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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:

  • “Leaders, trustees and governors are ambitious for all pupils”. Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ofsted praised school staff’s work to design an “ambitious and broad curriculum”.

  • “Staff know pupils well and have high expectations of them”. Pupils do well to live up to these expectations, working hard in class and concentrating while at school. Bullying is not tolerated at the school and pupils are regularly taught how to resolve conflicts and who they can speak to if they have any concerns.

  • “Pupils achieve well in most subjects”. This is down to the work of school leaders in selecting and organising key knowledge that pupils need to learn. “Teachers use their expert knowledge to explain subject matter clearly and design interesting activities for pupils”. They set demanding work which effectively develops pupils’ reading and oracy skills.

  • Staff do well to identify pupils’ needs accurately, so pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) achieve as well as their peers in almost all subjects. This is attributed to well-trained staff who provide strong support as well as teachers doing well to adapt the curriculum successfully.

  • School leaders “have made reading a priority”. They identify which pupils struggle with reading and then the weakest readers are well supported by trained staff to catch up. Teachers use effective assessment to identify and respond to gaps in pupils’ learning. This is aided by staff building strong relationships with pupils so that they develop positive attitudes to learning.

  • Pupils feel safe at Turner Free School and treat others respectfully, socialising well with each other and behaving well around the school. Pupils are enthusiastic about the school’s ‘family dining’ environment, where they organise dinner tables and sit together with staff. They “relish being part of the school council where they can have a say on school issues”.

  • “Pupils are keen to be involved in extra-curricular activities”, with the school recently introducing the ‘Turner 25’. This initiative helps pupils complete five community-based activities each year, such as cleaning up the local area in a ‘litter pick’. Pupils also have the choice of a range of sports clubs, as well as new activities including African drumming and science clubs.

  • “Leaders’ strategies to improve pupils’ attendance and reduce suspensions are effective.” In rare instances when pupils misbehave, they are supported well by staff to improve behaviour in future. Leaders have also created a strong safeguarding culture so that pupils are safe at all times and ensure that pupils receive targeted support when necessary.

  • “Staff feel valued and well supported by leaders”. Turner Schools organises an extensive range of training for staff and teachers also benefit from working alongside colleagues within the trust on various areas of work, sharing what works well as a team. Leaders, trustees and governors across Turner Schools “prioritise staff well-being and workload”, which is recognised and appreciated by staff. Staff note that leaders “support and develop them well”.

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.”

BBC Visit for Pupils

Pupils from Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School have been visited by the BBC to learn more about future career opportunities. The visit came about as part of the BBC’s ‘‘BBC100 Share Your Story’ programme - an initiative launched to celebrate 100 years of the organisation. Read on...

Pupils across all year groups attended lively and interactive assemblies, hosted by BBC Radio and Kiss FM’s Alex Mansuroglu. Pupils heard from two of the BBC’s ambassadors, Charlotte Frazer who is a Researcher for children’s television and Annie Chisambo, a Production Management Assistant for BBC Sport. Both ambassadors talked about their journey from childhood through to the roles that they have now, including the challenges that they have faced and overcome in order to achieve their dream jobs.

Pupils were encouraged to take ownership of their future and to ‘write your own story’, rather than letting someone else write it for you. Annie talked about the challenges of changing career paths after being made redundant and Charlotte spoke about the difficulties of not meeting your parents’ expectations and wanting to veer away from her family’s tradition of working medicine.

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

“The visit from the BBC was an insightful experience for us all. Annie and Charlotte’s stories were thought provoking and inspirational, and whilst the messages were very serious, the whole event was delivered in a fun and engaging way by the host, Alex.”

Harry, Year 11 pupil, Turner Free School, said:

“I really enjoyed the talks from the BBC ambassadors, it has encouraged me to pursue my goals and made me believe that I can achieve anything if I try hard enough”.

Steve Shaw, Head of School at Folkestone Academy said:

“We always enjoy welcoming external speakers into our school and the BBC was no exception. It’s important that our pupils have the opportunity to hear from people that have a range of experiences and stories to share; each of these encounters plays a part in influencing and shaping their future and encouraging them to be the best that they can in whatever pathway they choose.”

World memory record holder teaches tips to help with their studies

David Thomas, the record-breaking former firefighter, has visited Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School to inspire pupils and share tips and tricks to help them improve their memories to benefit their studies. Mr Thomas is the world memory record holder who successfully memorised and recited the mathematical formula Pi to 22,500 places, making him a Guinness World Record breaker Read on...

Over the two day visit, he coached nearly 2,000 young people on how to train their mind using powerful techniques to improve speed, retention, concentration, and comprehension when studying for exams.

As well as being a world record holder, David is also a World Memory Championships medallist and a Sunday Times bestselling author with his book ‘Tell Me Why Mummy’, which tells his personal story of overcoming adversity.

Katy Tibbles, Community Engagement Manager, Turner Schools, said

“We are always looking to provide unique opportunities for our pupils that develop their learning and motivation both inside and outside the classroom. David’s visit has been an incredible experience for our young people and he has had a huge impact in a short space of time. Pupils came away feeling inspired and believing that they can take control of their future.”

Alfie, Year 9 pupil said:

“It was a great experience listening to David talk. He really inspired me to concentrate on my exams and to think about my future.”

David Thomas said:

“Having been going into schools for the last 25 years, the two Turner Schools in Folkestone have been among the very best that I’ve visited. They have dedicated teachers, students who are willing to learn and engage with an external speaker, and get involved in the process of improving their education. It would be an honour and a privilege to return.”

Notes to Editors

The visit was funded by Strategic Solutions Financial Services, who have offices in Folkestone, as part of their commitment to support local communities. The mission is driven by Strategic Solutions’ Community Foundation, which is chaired by Jeff Steninger. Every year the foundation offers advisers at Strategic Solutions a voluntary scheme to give up part of their gross income to contribute to the fund. This is matched by Strategic Solutions.

To find out more about Strategic Solutions’ Community Foundation and how you can apply, please visit www.ssfs.co.uk/community.

The Turner Schools Trust is deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen.

Her decades of loyalty and service to her people, her country and the Commonwealth are unrivalled and was an extraordinary example for us all in serving her community. She was an amazing role model for all at Turner Schools.

She will be greatly missed.

AMAZING GCSE RESULTS FOR OUR YEAR 11 PUPILS

Pupils and staff at Folkestone Academy are celebrating an excellent set of results in this year’s GCSE examinations. Our Y11 pupils have had to endure a very challenging two-year period in which they have experienced considerable disruption to their GCSE and vocational courses. Throughout this time, our pupils have remained positive and resilient; they are to be congratulated on how hard they have worked to achieve the best results possible. We are immensely proud of them. Read on...

We have always known that this year was a ‘transition year’ between 2021 (when assessments were graded directly by schools and colleges) and 2019 (the last year exams took place). This means that overall grades will be about halfway between the two nationally. Whilst year on year comparisons are not possible, we do know that pupils' results across many subject areas have enabled them to access Sixth Form and other level 3 courses and apprenticeships.


