across the country have celebrated their results after sitting their exams throughout May and June. This is the first year that grading will return to pre-pandemic standards, however, exam regulator Ofqual asked exam boards to take into consideration the disruption students have suffered due to Covid-19.  

At Turner Free School, part of Turner Schools, staff have gone above and beyond to ensure students were prepared and confident while sitting their exams. Pupils had access to a range of bespoke intervention sessions, after school study hubs, holiday study clubs, Saturday revision and in addition, an intensive 3 day revision residential at Kingswood. The extra support paid off with many students achieving excellent results in a wide range of subject areas. Read on...


A number of pupils have achieved exceptional individual results including:

Jenni van Deelen, Head of School at Turner Free School, said:

“We are all so pleased to celebrate this first ever set of GCSE results at Turner Free School. These excellent results reflect the incredible work that our students and staff have put in over the last few years as we all pulled together to overcome every challenge. These successes are well-deserved and I am so proud of them all.”

Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools, said:

“Congratulations to all our young people who are celebrating their GCSE results today. It is wonderful to see so many happy faces and to hear these excited voices celebrating their results. These GCSE results will give them a solid foundation for their next steps, and it is clear to see that the future is bright for these brilliant young people.” 

Students Celebrate A-Level Success 

Staff and students at Folkestone Academy are today celebrating more excellent results for Sixth Form students. In emotional scenes students discovered they had triumphed at A-Level and BTEC courses.   Read on...

Students across the country have been awaiting their results after sitting the exams during May and June. It’s been a normal school year after the pandemic disruption, but there have still been challenges to overcome for both staff and students. Many schools are still recovering from Covid-19, and although this is the first year that grading has returned to pre-pandemic standards, exams regulator Ofqual asked exam boards to take this into consideration when awarding grades. 

Staff at Folkestone Academy have worked tirelessly to ensure students had the support they needed to sit the final exams of their school career. In particular, staff offered additional revision and intervention sessions after school, during lunch times and during school holidays to ensure that pupils had every opportunity to succeed. 

We are particularly proud of the following pupils for achieving fantastic results: 

Steven Shaw, Head of School at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“We are thrilled to see so many students achieve the grades they deserved across their A-Levels, BTECs, and vocational courses. This is the result of a great deal of hard work and today we see the results of those efforts. Students will be going on to a wide range of exciting destinations and I couldn’t be happier for them.” 

Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools, said: 

“It is fantastic to see how well this cohort has achieved and they have every right to feel very proud of their success. Today’s results are a testament to the hard work, commitment, and dedication to their studies of these young people, as well as the fantastic teaching team here at Folkestone Academy, and I am delighted by how well they have all done. We wish them the best of luck for the future and know they will continue to excel as they take their next steps after leaving school.”

What the new commissioning guidance fails to fix

TES article by Trust CEO, Seamus Murphy

There are areas in which the new guidance for the growth of MATs has failed to bring the needed clarity, argues Seamus Murphy.  Click link to read on...

Turner Schools primary pupils inspired by former multiple British Bike Trial champion James Sheridan

Pupils across Turner Schools primaries have been inspired to take up cycling after watching a stunning display from former European and multiple British Bike Trial champion James Sheridan and his Wheel2Wheel display team. Read on...

The pupils, from Morehall Primary, Folkestone Primary, and Martello Primary were captivated by James’ bike skills, before eagerly quizzing him on how he first became involved with the sport and achieved such success. 

The champion cyclist performed a wide range of different tricks as part of his exhibition, including jumps and flicks as well as completing a complicated raised obstacle course. He showed tremendous control and athleticism over the course of the display and wowed the watching pupils.

The exhibition was designed to raise interest and excitement about cycling for the pupils. 

Learning to ride a bike is a skill which features in the Trust’s ‘Turner 25’ offer, with primary school aged pupils first developing their motor and balance skills on balance bikes before working up to safe independent bike riding via the Bikeability programmes.

Pupils at Martello Primary commented:

Bella-Rose - "It was amazing when James was on the roof of the van and landed on the bottle top - I didn't think he was going to be able to make it but he did!"

Hannah - "I thought it was cool when James jumped over Mrs Lythgoe - thank you for keeping her safe!"

Lola - "It made me laugh when James couldn't jump because the crowd wasn't loud enough, so we had to cheer even louder!"

Archie - "I couldn't believe James was on top of the van on his bike!"

Jasper - "I was so impressed that James could ride a bike backwards - I want to practise so that I can do that!"

Nicholas: I thought the bike show was cool and crazy, it inspired me to practise on my bike. Next year I hope he comes to the secondary school that I am going to.

Louise Lythgoe, Director of Primary Improvement at Turner Schools, commented: “The importance of developing healthy minds and bodies from a young age cannot be underestimated, and that’s why we build in exciting and memorable enrichment opportunities such as this for the pupils in our schools. I hope that this experience encourages children’s participation in fitness activities - who knows, we might have the next British Trials Champion amongst our pupils!” 

Turner Schools offers workshops and university visit as culmination of aspiration raising project 

A number of Year 7 boys from Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School have participated in a range of workshops with experts from the University of Kent. The programme, entitled ‘Championing Boys’ was part of a research project led by the University, in partnership with the Turner Schools trust, which culminated in a visit to the University of Kent. Read on...

The aim of the project was to encourage boys to explore their strengths and interests; to raise awareness of career pathways that they may not have otherwise considered; and to develop their knowledge of higher education.

Over a 2 month period, the boys participated in a series of five workshops which included designing a university, creative writing, healthcare, physical theatre, and digital arts, as well as a visit from the author Sam Gayton. The project culminated in a visit to the University of Kent’s campus in Canterbury.

During the visit the students enjoyed taking part in two laboratory-based workshops, in fingerprinting and anthropology. 

In the fingerprinting workshops the pupils wore lab coats and used special powders to get their own fingerprint which they used to create a keyring, while in the anthropology workshop they analysed a replica human skeleton to understand how much they could learn about a person from their remains. 

They were also taught about heptalogy - the study of reptiles - and got to touch a real snakeskin, as well as learning about forensics through flies and maggots to learn a time of death. Finally, they explored the biodiversity of plants and how these can help uncover a crime scene. 

The boys got to take part in real discussion and questioning of the various subject areas, as well as receiving a tour of the university.

A celebratory award ceremony ended the day with boys being presented certificates for taking part in the series of workshops which formed the project. 

Aaron Hughes, a Turner Free School student, said: 

“The campus tour was great! The university was much bigger than I expected. The trip to UKC made me want to go there when I'm older.”

Dylan Dodd, a Turner Free School student, said: 

“I didn't think I would like forensic science, but I really enjoyed learning how to get fingerprints off surfaces using magnetic powder! I also found the tour really interesting, especially seeing the gym, theatre, cinema and library. I was surprised how big the library is as there are 4 floors including a cafe!”

Cillian Moss, a Folkestone Academy student, said:  

“I thought that the university trip was really interesting and it got me thinking a lot about things. I thought about what job I could do in the future if I went to university and how it would affect my life.”