Many pupils are celebrating individual success stories having made excellent progress during their time at Folkestone Academy. Amongst a host of year 11 pupils who have attained a number of top grades, the pupils below particularly excelled in the following subjects:

Ivan Miloch (English Language, French and History)

Jochen Lisabeth (ICT and Maths)

Jack Reynolds (English Language and English Literature)

Chloe Straw (Business and ICT)

Vinni Wildey (ICT, HIstory and Science)

Riley-James Harradine (Art and Design and Maths)

Maddison Fisher (History and Science)


Head of School Steve Shaw said “Once again, our pupils have done themselves, their community and our school proud. Seeing our pupils again to celebrate their success was a real pleasure. This particular cohort have been on a rollercoaster ride throughout their GCSE courses and it has been remarkable how they have adapted and applied themselves. They have worked incredibly hard and should celebrate their well-earned results. I would also like to pay tribute to our superb teachers who have worked tirelessly to minimise the impact of Covid-19 by providing pupils with first class support throughout lockdown and upon their return to school.”


Vice Principal Ben Williams added on behalf of the Year 11 pastoral and tutor team “We have been delighted to see so many of our pupils wearing huge smiles, and knowing that their hard work has paid off. The buzz of conversations throughout the school today has been overwhelmingly positive and it is great to hear all the exciting destinations our pupils have planned for next year.”


We would like to wish all of our pupils well for the next phase of their education.

SIXTH FORM SUCCESS WITH A-LEVEL RESULTS

Folkestone Academy students and staff are celebrating an excellent set of results for our Sixth Form students this summer following such a difficult two years. With the return of public exams this year our students’ exceptional motivation and hard work has been a credit to them. We all wish them well as they prepare for the next step in their lives. Read on...

This year is a transition year, grade comparisons between either last year or 2019 are challenging due to the differences in assessment methodology. What we do know is that 100% of our students who applied to university have successfully been placed and all other pupils have planned destinations in training or employment for September.

Some examples of where our students are moving on to include Brad Elliot, who gained two Distinction* and a Distinction, is completing an IT apprenticeship at ADM computing. We are proud of our University applicants who have accepted offers on varied courses including Dylan Spratley, two Distinction* and a Distinction, studying Cyber Security at De Montfort, George Cooper, with two As and a B, and will be studying Psychology at Surrey. Ella Hughes and Sydney Marsh, both who gained three Distinction*, to study Paramedic Science & Criminal Investigation respectively at Christ Church Canterbury and Alameen Lawal with a Distinction* and two Distinctions will be studying Finance at Northampton.

Trust Director of Sixth Form, Hannah Turner said:

“We are thrilled that our pupils have secured excellent results in both A-level and Vocational qualifications and have therefore have such fantastic destinations to go to. This is a product of all their hard work. We are confident that all our pupils are well prepared for their exciting futures ahead and we wish them all the best of luck.

Turner Schools organises Community Day for thousands of pupils

Pupils from across Folkestone have come together in a series of activities to celebrate and support their local community. More than 2,000 pupils from across Turner Schools spent the day giving back to the people around them in the organisation’s first ever ‘Community Day’. Read on...


Over the course of Community Day, pupils from all year groups spent their time making a positive impact across Folkestone. Different children were given different opportunities to give back to society so that every pupil across Turner Schools was able to participate and do their bit for Folkestone.

Activities included litter picking across the local area, children reading to members of Age UK Folkestone, creating ‘kindness parcels’ for residents of Folkestone care homes, and hosting tea and card games for grandparents and pensioners and much more.

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“It is so important to us all that pupils are encouraged to be generous members of their community. We wanted to take this day to show them how they can enjoy giving back to those around them and to help them understand the positive impact they can make. We expect our academies to contribute to their communities and across society in general, and to support our young people in becoming kind and open-hearted adults.

“The Community Day was a stunning success, and we are very excited to do this again in the future. We had a real range of different activities taking place and I know our pupils really enjoyed taking this time to make a difference for the wider Folkestone community. Hopefully the pupils’ hard work made a real impact on their community, and everyone across Folkestone enjoyed it as much as we did!”

Katy Tibbles, Stakeholder and Community Engagement Manager, said:

“Community Day has been a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of the wider community and for them to consider ways in which they can become active citizens who make a positive contribution to the town in which they live.”


Year 8 pupil, Folkestone Academy, said:

“I really enjoyed making the gift boxes that we delivered to local houses. I hope they put a smile on everyone’s and brightened up their day.”


Year 4 pupil, Folkestone Primary, said:

"I think it is important to be thankful to our community because they do a lot for us. I’m happy that we could do something nice for other people.”

Turner Schools hosts Creative Arts Exhibition to highlight pupils’ talents

Pupils from across Folkestone have showcased their artistic talents at the second ever 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, pupils from the three primary schools as well as Sixth Form pupils from Folkestone Academy performed a series of live shows. The Folkestone pupils sang, played the piano, danced and busked throughout the evening. After the performances there were speeches from notable dignitaries followed by prize giving.

Councillor David Monk, Leader of Folkestone & Hythe Council, and Deputy Mayor Councillor Belinda Walker attended the exhibition, along with school governors and other notable figures from across the trust. Councillor Walker and Turner Schools CEO Seamus Murphy presented prizes to the winning pupils.

The theme of this year’s exhibition was ‘We Are Folkestone’. This theme has allowed pupils to examine the town in which they live, looking at the past, present and future and creating a body of work which puts young voices at its heart.

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 continued to produce both in school and via home learning 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, a new initiative at Folkestone Academy.”

Michelle Foxwood, Turner Schools Creative Arts Director, said:

“We are not just five institutions working independently to tick off Ofsted criteria, but instead, a united collective invested in the continual regeneration of our town through its most important asset: young individuals who as a community will take us into the future.”

Exhibitions:

  • Superworm is Super-Long by Reception, Year 1 and 2 pupils

  • My Folkestone by Years 3 and 4

  • Folkestone of the Future by Years 5 and 6

  • Objects of Childhood by Years 7

  • Folkestone Year 7 Creative Arts Scholarship display

  • Generation Regeneration by Years 8 and 9

  • GCSE Fine Art by Years 10 and 11

  • GCSE Graphic Communication by Years 10 and 11

  • A-Level Fine Art by Years 12 and 13

  • A-Level Graphic Communication by Years 12 and 13

Shortlisted categories - Prizes presented by Deputy Mayor, Cllr Belinda Walker

  • Best in Reception / Key Stage 1 - won by James in Year 2 Martello Primary

  • Best in Key Stage 2 - won by Libby in Year 5 Morehall Primary

  • Best in Primary - won by Benjamin in Year 3 Martello Primary

  • Best in Key Stage 3 - won by Myrtle in Year 9 Folkestone Academy

  • Best in Key Stage 4 - won by Dailly in Year 11 Folkestone Academy

  • Best in Key Stage 5 - won by Pedro Year 13 Folkestone Academy

  • Best in Secondary - won by Maria Year 7 Folkestone Academy

  • Murphy Prize (Awarded by Seamus Murphy CEO of Turner Schools) won by Claudia in Year 12 Folkestone Academy

Martello Primary honoured with prestigious gold award

Martello Primary is celebrating having achieved the School Games Gold level Mark Award for the 2021/22 academic year.

The School Games Mark is a Government-led award scheme launched in 2012 by the Youth Sport Trust to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community. Participating in this process allows schools to evaluate their PE provision and assists them in developing an action plan for future progress. Read on...

Martello was awarded the Gold Mark for their commitment to competing in a range of sport competitions in school and in the community. The school also promotes positive attitudes towards competition and sportsmanship, as well as promoting healthy active lifestyles for its pupils.

The school has a notable commitment to sports, including: participating in the Herald Cup in football, sending teams to Years 1/2 football competitions and Years 5/6 football competitions, participating in golf festivals, dance events, rounders tournaments, swimming galas and even a dodgeball tournament.

Jade Goldfish, PE lead at Martello said:

“We are extremely pleased with our pupils' hard-work and dedication to keeping active.”

Charlotte Speed, Head of School at Martello Primary School, said:

“We are delighted to receive the School Games Gold Mark for our work in promoting sport and healthy living for our pupils and local community. It is so important to learn how to live an active life from an early age and we want to make sure every pupil here is enthused to take up a sport. We are committed to making sure every child is supported to find the right form of exercise for them and is able to stay physically active throughout their time at school.”

Hundreds of Folkestone pupils take part in Primary School Olympics

Hundreds of local primary school pupils have participated in the second Folkestone Academy Primary Schools Olympics. More than 270 10-11 year old pupils from five local schools took part in the sporting event organised by Folkestone Academy in partnership with The Sports Trust, which saw them enjoy a number of sports including Athletics, Cricket, Hockey, Football and Street Dance. Read on...

As in last year’s event, the pupils were supported by coaches from a range of different local clubs. The Hockey matches were supported by the Folkestone Optimists, Athletics by the Folkestone Junior Athletics Club, Cricket and Football by The Sports Trust and the Street Dance event by The Right Step Dance Company.

Pupils took part in all five activities so that they could try sports they may not previously have played during their time at primary school.

Sarah Green, The Sports Trust Project Manager for Schools and Folkestone School Games Organiser, said:

“The Sports Trust is a charity creating inclusive and inspiring environments for people to love sport and exercise. One way we aim to achieve our mission is to connect schools and sports clubs in the Folkestone and Hythe district. Today's Olympic event at the Folkestone Academy is one example of creating these connections while also using the power of sport to support primary school pupils' transition to secondary school.”

“We are very pleased that the day has been a success for the second year in a row and we hope all these year 5 pupils will go onto secondary school next September motivated to maintain their involvement in sport or take up a new sport to support their academic studies.”

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

“It was a real pleasure to welcome pupils from so many of our neighbouring schools to Folkestone Academy and to give them the opportunity to compete across a range of different sports. While some of the children had never before tried these sports, they were expertly supported by the fantastic coaches from The Sports Trust and local clubs.

“We have been delighted to host the Folkestone Academy Olympics for the last two years and look forward to continuing to do so. It’s a wonderful opportunity for these young people to experience a range of different activities and we hope will lead to these children taking up new sports in the future.”

The five schools who competed in the Folkestone Primary School Olympics are as follows:

  • Mundella Primary

  • Christ Church CEP Academy

  • St Mary’s CEP Academy

  • Folkestone Primary

  • Castle Hill Community School

Ofsted confirms Folkestone Academy is a Good school

School leaders at Folkestone Academy are today celebrating after Ofsted inspectors have confirmed that they are providing a good quality of education for all. The external inspectors recognised that school leaders are ambitious for all pupils to achieve and that pupils enjoy coming to the school. Read on...

In particular, Ofsted rated leadership and management at Folkestone Academy as Outstanding – the top possible grade - highlighting the work that school leaders and Turner Schools have done to ensure every pupil is able to learn. The report states they have worked “tenaciously to improve the school”, and that they are unwavering in their determination to ensure that pupils are provided with the very best education.

Other key highlights recognised in the report include:

  • Staff have high expectations for pupils’ behaviour and the school is calm and purposeful. Pupils behave well and are respectful to each other, while those who need extra support to manage their behaviour respond well to this. Behaviour in the classroom and around the school is strong, while leaders’ changes to the behaviour systems have significantly reduced the proportion of pupils receiving fixed-term exclusions.

  • School leaders have carefully designed an ambitious curriculum which is well structured to enable pupils to learn to their full potential. This allows pupils to study a broad range of subjects, while teachers’ strong subject knowledge makes learning interesting and engaging. This has led to pupils achieving well across a wide range of subjects.

  • Turner Schools provides high-quality training for all teachers to help them be as effective as possible and staff recognise this. Teachers work closely with each other and with their counterparts across the trust, which helps them reflect on and improve their teaching. Staff agree that they feel very well supported by school leaders and by the trust. Leaders do well to design school policies to make staff workloads manageable.

  • Reading has been recognised as a priority with extra support put in place for those pupils who do struggle here. The school has brought in a phonics-based approach which has been beneficial in supporting weaker pupils, including some who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND).

  • Pupils with SEND receive high levels of support from staff all levels of the school. They achieve well because school leaders identify their needs accurately and quickly, and then teaching staff use thoughtfully constructed education plans to support them.

  • Turner Schools offers a ‘Turner 25’ programme which provides 25 extra curricula activities for pupils. The Ofsted inspectors recognised the wide range of additional opportunities available, in particular the Year 7 creative arts scholarship programme which offers opportunities such as subsidised trips to dance performances. They also benefit from high-quality careers guidance so that they can make well informed choices about their next steps after Year 11 and Year 13.

  • Pupils feel safe and understand who to speak to if they do have any concerns. The school has introduced an online ‘worry button’ on its website as well as physical ‘worry boxes’ in school where pupils can ask for help anonymously if they do have any concerns. Bullying is uncommon but when it does take place it is effectively dealt with by staff.

  • Turner Schools’ trustees and governors are experienced and highly reflective. They are committed to ensuring the wellbeing of both staff and pupils and are well supported by the trust to make sure this happens. Trustees understand where the school still needs to improve and have plans in place to make sure that happens.

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

“We are all thrilled to have Ofsted recognise the great work which takes place here every day by saying we are a Good school. I am constantly impressed by how hard our staff and pupils work and it is fantastic to see the Ofsted inspectors report so positively on everything that we do here. I am very proud of every member of this school community and am looking forward to building on this foundation for the future.”

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“Congratulations to Steven and his team on this really encouraging report which fairly reflects their hard work and commitment to our children. It is clear to see that everyone at Folkestone Academy is committed to ensuring the best possible education for their pupils, and I am delighted that Ofsted agree we are on the right path to making sure this happens. Well done to all on this fine achievement.”