Leeton Gentry, a Folkestone Academy student, said: 

“The trip to the university was really fun and interesting. I really enjoyed the fingerprinting workshop and how it was all real life stuff that we were doing.”

Kelly Jarrett, Careers Advisor at Turner Schools, said:

“It has been a privilege to witness how inspired pupils have been collaborating together, exploring new ideas and concepts that are not part of the standard curriculum. The visit to the University of Kent campus gave the boys valuable insights into university life which was brought to life through exposure to being part of laboratory style activities. 

“We are really proud of how our boys have seen the project through gaining more confidence and knowledge in the process. We would like to extend our thanks to The University of Kent for allowing our pupils to have this opportunity which will hopefully have a huge impact on their future study pathways and careers.”

Folkestone Academy Horticulture students liven up school site with donated foliage

Horticulture students at Folkestone Academy have welcomed the opportunity to bring the outdoors space to life after receiving dozens of plants and flowers used at the Chelsea Flower Show. The donation is from the Hamptons Mediterranean Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, and has given the Year 8 Folkestone students the chance to liven up their school site.  Read on...

The donated plants were planted in front of the recently completed Horticulture building. They included a variety of shrubs, succulents, herbs and lavender, all of which are hardy plants and work well in dry environments and need little watering.

The school received these plants after making contact with Tony Woods, Director of Garden Club London, when designing its Derek Jarman inspired Community Garden. Tony was a Gold Medal Winner at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show with his Garden Sanctuary design. The donated flowers come from the Hamptons Mediterranean Garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show which won a Silver Gilt medal. 

When the school received the flowers, it was the Year 8 Horticulture students, under the watchful eye of Horticulture Teacher Alexandra Peacock, who had the job of planting them all and ensuring they were best placed to continue growing. Alexandra and the Horticulture students will now be responsible for watering the plants and looking after them.

David Bowles, Director of Finance and Operations at Turner Schools, said::

“Having flowers from the world famous Chelsea Flower Show to massively enhance the landscaping around the building is the icing on the cake for the pupils, staff, and the local community. It’s really important to all the staff here that students understand the natural world around them and develop a love of the outdoors, so we would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to Tony and the team at the Chelsea Flower Show for their generosity.”

Tony Woods said:

“I am delighted to be working with Folkestone Academy and the Horticulture Classroom to re-use the plants from the Hamptons Mediterranean garden at Chelsea Flower Show. Horticultural education is essential to meet many of the opportunities for young people to excel in green careers and inspire a new generation of gardeners. When established, this drought tolerant planting scheme will demonstrate how we can plant for a changing climate as well as providing plants for students to use for propagation, pruning and plant identification in horticultural lessons.”

Alexandra Peacock, Horticulture Teacher at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“We were all delighted to receive this incredibly generous donation of plants and flowers to help brighten up the school site. The students loved taking the time to plan out where each plant would go and deciding how they would best complement each other, and I know they are excited to watch these grow over time. It’s lovely to see how enthusiastic they all were for this project and are already looking forward to more planting in the future.”

Academy hosts primaries from across the town for sporting festival  

Nearly three hundred Year 5 pupils from across Folkestone have taken part in a highly competitive school Olympics. This was the 3rd Olympics, hosted by Folkestone Academy, part of Turner Schools, in partnership with The Sports Trust and Folkestone School Games.  Read on...

Pupils from six different schools competed in a range of sports, supported by coaches from an array of local clubs. 

Over the course of the day the children took part in hockey drills and skills, supported by coaches from Folkestone Optimists, cricket challenges with The Sports Trust, football activities with Kent Lionesses coaches, and even skateboarding, delivered by coaches from F51 skate park. The children particularly enjoyed the football ‘speed cage’, an inflatable goal that tested the speed of a football being kicked into the goal.

Pupils also participated in a range of athletics events with coaches from the Folkestone Junior Athletics Clubs, including learning how to throw a javelin, taking on the hurdles, and running. 

The range of activities meant that pupils had a chance to try sports they might not have participated in before, as well as enjoying old favourites. 

Koby, a Year 5 pupil at Martello Primary, said: 

'I enjoyed the speed cage with the football as I scored 38. I was really shocked how well I did.”

Annabella, a Year 5 pupil at Martello Primary, said:

“I liked the skateboarding session as it encouraged us to try something new.”

Orlando, a Year 5 pupil at Martello Primary, said:

“All of the activities made us push ourselves and gave us a challenge.”

Frankie, a Year 5 pupil at Martello Primary, said:

“I enjoyed being energetic and watching people have fun.”

Joe, a Year 5 pupil at Mundella Primary said:

“The activity I enjoyed the most was cricket because it was fun scoring points against my friends.”

Ayu, a Year 5 pupil at Mundella Primary said:

“I enjoyed it all even though it was very hot. Cricket was the most fun.”

Harry, a Year 5 pupil at Mundella Primary said:

“My favourite was the football, especially the speed cage. I got 38!”

Sarah Green, The Sports Trust Project Manager for Schools and Folkestone School Games Organiser, comments: “It has been a wonderful day seeing so many children associate being active with fun. However, alongside the enjoyment of playing sport, we had a very important message for the children. 

As these year 5 pupils start to turn their thoughts to moving onto secondary school we praised those who stepped out of their comfort zone and tried something new today. 

“We also challenged them to continue to find ways in the near future to step out of their comfort zone to grow and acquire skills needed to be confident secondary school students in 18 months time. I would also like to thank all the primary school staff involved, the Folkestone Academy year 12s who supported the sports coaches, the year 7 students who spent time speaking with the participants about life at secondary school and the secondary staff involved at my School Games host school, Folkestone Academy.”

Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy, comments: 

“It is always a pleasure to host our neighbouring primary schools for the Folkestone Olympics and to see such wonderful effort and enthusiasm from these young people. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to try new sports as well as show off their existing skills, all while being supported by the fantastic coaches from a real range of sports clubs.

“We know how important it is that young people grow up to live healthy, active lives, and days like today are crucial to helping them develop a love of exercise. We hope to see many more pupils take up these sports in the future as they continue to live energetic and vigorous lives.”

The six schools taking part in the Folkestone Olympics were:

The Churchill School, St Eanswythe’s CofE Primary, Mundella Primary, St Mary’s CofE Primary Academy, Martello Primary, and Folkestone Primary

CEO talks about school absenCes 

Seamus Murphy talks about school absences on BBC Radio 4 Today Show 01/06/23

Radio 4 Today interview with SMU 010623.mp4

Folkestone pupils welcome the opportunity to meet new people and find out more about their local community 

Throughout April and May, pupils from Turner Schools have welcomed representatives from the local community into school for their ‘Folkestone Talks’ events. The talks are a  Trust-wide celebration of the people from across the town and wider community, bringing a wide range of speakers into school to help broaden horizons.  Read on...

All pupils in Years 5, 6, and 7 across Turner Schools participated in the events and met new people from across their town. 

Folkestone Talks, which is now in its second year, aims to celebrate the wide range of people who live and work across the community, improve pupils’ knowledge of different jobs and skills, develop their understanding of different cultures and understand the different ways in which charities and volunteers contribute to society. 