Folkestone pupils consider their futures after Construction Festival

Pupils at Turner Free School have welcomed the opportunity to learn more about future careers with the Turner Schools Construction and Engineering Festival. For the Festival, the school welcomed representatives from a number of sector specific companies including Walker Construction, BAM, and Bond Bryan Architects. Read on...

In the build up to the day, pupils spent their ‘tutor time’ learning about different job roles in the construction and engineering sector, as well as researching labour market information such as salaries and the forecasted growth of different jobs.

As well as having the opportunity to speak to exhibitors about their career paths and the roles within their organisations, pupils were also able to experience building projects through virtual reality headsets; participate in road surface racing games and navigate an obstacle course with remote control diggers.

The Festival was planned in partnership with Walker Construction and aimed to:

  1. Raise awareness of the construction and engineering industry and inspire young people to consider a career in the field;

  2. To help address challenges around skills shortages in the future;

  3. To challenge misconceptions about the types of job roles that make up the industry;

  4. To challenge stereotypes relating to the types of people that work in the industry.

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

“We were very pleased to hold our first face to face careers fair since the pandemic and we’re incredibly grateful to the companies that gave up their time to join us for the day. Careers education and employer engagement plays a virtual role in ensuring that our pupils are well prepared for their future and can make informed choices about their career options.

“It's great to see that there are businesses out there that appreciate the long term benefits of engaging with young people. Our pupils were enthused by what they saw and heard, and many of them came away seriously considering a career in the construction and engineering industry.

Charlotte Watts, Business Development Manager, Walker Construction, said:

“We’re happy to be supporting Turner Schools with their Construction and Engineering Festival. We hope that we've been able to inspire some of the pupils and maybe bust a few myths about our industry. We really appreciate the school opening their doors to local employers and giving us the opportunity to work together in preparing the construction workers of the future.”

Sophie, a Year 10 pupil at Turner Free School, said:

“I’ve really enjoyed today! I’ve learnt a lot about the construction industry and it’s made me think about jobs that I hadn’t considered before. I found the architect very interesting because I enjoy graphic design and could use these skills in this role.”

Notes:

The full list of companies who attended the Festival is as follows:

  • Walker Construction

  • Bond Bryan Architects

  • Modus Construction Consultants

  • BAM

  • Gallagher

  • Innvu

  • Kent County Council civil engineers

Folkestone pupils perform and record series of radio plays

Folkestone pupils have enjoyed flexing their creative muscles in a project working with experienced radio professionals from Academy FM Folkestone. The ‘Reconnect Radio Drama’ project saw children rehearsing and recording a series of dramatic scripts in the Academy FM studios and other locations across their schools. Read on...

The project came about after Kent County Council's 'Reconnect' fund donated nearly £5,000 to Academy FM Folkestone to offer local children new opportunities. In total, the Academy FM team worked with 50 children from Martello Primary, Folkestone Primary and Morehall Primary.

Scripts were written by the Project Leaders and designed to meet the children’s ability levels and objectives, with the Martello Primary and Folkestone Primary pupils working in groups of five. The Folkestone Academy groups, who chose to record an act of A Midsummer Night’s Dream worked in larger groups.

Pupils from all three schools practised their scripts repeatedly with regular and positive feedback from the Academy FM team, before recording in the Academy FM studios as well as a range of interior and exterior locations across the schools. Sound effects and other production were added afterwards to ensure the finished pieces were as entertaining and realistic as possible.

Academy FM's impact is clear to see in Primary school surveying:

  • 100% of children agreed they enjoyed the radio activities

  • 89% said it had improved their confidence after the pandemic

  • 84% said the project had helped them to speak more confidently

  • 66% said the radio activities had helped them enjoy school and their learning more

  • 95% would like to do similar activities as a regular opportunity

  • 89% would like more opportunities to do radio drama or presenting.

A selection of the radio pieces were then turned into a video which can be found here.

David Sharp, Academy FM Manager, said:

“It was great to get the support of KCC and their Reconnect fund for this project. It was clear the children were interested in trying new things after the disruption of Covid and this was a great opportunity to work on their creative skills. They tackled every task with enthusiasm and a clear desire to improve, and over time it was clear to see their confidence and ability increasing.

“This was unquestionably one of the best projects we have worked on to date and we all loved seeing how much it meant to these children. We have gone onto a much bigger 'Reconnect Radio' project supported by KCC, which sees us working with 12 schools across Kent”

Seamus Murphy from Turner Schools, said:

“Thank you to KCC's Reconnect fund, and the Academy FM team for their hard work in designing and running this incredibly valuable project for our children. It’s obvious how much this has helped the children develop their creative and performing skills, as well as their confidence in their daily lives. This is a fantastic example of the exciting opportunities that our schools offer outside of the classroom as part of our wider provision.

Notes:

The project was planned by David Sharp, Station Manager at Academy FM Folkestone with advice from Sadie Hurley of Jim Jam Arts. It was delivered by Lucy Thompson (freelance drama practitioner) and Katherine Castle (an experienced Teaching Assistant with a BA in Drama who currently works at Academy FM).



FOLKESTONE ACADEMY'S ANNUAL MATHS CHALLENGE

Sixteen primary schools from across Folkestone and Hythe have competed for the title of Maths Challenge Champion for the eleventh year. This year saw St Martin’s CofE Primary School take the title, having finished second in the last competition in 2019. Stella Maris Catholic Primary School came in second place, with Palmarsh Primary also making up the top three. Read on...

The challenge took place following a two year hiatus due to the pandemic. Over the course of the all-day event, pupils competed in a range of Maths-based activities including a speed test, murder mystery quiz, code breaking, number crosswords and a relay quiz to finish.

The competition was hosted by Folkestone Academy, and was organised by the Maths Department there, led by Keith Denchfield. In total, a record-breaking sixteen primary schools took part. All pupils went away with a goody bag and certificate.

Keith Denchfield said:

‘I was very impressed with the high abilities of the Year 5 pupils who responded well to a number of challenging questions which really stretched their mathematical minds. I look forward to seeing them here in a few years and working with them to develop their maths skills even further!”

Steve Shaw, Head of School at Folkestone Academy, who presented the winners’ trophy to the St Martin’s CofE Primary School team, said:

“It was wonderful to have so many primary school children in the Academy and to see such a range of activities, with so many pupils clearly enjoying themselves.I am delighted that we were able to host this competition once more after a couple of years of not having it, and am already looking forward to the next one!

“Congratulations in particular to the St Martin’s, Stella Maris and Palmarsh mathematician, and for those primary schools that fell short this time don't worry, there is always next year! Well done to all involved.”

The full list of schools to take part is as follows:

Folkestone Primary, Morehall Primary School, Martello Primary School, Hythe Bay CofE Primary, Castle Hill Community School, Lyminge CofE Primary School, The Churchill School, All Soul’s CofE Primary School, St Eanswythe's CofE Primary, Christ Church CofE Academy, Mundella Primary School, St Augustine’s Catholic Primary School and Selsted CofE Primary School.