Over 50 members of the community participated in the events, with many people attending events at multiple schools. Participants included representatives from the Nepalese community; Kent Police; Care 4 Calais; RNLI; councillors from the town and district council; and the Rotary Club. 

The events are run in a ‘speed networking’ style where small groups of pupils spend 10 minutes with each guest before moving on to the next person. In total, nearly 600 children benefited from the experience.

Harry, Year 6 pupil at Martello Primary School, said:

“I enjoyed learning about 'Sunflower House' and all of the things that go on in the building. It was really interesting to hear about the walks that the charity organises. I'd really like to get involved myself!”

Eli, Year 6 pupil at Martello Primary, said: 

“When I spoke to Tina from Imago, I loved hearing about her past experiences and all of the jobs that she's had which have led her to what she does now. It was good to hear that you can change your job many times before finding one that suits you perfectly. I particularly liked hearing about how she works directly with 800 children in this area, all on her own - that part was very inspiring!”

Max, Year 6 pupil at Martello Primary, said: 

“When we met Maggi, we learnt that she has a pretty amazing job! Although she lives right next to our school, she actually works in Texas in the USA! Her career is in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and she makes sure that people use AI correctly and ethically. Before working for Rackspace, Maggi worked on the Japanese Olympics to ensure that the times given after each event were correct and couldn't be tampered with. She'd even been a teacher earlier in her career! It was so interesting to find out about her wide range of interests, her profession and her career history.”

Alex, Year 5 pupil at Martello Primary, said: 

“I really enjoyed being able to talk to people who I wouldn’t normally get to speak to! It was so interesting. I’m so glad that we got the chance to speak to all the different people.”

Sam, Year 7 pupil at Turner Free School, said: 

“I loved meeting all the different people and finding out about their backgrounds and roles in the community.”

Katy Tibbles, Community Engagement Manager at Turner Schools, said: 

“We ran the Folkestone Talks events last year for the first time. At that time it was going to be a one-off initiative, but we received such positive feedback from the participants and pupils, that we decided to make it an annual event. 

“The pupils gain so much from meeting such a wide section of the community and always come away enthused and motivated by what they have heard. As well as improving their empathy and awareness of different sectors of society, they also develop essential skills such as active listening and questioning. We are always hugely grateful to the volunteers who support these events for taking the time to inspire the younger generation.”

Turner Schools goes green in eco-friendly campaign

Staff and students across Turner Schools have launched a new campaign to create eco-friendly environments. 

Over the Easter holidays more than 400 recycling bins were installed in the classrooms and offices of the secondary schools, as well as new external bins for the play areas, larger volume bins for the dining areas as well as new recycling stations alongside for waste food, cutlery, plates and glasses. Read on...

The recycling bins have been designed to suit different schools, as the Primary schools all have a different 'happy face' style bin in the classrooms to encourage the younger students to fill them up. Meanwhile, all office spaces have the green swing bin style.

In addition to the recycling bins, the schools have revolutionised how they treat food waste. This will now be collected at each school site and go on to be processed. The processed waste will then become fuel pellets with 80% energy efficient return. 

The schools’ eco-friendly efforts are maintained by the Eco Warriors - a group of pupils at each school who are responsible for looking after the school environment. They monitor the schools’ energy use and encourage teachers and children to recycle, as well as taking part in discussions, voting on environmental factors, and feeding back relevant information to the rest of their class. The Eco Warriors have each created a school climate charter for their school where pupils commit to following a code to improve their school environment.

Lana, Year 3 Eco Warrior at Martello Primary School, said:

"It's fun to feed the food bin."

Avery, Year 1 Eco Warrior at Martello Primary School, said:

"It's nice that they are smiling because recycling is a positive thing!"

Dahlia, Year 2 Eco Warrior at Folkestone Primary, said:

“We have to keep the environment clean.”

Mel, Year 3 Eco Warrior at Folkestone Primary, said:

“We need to recycle because there's too much going to landfill.”

David Bowles, Director of Finance & Operations at Turner Schools, said: 

“We are delighted to introduce these environmentally friendly innovations across Turner Schools. Our staff and pupils are all incredibly focused on what they can do to help protect the world around them, and have been vocal in suggesting what we can do as an organisation. 

“These new recycling bins will make a real difference to how we process waste across the schools. We anticipate that even in its earliest stage we will reduce what we currently send to landfill by around 50%,  and we will continue to look for ways in which we can be even more efficient here. 

“Using food waste to produce energy efficient fuel pellets is a fantastic means of creating something positive from what would otherwise be seen as rubbish. I’m really excited to see what else we can do to support our community to be as eco-friendly as possible.” 

Heads’ sharp practices to game Ofsted only raise the stakes

Analysing website traffic to predict Ofsted visits is only the latest form of gaming the system - and such practices only raise the stakes for others, writes Seamus Murphy. Read on...click link

Local students learn about healthcare careers from employers across Kent 

More than 20 local employers and providers have showcased what they offer at the recent Turner Free School Health, Social Care & Wellbeing Careers Fair.  Read on...

This annual event gives businesses  from across Kent the opportunity to explain to Folkestone pupils more about careers in their sector. They can offer guidance about which academic pathways to follow at this stage of their education, as well as explaining the requirements of different roles.

Pupils of all ages learned about the vast range of careers available in the health and social care sector and the skills they would develop if they were to choose one of these paths. They also had the opportunity to engage in a wide range of activities to deepen their understanding of the variety of roles available in the sector.

Evie-Jane Evans, a Year 9 student at Turner Free School, said: 

“I found the experience very helpful and interesting, helping me understand what jobs they offer and how they got to where they are in their careers today, as well as what qualifications they needed.”

Roxy Williams,  a Year 9 student at Turner Free School, said: 

“Today I got to understand where I can go after I leave school and learnt about different apprenticeships I might like.”

Dylan Jackson, a Year 11 student at Turner Free School, said: 

“It has given me a better understanding of the career pathways available to me and of the industry as a whole.”

Jessica Burton, a Year 11 student at Turner Free School, said:

“I discovered how to apply for the job I want through speaking to ASK.”

Kai Oliver, a Year 11 student at Turner Free School, said:

“I found the diverse opportunities available through apprenticeships interesting.”

Clementine Newsome, Careers Advisor at Turner Schools, said:

“I have been really pleased with feedback received from pupils, staff and exhibitors from our careers fair. Part of the success I believe has been due to targeting the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing sector, which gives more of a focus and allows us to create resources related to the industry, to help prepare pupils for the fair and make the most of the opportunity. 

“It was important to keep the fair as fun and as interactive as possible, so we had a range of activities for our pupils to engage in to help their understanding of the variety of roles available in the sector. 

“Just a few of these included VR headsets for pupils to experience life through the eyes of dementia sufferers, checking the pulse of an extremely life-like mannequin used to help train care workers, learning how to administer CPR and trying out software used to build specialist websites for care providers. We now need to decide which sector to focus on for next year!”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The full list of attendees is as follows:

Daniella Sherriff and Joe Donnelly (2gether Support Solutions) 

Chelsea Stradiotto (ASK/CXK), 

Mohammed Ali (Care at Home Services), 

Karen Paine and Campbell Glazier (Digital Innovation), 

Molly Smith and Leanne Walledge (Folkestone College), 

Josh Oatham and Megan Maslak (Folkestone Football Academy), 

Natasha Kerrigan (Earlsgate Podiatry) 

Jo Shapter (East Kent Footcare), 

Jaden Osborne (Hilton Nursing Partners), 

Jenny Tomei (Jenup), 

Neil Staveley, David Keningale and Giles Barnard (Kent Community Warden Service), 

Rebecca Stroud-Matthews and Jodie Knowles-Baker (Kent & Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust), 

Jennifer Evans, Jessica Palmer and Maria Konstantoula (NELFT Emotional Wellbeing Team), 

iwona king (East Kent Hospital Trust, NHS), 

Mossie Razzaq Holt (School Counsellor), 

Rachel Haden and Colin King (Shepway Sports Trust), 

Shane Forster (The Education People), 

Ern Marnden, Thomas German, Tomris Scott (The Fifth Trust), 

Frank Martin and Hannah Chant (Young Lives Foundation), 

James Sheridan and Kelly Gowar (Bannatyne Health Club), 

Mary Langford (Kent & Medway Medical School).

Folkestone pupils decorate Bargain Warehouse shop window 

Pupils and their families have created an Easter display for the Bargain Warehouse shop window in the town. 

Every Tuesday during term time, pupils and their families from across Folkestone attend the Turner Stone Community Hub Arts & Crafts Club for a wide range of activities. The Arts & Crafts club provides opportunities for children of all ages to exercise their creativity and discover new talents. Read on...

Over the past few weeks the group have been working on creating the seasonal decoration to brighten up the window of the Bargain Warehouse. 

Linda Bolt, Lucy Hall and Kate Knight, who all work in the SEND team at Folkestone Academy, run the weekly club. They arranged with Bargain Warehouse for the children’s artwork to be displayed to reward them for their hard work. 

Linda Bolt, from the Turner Stone Community Hub, said: 

“Seeing their artwork displayed in the window of a major shop was a fantastic experience for our children! We know how much they enjoy taking part in the weekly Arts & Crafts club, but to see their work displayed in public like that really does add something special. 

“Our pupils say they enjoy attending the Arts & Crafts club because it’s therapeutic and fun, because it gives them the chance to make new friends while being creative, and because it’s a lovely environment to experiment with new craft ideas. It also lets our younger children chat with and work alongside older pupils which is great for their development.

“We welcome pupils’ families as well which helps create a really lovely atmosphere there. It’s an opportunity for families to spend some time together in a fun way, taking part in something creative with lots to do for children of all ages.” 

Pupils star at trust talent show in front of Folkestone Mayor

Pupils from across Turner Schools have sung, danced, and dazzled judges at the trust’s annual Turner’s Got Talent competition. This year’s production saw more than 30 pupils of all ages perform a series of superb routines in front of a packed hall of friends, families and school staff. Read on...

After a series of highly competitive heats earlier in the week, ten acts made it through to the final showcase. The audience was wowed by dance numbers, songs, magic tricks and even stand-up comedy before the eventual winners were announced.

Performers had to impress a judging panel made up of Councillor Nicola Keen, Mayor of Folkestone, Cllr Jackie Meade, Councillor for East Folkestone; Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy and Jenni van Deelen, Head of School at Turner Free School.

The Best in Primary award went to Austin from Morehall Primary, performing ‘A Cover Is Not The Book’ from Mary Poppins Returns, while Best in Secondary was Daisy from Turner Free School, singing ‘You Say’ by Lauren Daigle.

The Murphy Prize, named after Turner Schools CEO Seamus Murphy and awarded to the act who shows the most potential for the future, was awarded to Morehall Primary’s Margot, Kristian, Lottie, Lily-Mae, and Eloise, singing ‘Revolting Children’ from Matilda.

Finally, the overall winners of Turner’s Got Talent 2023 were announced: Folkestone Academy’s Year 10 Jazz Band – consisting of Jerel, Ivan, Martin, Julius, and Antonio – performing ‘Sway – Folkestone Arrangement’.

Judges:

Councillor Nicola Keen, Mayor of Folkestone, Cllr Jackie Meade, Councillor for East Folkestone; Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy and Jenni van Deelen, Head of School at Turner Free School.

Winners:

Best in Primary: Morehall’s Austin, performing to ‘A Cover Is Not the Book’ from Mary Poppins Returns

Best in Secondary: TFS Daisy, singing ‘You Say’ by Lauren Daigle

Murphy Prize (named after CEO of Turner Schools): Morehall’s Margot, Kristian, Lottie, Lily-Mae, Eloise performing ‘Revolting Children’ from Matilda

TGT 2023 Winners:  Folkestone Academy’s Year 10 Jazz Band: Jerel, Ivan, Martin, Julius, Antonio performing ‘Sway - Folkestone Arrangement’

This is the 2nd year in the row that a FA band has won this prize!

Folkestone schools launch new initiative to raise pupil aspiration

Staff and students at Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School are delighted to announce the official launch of the Championing Boys Project. This initiative aims to encourage the school’s male students to push for the best when looking ahead to life after school.  Read on...

In total, 23 male students along with their parents and carers attended the project launch, which was led by representatives and Student Ambassadors from The University of Kent.

The project aims to raise aspirations for these students as they are given the chance to explore different identities and careers through a series of interactive workshops. These include sessions on Digital Arts, Creative Writing, and Building a University, all led by the University of Kent volunteers. The students will take part in these workshops over the next few months until they culminate in a tour of the University of Kent in June. 

At the launch, students and their families had the opportunity to taste some of the interactive activities they’ll be participating in over the coming months. They also listened to the Student Ambassadors talking about their own routes into higher education

Oscar, a Year 7 student from Folkestone Academy, said: 

“I am really excited about doing the project. The workshops sound so cool and they will make me think of careers that I can do in the future.”

Damian, a Year 7 student from Folkestone Academy, said: 

“I am really looking forward to it. It’s a great opportunity that will give me so many benefits. It will help me think about whether I want to go to university.”
Katy Tibbles, Senior Stakeholder and Community Engagement Manager said: 

“We are all delighted to officially launch the Championing Boys Project. This initiative has been some time in the coming as we looked into different means of supporting our students to go on and thrive after leaving school. I am delighted to have the support of the University of Kent and their Student Ambassadors were absolutely fantastic and so inspiring. 

“It was a fantastic event and I know our students and their families have taken so much from it already. We even overheard a few parents talking about how much they wish they’d had this sort of support when they were younger!”

Folkestone pupils compete to be named Maths Champions

Pupils from across Folkestone have competed to be named Folkestone Maths Challenge Champion. The competition, which is now in its twelfth year, saw pupils from Seabrook CofE Primary take top place, closely followed by classes from Folkestone Primary in second and St Martin’s CofE Primary - the reigning champions - in third. Read on...

Over the course of the competition pupils took part in six separate maths-based activities. These consisted of: 

All pupils went away with a goody bag and certificate while Steve Shaw, Principal of Folkestone Academy, presented the winners with their trophy, as well as a maths gift set including a scientific calculator and geometry set. 