Ofsted praises Martello Primary School in glowing report

Staff and pupils at Martello Primary School are celebrating after a glowing report from Ofsted following their recent inspection earlier in March. The school, part of Turner Schools in Folkestone, was judged to offer a ‘Good’ quality of education across every category for the first time in the school’s history, clearly demonstrating the high standards at Martello. Read on...

The Ofsted inspectors noted that school leaders at Martello are ambitious for their pupils and have ensured the school is well managed at all levels. Pupils feel safe while at school and agree that teachers are kind, while staff develop warm and caring relationships which allow them to get the best out of their classes.

The inspectors also highlighted the support of leaders within Turner Schools who work closely with the team at Martello to ensure teachers receive highly effective professional development. This has led to teaching becoming increasingly expert, particularly in reading and mathematics which are key priorities at the school. Teachers spoke highly of the development opportunities they are offered and the trust-wide opportunities they have to share expertise with other schools.

Key highlights recognised in the report include:

  • School leaders have carefully considered each subject and where it fits into the wider school curriculum to ensure this is well-structured. This ensures that lessons are interesting and engaging which means that pupils are happy to work hard in the classroom. The mathematics curriculum was highlighted as being particularly well designed to ensure pupils start with a secure base of learning before being introduced to more complex problems.

  • Teaching children how to read is a key priority at Martello. In the Early Years provision children develop speaking and listening skills, and improve their vocabulary, which allows them to make good progress in reading. This is well monitored so that any pupil at risk of falling behind can be identified in good time and given the support to help them catch up quickly.

  • Pupils are happy and confident learners and speak very positively about their school. They know they can speak to staff if they have any concerns and are confident they will be listened to. They have a mature understanding that everyone is different, and that respect and tolerance are crucial to maintaining good relationships with each other.

  • Pupils are also provided with a number of opportunities to develop responsibilities, such as older pupils training as playground leaders to support their younger peers during playtime and other breaks in the school day. Behaviour across the school is good and pupils find their classes enjoyable. They try hard even when challenged.

  • Leaders have made the school a focal point of the community and provide valuable support for pupils and their families. Parents were happy to speak to the Ofsted inspectors and highlight the compassion that the Martello team showed for the families of their pupils.

  • Pupils with special educational needs are well supported as specialist teachers’ knowledge and expertise is shared across the staff body. Parents are also offered help, guidance and support with their children to support their learning and wellbeing at home. These children are given effective support and adaptations to make sure they can still access the curriculum and thrive with their education.

Louise Lythgoe, Executive Head Teacher at Martello Primary School, said:

“Martello Primary is a wonderful school. We are incredibly proud of the children and staff and delighted that Ofsted have recognised and commended everything that we are doing to ensure pupils are well taught and cared for. Thank you to our families for their support and contribution to Martello’s success. We look forward to enhancing provision further as we build on what has been achieved so far.

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“Congratulations to Louise, her team, and everyone at Martello Primary School on this glowing Ofsted report which recognises everyone’s hard work. It is clear to see that pupils here are receiving the best possible start to life, and I am so pleased that the inspectors got to see what makes this school so special. To be declared a Good school is a fine achievement, and I am delighted for them.”

CEO writes to parents within the trust in response to the recent statement from the SEND Director at KCC

Seamus Murphy, Turner Schools CEO, writes a letter in response to a statement made from Kent County Council SEND Director regarding support for children with special educational needs and disabilities in mainstream schools.

Read his letter here.

Folkestone Academy celebrates £130,000 grant for new Horticulture project

Staff and pupils at Folkestone Academy are celebrating after winning a £134,631 grant for a new Horticulture and Environmental Science (HES) building. The grant was organised by the Friends of Folkestone Academy group and will be used to build a permanent outdoor classroom to complement the school’s existing horticulture provision. Read on...

This outdoor classroom will ensure teaching can take place in all weathers. School leaders plan to use this for Year 10 and Year 11 pupils as part of Folkestone Academy’s alternative education provision, while Key Stage 3 pupils will have one horticultural lesson a week.

The HES building will be designed to industrial agricultural warehouse standards, but with the capacity for classroom growing stations to provide hands-on experience for pupils. Photovoltaic roof installations will enable the classroom to be self-powered to further enhance the building's green credentials as well as demonstrate climate reduction strategies

During school holidays the HES building will be used as a base for horticulture themed holiday clubs for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. These will target children who become more vulnerable during holiday periods and those who are least likely to have access to outdoor space when at home.

Turner Schools also plans for this classroom to provide new opportunities to engage with the local community. An area will be allocated for specific use by community groups such as the local Age UK gardening group, and Turner staff are in discussions with South Kent Mind about delivering wellbeing and mindfulness workshops using this space.

Michael Pearce, at Friends of Folkestone Academy, said:

“We are delighted to work with Folkestone Academy to ensure they receive this grant which will prove transformative to their practical outdoors teaching. This will ensure Folkestone pupils are able to receive high-quality environmental science and horticulture teaching throughout the year as well as offering a hugely valuable community space. Above all this project will be a critical element in Folkestone Academy becoming a flagship ECO school and leading on this educational initiative across the town.

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

“The new HES building will prove hugely beneficial to our plans to offer a great range of practical outdoor learning for our pupils. We have employed an experienced horticulturalist as lead teacher and have two experienced teachers currently training. We also see the HES building as a training centre for primary staff from our trust and feeder schools. In the long run we also see the building as a base for L3 provision locally.

“We also see this becoming a flagship building for promoting environmental issues and highlighting careers and progression opportunities in the horticulture and environmental science industries. We are planning to organise a series of talks and workshops led by industry specialists in partnership with external agencies to promote the benefits of this.”

Folkestone Academy Hosts Sell Out Dance Show at Leas Cliff Hall

After two years' delay due to Covid restrictions the Breaking Waves Dance Showcase returned to the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone, for its seventh show. Hosted by Folkestone Academy the evening consisted of performances from over 320 young people aged between 4 and 18 from 18 groups from Folkestone, Dover and Canterbury. Read on...

Following the success of previous years, the event was kindly awarded another free day at the Leas Cliff Hall by Folkestone and Hythe District Council, allowing more people from the wider community to attend. All profits raised from the show were donated to Academy FM Folkestone, a charity radio station working with people in the local community.

There are also performances by pupils from five primary schools: Folkestone Primary; Martello Primary, Folkestone; Morehall Primary, Folkestone; St Eanswythe’s CE Primary, Folkestone and Sibertswold Primary, Shepherdwell in Dover. Finally, seven dance schools including Instep Dance Company, Studio Six, Julia’s School, KDanceStudio, Tahmineh School of Dance, Chloe Scott and Beddow Academy, Dover.

Patricia Cullen, Head of Dance at the Academy, has been organising the event over the past six months working with schools from all over East Kent. The evening combined a variety of genres of dance including jazz, ballet, urban, commercial, lyrical and contemporary. This was a collaborative event with performances from secondary school performers from Folkestone Academy; Turner Free School; Brockhill Performing Arts College, Hythe; Spires Academy, Canterbury; Astor College, Dover and The Duke of York's Royal Military School, Dover.