The competition took place on Red Nose Day, in which pupils were allowed to wear their own clothes and red accessories. Pupils also enjoyed Red Nose themed biscuits made by the Folkestone Academy catering team. 

Keith Denchfield, Director of Maths at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“This was another incredibly competitive Maths Challenge which showcased the wealth of mathematical talent throughout Folkestone. The challenges these pupils faced really were demanding and we were taken aback at the enthusiasm and passion for solving them that we have seen here. I am really looking forward to seeing how these young people continue to develop over the course of their education.”

Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“It is always a great day to welcome so many of Folkestone’s primary pupils for such a demanding day of mathematical challenges. There is always an incredibly competitive atmosphere here as these bright young minds tackle the activities and it is clear to see how much they enjoy it. 

“Congratulations again to the winners from Seabrook CofE Primary, as well as the mathematicians from Folkestone Primary and St Martin’s CofE Primary, for making up the top three. Well done to all involved for their efforts and their commitment to learning.” 

Folkestone Academy offers range of experiences to celebrate the Creative Arts

Pupils at Folkestone Academy have participated in a range of different activities designed to celebrate the Creative Arts. Creativity is central to the curriculum at Folkestone Academy which aims to develop pupils’ creative talents and provide pupils with a range of different cultural experiences throughout the academic year. Read on...

Highlights of this focus on creativity include:

Q&A with Sir Stephen Deuchar CBE

Folkestone Academy’s Art pupils were privileged to have a question-and-answer session with Sir Stephen Deucher CBE. Sir Stephen was awarded the CBE for his contribution to Arts and held the post of Director of Tate Britain.

The pupils found out that Sir Stephen had not chosen Art as a preferred subject at school, but rather initially focused on studying History at university. Through this he developed an interest in Art History which led to him pursuing a career in the art industry

Sir Stephen stressed the importance of pupils making the most of every opportunity, and passed on useful advice for those pupils looking to have a career in the art world.

Leon, a Year 8 pupil at Folkestone Academy, said:

“He was very open to share his passion for the things he has worked on, it was very inspiring to hear how his career has progressed. I enjoyed having the Q&A format for his visit because I got to express my interest in his career and ask questions about it that I wouldn't normally get the chance to.”

The visit was organised by Katy Tibbles, Senior Stakeholder and Community Engagement Manager, through the Speakers For School charity (https://www.speakersforschools.org).

Katy said:

“We were honoured to be visited by Sir Stephen. Our pupils were incredibly lucky to meet someone with such extensive experience and knowledge of the art world. Sir Stephen was keen to hear from the pupils and to understand their views on the creative industry. He raised awareness of the different roles within the sector and encouraged pupils to pursue their goals and interests.”

Academy FM & Scholarship Mural with Vanessa Clark

Year 8 Scholarship pupils have had the pleasure of working with local artist Vanessa Clark on producing a Mural for the end-of-year Turner Trust Exhibition. Vanessa explained more about working as an artist in the local creative scene, and how she dedicates her practice to encouraging creative minds to follow their own process.

The pupils used the theme ‘Mental Health’ to inspire a cascading mural piece that takes everyday negative thoughts and poses solutions for working past these.

The pupils enjoyed using the abstract process of tearing up their ‘negative thoughts’ and scattering them across a brightly coloured ‘positive space’, full of the everyday things that bring joy. The piece will be displayed at our Turner Trust Exhibition at the end of the school year. 

Grace, a Year 8 pupil, said:

“I learned a new process of creating, the artist was so understanding and encouraged us to be more open with our ideas”.

Leila, a Year 8 pupil, said:

“The work we were doing really encouraged us to open up about mental health. It was fun working with different materials in a new way with Vanessa, she was very enthusiastic and encouraging.”

Academy FM & Scholarship Music workshops with Tim Smith

Year 7 and Year 8 Creative Scholarship pupils enjoyed workshops with local music producer Tim Smith. Using music provided by a Folkestone Academy pupil band, Tim showed the pupils how to set up microphones and record the live band. He also shared stories from his time working in the music industry and passed on advice to the pupils from his experiences.

The workshops came about through the Academy FM Folkestone project. This project is funded by the Kent Community Foundation and over the last year has seen a number of Folkestone Academy pupils meet people working in local creative industries.

Grace, a Year 8 pupil, said:

“Tim was great to learn from, he didn't just tell us how to work the equipment, he really showed us in depth”.

Jazmine, a Year 8 pupil, said:

“It was fun to be in the environment where instruments are being sound tested and be involved in the recording of live music, I loved how the instruments sounded.”

Year 7 Scholarship Trip to the Marlowe Theatre

Year 7 Scholars at Folkestone Academy enjoyed a trip to the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury to see a performance of Matthew Bourne’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

 The trip, which was funded through the Creative Arts Scholarship, provided the pupils with many first-time experiences; some had never been to a Theatre before, and none had ever seen a ballet!

 The pupils found particular inspiration from the dances, with a mix of contemporary dance and Tchaikovsky’s original ballet.

Bronte, a Year 7 pupil, said:

“The dancers were amazing, it made me realise that I could be performing dance on a stage one day”.

Annabell, a Year 7 pupil, said:

“The dresses were amazing, the way they moved with the dancers.”

Rayne, a Year 7 pupil, said:

“I love how the style of the fashion changed with the time periods, but it was all still a beautiful ballet style”.

Jacob, a Year 7 pupil, said:

“That was the best performance I’ve ever seen!”

Folkestone Academy hosts interactive science workshop 

Year 7 students at Folkestone Academy have participated in an interactive workshop as part of the school’s wider Science Week. The school hosted Microbiologist Sophie Thompson as well as Luna Thomas Sam, a Laboratory Technician from Church and Dwight.    Read on...

The two guests organised an interactive workshop where students took part in a wide range of activities, including doing rapid swabs of hand surfaces and then getting readings of the amount of bacteria on their hands. The students were amazed at their results, with some saying that they needed to wash their hands more often! 

Students also had the chance to examine bacteria through microscopes and prepare dilutions to see microorganisms. They learned that basic household items contain more bacteria than a toilet, as the workshop helped bring science to life and show the Folkestone Academy students how the lessons they learn in the classroom impact life around them. 

Olivia, a Year 7 student at Folkestone Academy, said: 

“I thought that the activities were really fun especially finding out how much bateria there was on our hands and looking through the microscope at cells.”

Daisy, a Year 7 student at Folkestone Academy, said:

“I really enjoyed doing the experiments and learnt so much from them.”

Harrison, a Year 7 student at Folkestone Academy, said:

“I have never enjoyed science so much as I did in the workshop.”

Jacob, a Year 7 student at Folkestone Academy, said:

“This workshop has made me want to be a scientist because I thought that it was really exciting and interesting.”

Kelly Jarrett, Careers Advisor at Folkestone Academy, said:

“Thank you to Sophie and Luna for coming into school and holding this interactive workshop with our students. They loved the activities and were absolutely fascinated to find out more about the bacteria present in everyday items. They had so much fun, but it also really helped bring their science lessons to life.”

Folkestone children celebrate love of reading with Book Week 

Pupils from across Folkestone have celebrated World Book Day with a full week’s worth of activities. The children, from Folkestone Primary, Martello Primary and Morehall Primary, enjoyed Book Week with a wide range of activities from Monday to Friday.   Read on...

Book Week is an annual event for Turner Schools, which organises a full calendar of activities across the week. The aim is to build on the appeal of World Book Day by bringing pupils, families and staff together to appreciate the importance of literature, and the joy which can be found within it. 

Over the course of the week:

Aleysha, Year 3 Morehall: 

“I really enjoyed trying to guess which teacher was reading in "The Masked Reader" and I'm so excited to start reading my book that I was able to get from the library. Book Week is always so much fun!”

Louise Lythgoe, Executive Head Teacher and Primary Improvement Team Lead at Turner Schools, said: 

“We know that getting children excited about reading at a young age is key to developing a life-long love of reading. This is important for children’s educational development, but more than that, it’s about helping them realise how much joy they can find in books. 

“There’s no question that Book Week was a fantastic success and our children loved taking part in such a wide range of activities. Everyone got so involved and it was wonderful to see so much laughter and happiness across our school with such a creative range of activities based around reading.”

CEO Comments on new national standards for SEND and AP.

TES Magazine 02.03.23

Seamus Murphy, chief executive at Turner Schools, said he welcomed consistency across the country with new national standards for SEND and alternative provision, and was “delighted that this means AP is now formally considered part of wider SEND provision”. Read the full article here...

Folkestone Academy opens new Community Garden inspired by artist and film-maker Derek Jarman

School leaders at Folkestone Academy are delighted to open the school’s new Community Garden. This will be based in the area between Folkestone Academy and Folkestone Primary and has been transformed from a previously overgrown and unattractive part of the site.  Read on...

The initial design of the project came from Chloe Diwell, Art Teacher at Folkestone Academy, who was tasked by Seamus Murphy Turner Schools CEO to use her talents to create a whole new space.

Her brief was to design a garden design which provided a calm area where staff can eat their lunch, parents at the primary school next door could wait to collect their children, and where school pupils can sit calmly in the morning and collect their thoughts ahead of the school day. The space is designed to replicate themes found throughout Kent’s South East Coast. 

The final creative design for the space was inspired by artist, filmmaker, and gardener Derek Jarman. The garden space evolved throughout the project to include a replica shed of his former home ‘Prospect Cottage’ which is located in Dungeness and following a visit from Tony Woods, local horticulturist, a rowing boat was added with the aim to plant with coastal plants.

Chloe Diwell, Art Teacher at Folkestone Academy, said:

“This has been a fantastic project to oversee and to see come together. Taking such an unloved space and turning it into a calm and soothing garden has been incredibly fulfilling, and it will be wonderful to see the garden grow as we bring more flowers into it. I am looking forward to seeing it used by our entire school community as a tranquil, relaxing, spot.” 

To coincide with the structure changes, the Trust commissioned local artist, Nicole Cowan,  to work with Folkestone Academy Creative Scholars to create a mural design and then painted it herself.

Nicole Cowan said: 

“I worked with the creative scholars at Folkestone Academy to transform the walls of the outside area. This started by thinking about what makes us feel calm and relaxed; including being in and amongst the nature around us. Being located by the seaside, we ventured outside to gather different plants and objects which were then brought to the class to draw.”

“Experimenting with different materials and techniques, and looking at artists such as Matisse, the children created their own artworks of nature which were then incorporated into the final mural design.”

The project would not be completed without ensuring authentic plants were included in the project. The trust worked with Tony Woods, a Chelsea Flower Show Gold medal winning garden designer and horticulturist who lives locally, who volunteered to help out here. He worked with Academy Horticulture pupils to choose and plant suitable plants for the area.

Tony Woods said: 

“The academy has re-imagined vocational learning with a subject that teaches us to nurture food and the environment whilst enhancing our surroundings. Horticulture boosts our mental and physical health too as well as providing some really cool career opportunities. I can’t wait to pass on some of my skills and knowledge to the students”

Folkestone Academy student raises hundreds of pounds after losing family members in horrific earthquake 

Pupils at a Folkestone school have held a charity cake sale in order to raise money for the Red Cross Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal. Year 12 student Dilan Bozyel, from Folkestone Academy, organised the cake sale as she wanted to raise money for the appeal. Read on...

Dilan had recently lost family members in the disaster and wanted to help raise vital funds for the country. 

With the help of her tutor Hilary Mercer and Director of Sixth Form, Hannah Turner, as well as a number of her peers, Dilan held a large cake sale. In total, this raised £340 for the Red Cross appeal. 

Dilan Bozyel said: 

“Not only have some of my family members died due to this earthquake, but several people’s loved ones have passed, or been trapped under buildings. I wanted to spread more awareness and advice on how to help Turkey and Syria.”

Hillary Mercer said:

“I am so proud of Dilan for her hard work in organising this cake sale and raising so much money for the Red Cross Appeal. This tragedy is absolutely heart-breaking and it is no surprise that Dilan has been so passionate about doing whatever she can to help. She has worked tirelessly to organise the cake sale and there is no question that this money will make a real difference to the lives of people who are struggling in horrific circumstances.”

Turner Schools’ Diversity and Inclusion Week teaches local young people about those who might be different from themselves

Over the last fortnight (w/c 30th January and w/c 6th February), thousands of pupils from across Folkestone have taken part in a number of activities to enhance their understanding of others. In all, 2,650 pupils from the Turner Schools trust have participated in Diversity and Inclusion Weeks within their schools to learn more about the world around them.Read on...

The five schools within the trust - Folkestone Academy, Turner Free School, Morehall Primary, Folkestone Primary, and Martello Primary - worked together and independently to organise activities as part of the trust-wide community engagement programme.  

Throughout the week pupils took part in a range of lessons, presentations, and workshops to celebrate different aspects of diversity. Guest speakers shared their knowledge and experiences; the overall aim being to develop pupils' awareness, appreciation, and understanding of those who may be different to themselves, and to inspire and provide role models for those pupils who may not not see themselves reflected in everyday life.

Some of the main activities this year included:

Katy Tibbles, Stakeholder and Community Engagement Manager at Turner Schools said: 

“As a trust, we're passionate about developing our pupils into well-rounded individuals with open minds and an appreciation for a diverse society. Whilst inclusion is part of our everyday practice, we use these weeks to really celebrate and focus on diverse topics. Essentially, our goal is to develop our young people into well rounded, open-minded adults who appreciate living in a diverse society.”

Am’e Moris, Principal at Morehall Primary said: 

“It’s incredibly important that our children learn about inclusion. Diversity Week encourages kindness, understanding and empathy. The children have had lots of fun participating in the activities this week, but most importantly, they have developed knowledge and an appreciation for a diverse society.”  

Ben, Year 12 pupil at Folkestone Academy said: 

“The talks this week have been really interesting. They have broadened my perspective; I really enjoyed the talk on LGBT history.”