Daniel, aged 7, who performed in the showcase, said:

“I kept thinking there was so many people as I looked out into the audience, I was really excited dancing on stage for the first time.”

Patricia Cullen said:

“I am absolutely thrilled that we were able to give these young people the chance to perform live to an audience in such a wonderful theatre. Seeing the dancers beaming with pride as they exited the stage was so emotional for me and is something I will never forget.

“All of the groups, from newly-formed groups to established companies, delivered performances of such a high standard. Having more than 300 dancers perform to a sell-out audience was an incredible sight, and I loved watching them showcase their talents across a range of styles. It was particularly special for me as my new dance school ‘Tahmineh School of Dance’ took part, as well as my oldest son Daniel.

“Having taught at Folkestone Academy for 12 years now I have seen Breaking Waves grow each year, with this year’s event the biggest to date. Thank you to everyone that took part, from the teachers who choreographed brilliant pieces to the dancers who took to the stage with confidence to showcase their talent.

“I am so proud of everyone who took part in the showcase. The talent was exceptional and the atmosphere in the room was amazing.”

Award winning actress Jessica Hynes on judging panel for school talent celebration

Pupils from across Turner Schools had the chance to wow their peers at the first annual Turner’s Got Talent showcase at Folkestone Academy. In total, ten acts from across the trust performed their acts, including musicians, dancers, singers, and gymnasts. The ten finalists were given the chance to compete after each school held its own heats with more than 170 pupils across Turner Schools participating and showcasing their talent. Read on...

During the final showcase prizes were awarded by a panel of judges including renowned actress Jessica Hynes, Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools, Krissy Yates, Principal at Turner Free School and Local Councillor Jackie Meade.

The Turner’s Got Talent crown was taken by winners Holly, Peter, Zach and Josh from Folkestone Academy who performed ‘Come as you are’ by Nirvana.

In addition to the grand prize, Adela from Morehall Primary School was named Best in Primary for her cello performance of Spring Song by Frank Bridge, while Isabelle from Turner Free School won Best in Secondary for singing ‘Traitor’ by Olivia Rodrigo and Sienna from Martello Primary won The Murphy Prize, a prize that recognises potential talent in the future, for her rendition of ‘Try Everything’ by Shakira.

Holly, Year 9 Folkestone Academy pupil, from the winning band, said:

“I was very happy to win this great prize! We rehearsed this song for a couple of months and it’s nice to see that our hard work paid off. We have named our trophy ‘Benny’.”

Jessica Hynes said:

“Well done to all the performers, there was a fantastic amount of talent on the stage. We chose the winners because they showed incredible talent, dedication and amazing potential. We all agreed they had a kind of magic and an alchemy of fantastic performance skill. I really hope they go on and keep doing it because they really have got something.”

She continued: “Nothing is impossible, it’s really important thinking about performance and the Arts it sometimes seems unreachable. It isn’t! All you need is talent, focus, dedication and to keep on working. Any dream, no dream is too big.”

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“Congratulations to Holly, Peter, Zach and Josh on being named winners of the Turner’s Got Talent competition, and to every single one of our performers for their hard work. The competition was a resounding success and really highlighted the depth of talent across Turner Schools, which was absolutely fantastic to see. I’m sure these pupils will continue to showcase their skills over the coming years and I look forward to watching them do so.”

Folkestone pupils mark Queen’s Jubilee with tree-planting ceremony

Pupils across Folkestone have marked the Queen’s Jubilee by planting trees in celebration. Pupils at Martello Primary School, Morehall Primary School, Folkestone Primary, Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School planted a tree outside the school buildings as part of a national campaign of celebration. Read on...

The initiative, organised by The Queen’s Canopy, calls for schools to get involved and celebrate their outside spaces. In total more than one million trees have been planted in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The project is a unique tree planting initiative and invites people from across the country to plant their own trees to celebrate this historic milestone.

The Turner Schools team sourced their trees through Kent Historical Trees from Brogdale Collections, planting five trees, including two cherries, two acers and one ornamental plum in total. The pupils were also warded a commemorative plaque by the Queen’s Canopy initiative in honour of their efforts.

This is just the latest action by Turner Schools pupils to raise awareness of climate change and to look at how they can be more environmentally responsible. Pupils at Folkestone Primary and Martello Primary School have formed an Eco Council to look at addressing the school’s environmental impact, while their peers at Morehall Primary voted for Eco Champions to represent them and to decide which eco-friendly projects they should implement.

Cayden Collins, newly appointed Head Boy at Folkestone Academy Sixth Form, said:

“I feel very privileged to be a part of the tree planting at Folkestone Academy. The Year 7 pupils that accompanied the Head Girl and myself will get to watch the tree grow during their time at the Academy. I’m looking forward to coming back in years to come and seeing the progress the tree has made, knowing that I was a part of its beginning.”

Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools, said: DRAFT

“It’s fantastic to see our pupils are so keen to find out more about nature and the joys of spending time outside. They are really environmentally conscious and are so keen on doing what they can to raise awareness of climate change and to make a positive impact on the natural world around them.

“The Queen’s Canopy initiative is a fantastic means of getting schoolchildren out in the fresh air and to highlight the great wellbeing benefits of spending time with nature. These trees will form a lasting monument to this historic milestone.”

New Head of School takes up role at TFS

Turner Schools is today announcing the appointment of Jennifer van Deelen as Head of School at Turner Free School (TFS). Ms van Deelen will be working closely with current Principal Kristina Yates, who will become the executive principal of both Turner secondary schools from September 2022. Read on...

Ms van Deelen has taught Modern Foreign Languages across years 11-18 at a wide variety of schools throughout her career. She joins TFS from The Sittingbourne School, where she was Deputy Headteacher, and before that she was Assistant Head of Sixth Form at Folkestone Academy. She is a graduate of Oxford University where she read Modern Languages.

Jennifer van Deelen said:

“I am thrilled to be appointed to this post and cannot wait to get started. It is such an exciting time to be working at Turner Free School, and I am so positive about what we have planned for the coming years.

“It is a real privilege to be appointed to this position, and one that I take very seriously. I’m really looking forward to working with our Turner Free School community to provide an excellent education for the young people within our care.

“It is important to me that we uphold and promote the school’s core values of Teamwork, Fairness and Success, and that we meet the trust's ambitions to transform education, to build strong partnerships with families, local employers, and community groups. This is vital to ensuring that our pupils leave school with the courage, knowledge, and character to go out into the world and fulfil their potential.”

Seamus Murphy, Chief Executive of Turner Schools said:

“We are delighted to welcome Ms van Deelen back to Turner Schools to take up this vital role at Turner Free School. She is a highly experienced school leader who will be a huge asset to the trust and to every member of the TFS community and who will help take the school from strength to strength. We want to make sure that every pupil across our schools receives the best possible education, and I believe that Ms van Deelen will be instrumental to making sure that happens.”