Sophie, Year 9 pupil at Turner Free School said: 

“Diversity week has made me think more about others and the importance of being kind to each other.”

Olive, Year 5 pupil at Martello Primary said:

“This week we have learnt that it doesn’t matter if you are different, or think that you are different, everyone is important and special. Everyone deserves to be treated the same way and not different because of the way they look or feel.”

Pupils puts on full-scale High School Musical for local primary schools 

Pupils from Folkestone Academy have basked in the limelight after putting on a full length production of High School Musical. The talented performers have spent the past year rehearsing the 2006 Disney movie and putting their own twist on the musical.  Read on...

Pupils from Years 7 to 13 worked with Academy drama, music, dance, and art teachers to put on a sensational show. In all, 26 pupils contributed to the final production, either performing in it or working backstage to support their peers. With the support of sound and lighting engineers the full stage production allowed pupils to deliver a professional performance.

After all their hard work and dedication, pupils performed two shows. The first was a matinee performance to 180 primary school pupils from the local area and the second was a sell-out show to another 180 family, friends and staff members.

Mr Woodbridge, Drama Teacher at Folkestone Academy who organised the event, said: 

“Congratulations to all of our pupils involved with the High School Musical performance! They have worked so hard over the past year and it was fantastic to see this all come together in such a stunning couple of performances. I know how much our young people loved performing to younger pupils across Folkestone, as well as astounding their friends and family with the quality of their work. They should all be incredibly proud of themselves.”

Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy, said:

“The pupils have really enjoyed the experience of participating in the production, and have demonstrated great resilience through working all day at school and then rehearsing in the evening. All their hard work clearly paid off as the actual performance was fantastic! Thank you to Mr Woodbridge as well for his great work in organising the event and pulling this all together.

“This musical is a great example of the opportunities we want to offer all pupils across Turner Schools. Productions like this give young people the chance to see how a large-scale performance really works; whether they’re up on stage or working behind the scenes they are developing key skills and learning more about life outside of the classroom.”

CEO comments on the first teacher strikes

Article: Independent Online & Mail Online - 31.01.2023

Seamus Murphy explains that three of the Trust schools will not have all year groups in on Wednesday due to the strike action. 

Channel 5 News Interview - 01.02.2023

Channel 5 News 01-02-23.MOV

Morehall Primary appoints Artist in Residence

Morehall Primary is pleased to announce that a professional artist has been appointed to lead a series of pupil workshops over the coming year. Louella Ward, a professional artist from Kent, has been appointed as Artist in Residence with the intention of empowering children’s creativity and unleashing their artistic talents. Read on...

Louella will be delivering a workshop each term, aiming to engage as many children from across the school as possible. She will also support the school’s regular art lessons to ensure these are as effective as possible. 

She will start by leading four after school workshops with 12 pupils from across Key Stage 2. The pupils will all have shown a previous enthusiasm for art and developing their artistic talents. 

The first project for the workshops will focus on the natural world as pupils work together to celebrate their local environment by creating a multi media artwork. For this they will use a range of techniques including theatre, photography, collage, and drawing. 

The children’s art from the workshops will be exhibited at the annual Turner Schools exhibition in July, as well as adorning the Morehall corridors and classrooms. They will also have a specific project from Am’e Moris to decorate Morehall’s windows.

Louella Ward said: 

“I believe in the transformative power of creativity. I have always liked Art made with communities, and so I am very pleased to be exploring how a working artist studio within Morehall Primary School can create opportunities for freedom, innovation, and creativity. 

“I am excited to explore the joy and wonder of learning; to use art as a way to encourage play, interrogation and enquiry; to empower students to think independently and develop their sense of self and agency; to help create happy, critical, creative and educated citizens for the future.”

Am'e Moris, Principal at Morehall Primary, said: 

“We are thrilled to be able to welcome Louella to Morehall as our Artist in Residence and look forward to this relationship developing over time as we work together to provide all of our children with these rich and exciting creative art experiences. 

“There is so much incredible artistic talent in Folkestone, not least in our Creative Quarter, and we are always looking for ways to reach out to our community and work together to create inspirational experiences for our children and families.” 

Ofsted confirms Turner Free School is offering a Good education 

Staff and pupils at Turner Free School are celebrating after Ofsted inspectors have confirmed that the school offers a Good quality of education. In its first full inspection since opening, Turner Free School was rated as Good across every category. Read on...

The Ofsted inspectors highlighted the support that the school receives from Turner Schools, commenting that “trustees and governors are skilled, knowledgeable and extremely well-informed about the school’s standards”. They also noted that “pupils enjoy coming to this well managed, calm and orderly school”. 

Other key highlights recognised in the report include:

Kristina Yates, Executive Principal at Turner Free School, said: 

“I am so proud of the wonderful staff and pupils we have here at Turner Free School, and we are all delighted to have this glowing Ofsted report. This is the end result of a tremendous amount of hard work from everyone here and it is fantastic to have these efforts recognised by Ofsted. 

“From starting out in portacabins to settling into our superb new building, it has been a real journey for all of us here. But we all know this is just the start for Turner Free School and everyone here is committed to using this inspection as a foundation we can continue to build upon.” 

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said: 

“Congratulations to everyone at Turner Free School on this glowing report. They should all be extremely proud of themselves for their efforts and for their success. We all see the great work taking place every day at the school and I am so pleased that Ofsted have recognised and praised this. I look forward to seeing the school continue to move from strength to strength and continue to develop their provision for the future, as we continue to do everything in our power to support them.”

Folkestone pupils help design costumes for professional theatre company’s upcoming performance 

Year 9 pupils from Folkestone Academy have worked with a professional theatre company to help design costumes for an upcoming performance. The pupils visited The Marlowe Kit Project, in Canterbury, to work with the Royal Shakespeare Company Associate Schools Designer for their upcoming project performed at the Oare Gunpowder Works in June. Read on...

Pupils were tasked to design a costume for a character in the Shakespeare’s play, ‘As You Like It’. They also took part in a workshop where they analysed an extract from the play, where the character of Rosalind is pretending to be the male shepherd, Ganymede.

Discussions took place around the theme of disguising oneself and trying to blend in with the Forest of Arden. Design choices were made about the style of costume with students then being taught a number of tie dye techniques. Students were excited to think that they had created something for everyone playing Ganymede to wear in the production.

James Woodbridge, Drama teacher at Folkestone Academy who organised the trip, said: “This was a fantastic experience for our pupils to learn so much more about Shakespeare and the themes of the play As You Like It. Working with theatre professionals really helped bring the words to life and they loved having the chance to feed into the conversation around designing costumes. Thank you to everyone at the Marlowe Kit for welcoming us so kindly and for such a great experience!”

Michelle Foxwood, Director of Creative Arts at Turner Schools, said: “We know studying Shakespeare isn’t always easy for young people, but this workshop was instrumental to helping our pupils develop a love of the Bard. Having the opportunity to create something for Ganymede’s costume means that our pupils felt they really had a personal stake in the production and they were so enthusiastic about taking part. This meant they could really engage with the play and get a much better understanding of what we’re studying. We can’t wait to see the final performance towards the end of the academic year.”

CEO explains trust's plan for imminent teachers strike

Article: Independent Online 15.01.2023

Seamus Murphy, the CEO of Turner Schools, an academy trust with five schools in Folkestone, said his organisation planned to provide online learning as well as in-person classes for vulnerable children and those preparing for their GCSEs and A-Levels.

Festive Hampers Delivered To Folkestone Families

 This Christmas, staff at Turner Schools delivered 100 families from across the Turner community a Christmas food hamper. On Friday 23rd December, Turner staff volunteers will packed up 100 hampers and delivered them to homes across Folkestone.. Read on...

The hampers included ingredients for a Christmas dinner, excluding meat products, and helped bring festive cheer to families across Folkestone. The project was funded by a £2,000 donation from Folkestone Rotary Club and £900 from Folkestone Town Council, as well as £415 donated by Turner Schools staff. This last figure was match-funded by the Trust.

Katy Tibbles, Senior Stakeholder and Community Engagement Manager at Turner Schools, said:

“We were delighted to offer families across Folkestone these festive hampers. We know how tough life is right now for too many families and so we wanted to do what we could to help out. Hopefully this brought a smile to people’s faces and allowed them to have a really special Christmas. Thank you to the Folkestone Rotary Club, to Folkestone Town Council, and of course to our fantastic staff for their support in making sure we can offer these hampers.”

Sarah Morgan, Director of Secondary Improvement at Turner Schools, said:

“Our aim was to bring festive cheer to those in need and to show everyone the Turner spirit. I am so proud of the staff members who donated to this project, as well as those who offered their time to help us pack up and deliver these hampers. I am delighted that we have been able to offer these hampers to so many families this Christmas.”

Turner Schools Launches Community Hub to Support Folkestone Residents

Turner Schools is today announcing the launch of their community hub, planned to have a greater impact on the pupils, parents and community around them. The Turner Stone Community Hub will be based in Folkestone Academy and will be a link between the schools and local organisations, employers, charities and professional services. Read on...

The Hub's aim is to provide opportunities for families that want and need support. Upon launching it will offer services such as an onsite food bank, a Tuesday night youth club, and a range of adult education evening classes. The Hub's plan will be to continue to grow by working collaboratively in the community and speaking to families about what they need.

There will be a grand opening for the Community Hub taking place on Tuesday 6th December 4.30pm - 5.30pm at Folkestone Academy. Families will have the opportunity to take part in a number of activities to showcase what the Hub plans to offer over time,  including a new Youth Club with a gaming station and table tennis, Arts & Crafts, a Cinema Club and a ‘Food on a Shoe String’ cooking class with a Turner Free School Teacher. 

There will also be a number of information stands highlighting the courses and support available at the Hub, including Apprenticeships and other courses with Kent Adult Education, a new Folkestone Food Bank, a Community Safety Unit, KCC Well-Being and Digital Kent. 

For more information on the services offered by the Hub, visit: https://www.turnerschools.com/turner-stone

Sarah Morgan, Director of Secondary Improvement at Turner Schools commented

“Our work across Folkestone has shown us the impact that our schools can have on the young people, parents and wider community. The Turner Stone Community Hub formalises our commitment to the pupils, parents and community we serve. 

“This is an excellent opportunity to have a positive impact and we are all looking forward to the development of the Turner Stone Community Hub. We are excited by the plans for the future and encourage parents, carers and community organisations to get in touch with their suggestions of what else we can offer.”

Folkestone Academy Installs Brand New All-Weather 3G Pitch

Pupils at Folkestone Academy are now able to access the best 3G pitch provision in all of Folkestone. Folkestone Academy, part of Turner Schools, has installed a new 3G sports pitch – a third generation all-weather synthetic surface – which even includes brand new LED lighting to ensure sports can still be played after dark. Read on...

This means that pupils will be able to play sports all year round rather than having activities cancelled due to inclement weather. The pitch represents an investment of £200,000 and highlights Folkestone Academy’s commitment to ensuring pupils get every opportunity to pursue physical activities.

The facilities are also available to local residents for hiring during weekday evenings and at weekends for local residents. For more information visit www.folkestoneacademy.com/contact/facility-hire

Colin Thapa, Year 13 pupils, said:

“It’s made a difference in our ability to play football. It’s a smoother pitch and the length of the grass makes it more realistic as if you were playing on a grass pitch.”

Kieran Cahill, Head of PE at Folkestone Academy, said:

“We all know how frustrating it is to lose out on valuable sporting time because the pitch is unplayable due to the weather conditions. Particularly with the British climate, having this all-weather pitch means that our young people won’t have the same barriers to enjoying their matches, can keep on being active, and learning those valuable lessons which come from team sports. The pitch will make a huge difference to the sporting opportunities we offer our pupils and will help in our bid to promote a healthy and active lifestyle to all our young people.”

Steven Shaw, Head of School at Folkestone Academy, said:

“Having this new pitch is a fantastic development for our young people as it means they can play outdoor sports whatever the weather. We know how important it is to promote physical activity among young people and this means that our plans won’t be stopped by bad weather.

“We also want to ensure Folkestone residents use this pitch as much as possible because we see it as a fantastic resource for the local community. We really value our role as a cornerstone of the Folkestone community and see offering facilities like this out as a key part of that.”

Folkestone Academy New 3G Sports Pitch.mp4

Christmas Charity Concert

Turners Schools will be supporting Folkestone Community Swing Band's Christmas Charity Concert on Thursday 15th December 7.30pm - 8.30pm at Folkestone Academy.

Tickets are available from our Eventbrite booking page: 

Life Saving CPR skills taught to Year 6 pupils

Pupils from Folkestone Primary have taken part in a CPR life saving course provided by members of Resuscitation Council UK. The Year 6 pupils took part in a 45 minute session which focused on lifesaving skills to help someone whose heart has stopped beating.  Read on...

During the session, children learnt what to do if they found someone who had collapsed, what steps they should take, how to give compressions, and how to use a defibrillator. 

Throughout October, an alliance of partners across the world, including UK Ambulance Services, first aid training organisations, universities, and other charitable and public sector community-based organisations are coming together to save lives. Their aim is to increase public awareness of cardiac arrests and to increase the number of people trained in life saving CPR by organising and facilitating training events. They will also provide opportunities for people to learn CPR digitally in the safety and comfort of their own home.

Year 6 pupil Jasper, explained that he thoroughly enjoyed the course:

“It taught me to restart a heart in the event of an emergency- which is a life saving skill and I will never forget it. We also learnt how to use a defibrillator!”

Year 6 Holly also said: 

“I learnt how to approach someone and call for emergency help if they are not responding, I also discovered that you can only do CPR on someone who is not breathing and unconscious but you must always call 999 for help before starting. My favourite part was trying the chest compressions because you can do them to the rhythm of Baby Shark!”

Louise Feaver, Principal of Folkestone Primary, said: 

“The skills that our pupils learned during this session are absolutely essential and may well help save lives in the future. It is so important that every member of our community understands what to do in an emergency and how they can help. The Resuscitation Council and their partners are doing vital work and we thank them for it.”