CEO writes about 2022 White paper

Turner Schools CEO, Seamus Murphy, has written an article for the Schools Weeks publication based on his own opinion about the collaboration between trusts and local authorities.

Click on the link to the right to read more...

Turner Schools names new Head of School at Martello Primary School

Turner Schools has announced the appointment of Charlotte Speed as Head of School at Martello Primary School. The Folkestone primary school had previously been led by Louise Lythgoe, who is Director of Primary Improvement across Turner Schools. Read on...

Mrs Speed is currently in her fifth year working as a senior leader at Martello Primary School. Mrs Speed was employed as SENDCo at Martello Primary in 2018 and was promoted to Vice Principal after two years due to her hard work and dedication to improving outcomes in all areas of the curriculum for all pupils.

As a passionate educationalist, Mrs Speed has successfully led on key areas of the curriculum, including English, whilst also leading on behaviour, attendance and safeguarding. Mrs Speed’s strong leadership, warmth of personality and knowledge of the school made her the perfect fit for Head of School.

Charlotte Speed said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the Head of School at Martello Primary. The students, parents and community mean so much to me and I’m excited to be able to continue the hard work and dedication of my predecessor to maintain the high standards we have achieved since I joined the school over four years ago.”

Seamus Murphy, Chief Executive of Turner Schools said:

“Mrs Speed has repeatedly proven herself as a strong leader and valuable member of staff who is highly respected by all who work with her. I am absolutely delighted that she will be taking on this new post as Head of School and I know the school will continue to provide a fantastic education to all pupils under her leadership.”

TFS Celebrates Official Opening

On Friday March 18, staff and pupils at Turner Free School celebrated the school’s official opening at a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Dr Jo Saxton, former CEO of Turner Schools and now Chief Regulator of Ofqual, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the school. Read on...

The ceremony was attended by a number of high-profile guests, including Damian Collins MP and a number of Folkestone’s local councillors. They were treated to a tour of the school’s new permanent buildings followed by presentations from Principal Kristina Yates; Mike Buchanan, Chair of Trustees of Turner Schools, and Dr Saxton, as well as a speeches from current pupils and a performance by the school choir. The ceremony ended with Dr Saxton cutting the ribbon.

Kristina Yates comments: "We are absolutely delighted that our pupils and staff are now able to make the most of the incredible facilities we have on offer. We have been so proud of our pupils, who have coped brilliantly with the many challenges and delays caused by the pandemic.

“Finally TFS pupils are enjoying their learning in specialist spaces, including an engineering suite, a fully-equipped food technology room, and our fantastic lecture theatre. Our large, open-plan, Heart Spaces also enable the TFS community to take part in Family Dining and work as a cohesive team every day."

Turner Free School, a secondary school for 11 to 18 year olds, opened to Year 7 pupils in September 2018. Permission was granted for the new build in October 2019, with work completed in May 2021. Turner Schools – a family of five schools in the Folkestone Area – the school aims to nurture 11-18 year old pupils with a passion for learning, who have the confidence, knowledge and ambition to go out into the world and fulfil their potential.

Schools celebrate their community through ‘Folkestone Talks’

Care 4 Calais, Kent Police and the Napier Barracks are just some of the guests invited in to meet pupils of Turner Schools during their month-long ‘Folkestone Talks’ - a Trust-wide celebration of the people who make up their local community. Read on...

The initiative, which is running throughout March, is a wonderful opportunity for pupils to meet people who live or work in the town and to benefit from the stories, backgrounds and experiences that they can share. It aims to:

  • Celebrate Folkestone’s diversity;

  • Encourage pupils to feel proud of their town;

  • Promote empathy and cultural awareness;

  • Prepare pupils for life in a modern world.

Over 70 members of the community have committed to participating, including representatives from the Nepalese and Roma communities; various churches and religious groups; 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. So far, events have been held at Turner Free School, Morehall Primary and Martello Primary, with dates set for Folkestone Academy and Folkestone Primary later on in the month. By the end of the series, over 900 pupils will have participated in the events.

Katy Tibbles, Community Engagement Manager, Turner Schools, said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support that’s been shown by the community towards these events. It’s a fantastic way for our pupils to meet the wide variety of people that play a part in the town and who help to make Folkestone a great place to live and work. At Turner Schools, it’s part of our mission to strengthen communities and I feel that these events have been successful in doing that.”

Haydee Blaskett, Environmental Enforcement Officer, Folkestone and Hythe District Council, said: “We thoroughly enjoyed the morning and would like to say how wonderful and polite all the children were. They were really engaged and were asking some brilliant questions that were really relevant to our role and about the town.”

Mick Cronin, Community Liaison Officer, Kent Police, said: “I’ve very much enjoyed taking part in the Folkestone Talks events across the Turner Schools. It’s been a great opportunity to bring together different groups from the community and to celebrate the diversity that exists in the town. Initiatives such as these play an important part in developing community cohesion.”

Noah (Year 4, Morehall) said: “I really enjoyed meeting lots of new people and finding out about their lives, feelings and jobs”.

Parent (Turner Free School) said: “As a parent I would like to thank you as a school for not only helping to shape my daughters academic future but also herself as a person with activities like this. “

Care for Ukraine

Pupils, staff and parents across the family of five Turner Schools came together to show their ‘Care for Ukraine’ in a charity appeal last week. During the initiative, which ran from Monday 7 March, the communities of Folkestone Academy, Folkestone Primary, Martello Primary, Morehall Primary and Turner Free School collected food, toiletries and other essential items to be transported to the people of Ukraine in their hour of need. Read on...

Items donated included: first aid products, baby milk, hygiene products, sanitary products, instant soup sachets and paper plates. And now, the Trust has made a link with Folkestone’s BigJigs Toys, who are organising and the sorting items before they are transported by Freight 44, another local, haulage, business in the area.

Following on from this appeal, Folkestone Academy also held a ‘Wear Something Blue or Yellow Day’, a cake sale and Ukraine ribbon sale, which together raised just over £600 in total. The funds will be donated to the British Red Cross appeal.

Seamus Murphy, CEO, Turner Schools, said: “Like many others up and down the country, our school communities have been touched by the crisis in Ukraine and we have felt compelled to act in support. Everyone has rallied around, including pupils from Folkestone Academy, who have volunteered during lunchtimes to help the team at BigJigs sort through the donated items. We teach our pupils the value of charity, community and compassion - it has been humbling to see them enact those values, and show their care for Ukraine, over this past week. We hope this will help in some small way.”

Talking To Pupils About the Ukraine Crisis

Interview with Seamus Murphy 1.3.22 on BBC Radio 4

Interview with Seamus Murphy 2.3.22 on BBC Radio Kent

Radio 4 Interview 1st March 2022.mp4
Radio Kent Interview.mp4

Rotary Club Donate Trees to Morehall

Pupils from the heart of the Garden of England have planted two fruit trees, donated by Folkestone Rotary Club to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

The year 3 children from Morehall Primary School, part of the Turner Schools trust, were joined by Kate McNiece, Chair of Folkestone’s Rotary Club, and Councillor Jackie Meade to plant the apple and cherry trees on the school field. Read on below...

The newly planted trees will make an excellent addition to the school’s outdoor curriculum, which already boasts a forest school area and burgeoning kitchen garden. Over the coming weeks, pupils and staff, who are extremely passionate about gardening and spending time outdoors, will be building insect habitats and growing vegetables for cookery lessons and Jubilee celebration treats.

Mrs Am’e Moris, Principal at Morehall Primary School, said: “At Morehall Primary we are very passionate about our outdoor space and outdoor learning opportunities for our children. We have recently employed a specialist outdoor education teaching assistant to run fantastic outdoor sessions with our children, who have already built bird boxes, bat boxes and a specialised bee house. We have many more exciting plans to "eat what we grow", turning over some of our field to vegetable patches.

“We are so thankful to the Rotary Club for their donation to our kitchen garden and for helping us to mark such a significant occasion. Our young gardeners were so excited to take part in the planting process and are eager to nurture the trees and watch them grow for many, many years to come. And we very much look forward to reaping the fruits of our labour!”

Glass Making Workshop

Pupils at Martello Primary, a Turner School in Folkestone, learnt how to make their own glass art at a workshop led by local artist Sarah Sillibourne, which was funded by Music and Arts for the Shepway Community (MASC) charity. Read on below...

During the unique glass art workshop Ashford-based Sarah showed the pupils how to shape and colour glass and helped them craft their own pieces - wonderful suncatchers which, once kilned, will be given as gifts to someone special. A number of parents and families with preschool children also attended, which added to the experience for pupils.

Sarah’s glass making ranges from wall art and splash backs to large decorative bowls. Her inspiration comes from her natural surroundings, taking colour, pattern and texture to relate in one form or another into her work. As well as producing glass art she runs educational workshops for school aged children.

Louise Lythgoe, Executive Headteacher, Martello Primary, said: “This was a great experience for our pupils. We were all wowed by their creativity; they had some fantastic ideas and we can't wait to see what the pieces look like when they return from the kiln! Staff and pupils would like to extend sincere thanks to 'MASC' for their generosity in funding the project and to Sarah for her wonderful workshop.”

Pupils; comments:

  • “It was really fun. I particularly liked using the spaghetti glass for the middle of each petal of the flower.” Wilfred, Year 2

  • “I loved it when we added the coloured frits to add detail.” Sofia, Year 2

  • “I loved it when we could see the finished piece. We made flowers and the glass sparkled like diamonds.” Oscar, Year 2

Gallery on the Gate

Parents and carers picking up at Folkestone Primary on Friday 11 February 2022 were treated to their very own playground art exhibition, courtesy of a new ‘Gallery on the Gate’. The initiative showcased pupils’ art work on the school’s railings and gate, bringing a splash of creativity and colour to home time. Read on below...

Pupils from across the Turner School primary participated in the exhibition. They experienced the thrill of displaying their work in public and their multi-media pieces, inspired by their local community, attracted many positive comments from parents and passers-by.

Gallery on the Gate is part of the Trust’s T25 campaign to provide 25 formative and enriching experiences to each of its pupils while at primary school, and a further 25 during their secondary years. The experiences, which are designed to support the pupils’ wider development and long-term success, can broadly be divided into the following categories: capturing culture, creative performing, connecting with the community, acting mindfully and staying safe. The categories cover a broad range of activities, from visiting national cultural institutions, learning CPR, gaining new qualifications or even learning how to ride a bike.

Louise Feaver, Principal at Folkestone Primary, said: “We wanted all our children to experience having their artwork displayed in the style of a gallery exhibition. Gallery on the Gate was a way of showcasing the artistic talents of every child in our school with our community. It was admired by all, and many parents commented on what an innovative and creative idea it was. It was lovely to see how proud the children were of their achievement.”

Children's quotes:

  • Jack S – “It’s good that everybody completed a piece, it shows everyone’s uniqueness but also everyone together as a whole school."

  • Millie-Clare D - "It was lovely for our parents to come and see our artwork. My parents loved coming to see how everyone is doing in their learning. I don't know of any other school that's done something like this!"

  • Tululah L- “It was so much fun painting our pictures and using different skills, like cutting, sticking, painting and drawing.”

  • Jack W - “I liked the labels so that you could see who made the picture and tell them how good it was!”

  • Hafssa T - “I felt really proud to be part of something that turned out so well.

Number Day 2022

Morehall Primary pupils had a fantastic day celebrating all things Maths related in this year's Number Day. Watch the video to find out more!

Morehall Number Day 2022

Academy Pupils Raise Money for Make a Wish Foundation

Year 8 pupils at Folkestone Academy have used their design skills to raise hundreds of pounds for the Make a Wish Foundation. The pupils raised £270.71 for the charity by designing and creating a range of tie-dye tote bags and selling them to family, friends, and staff members across the school. Read on...

The 12 and 13-year-olds, along with their tutor Miss Diwell, came up with the idea as part of a form tutor class charity initiative. After designing and creating the bags, the pupils sent information around the school and their homes so that parents, staff and other pupils could purchase them from the Reception Desk at Folkestone Academy.

In addition to their tie-dye colour scheme the bags also featured images chosen by the pupils to reinforce their belief in safeguarding the environment and raising awareness of pollution. The reusable bags are designed to replace single-use plastic bags and help keep Folkestone green.

Nathaniel, one of the Year 8 pupils, said:

“We are so proud of how hard we all worked to make the tote bags and also how much money we raised for the Make A Wish charity.”

Miss Diwell said:

“I am so impressed with the dedication by the pupils when making their tote bags for Make A Wish. They did everything from designing the artwork, dying the fabric, ironing each bag and setting up a stall to sell the tote bag. The pupils really admire all the amazing work Make A Wish Foundation does to help other children and hope that their donation can contribute to that.”

Watching local artist paint via Live Stream

Martello Primary enjoyed the most wonderful live art experience, having the privilege of hosting local artist Shane Record in their hall, watching him work his magic, right there in front of pupils! Read on...

The whole school was invited to sit and watch Shane work, and create their own artwork inspired by his, as he brought a beautiful painting of a stunning Folkestone view to life before our very eyes. He even invited a handful of lucky children to step up and assist him in adding the finishing touches to his landscape, giving some expert tips and tricks to anybody who wanted them along the way.

We’d like to thank Shane again for stopping by Martello and delivering a fantastic, memorable experience for everybody involved. We hope this won’t be the last time we see him at Martello, paintbrush in hand!

Cadets Selected for Prestigious Training Course

Captain Baynes and the rest of the CCF staff would like to say a huge congratulations to three lucky Cadets. R Denne, A Elliot and J Franks have been selected for the Senior Cadet Instructors Cadre (SCIC).

The SCIC is a leadership course run externally by the local training Brigade. On this course they will be assessed on their ability to teach other Cadets from all over the country. They will also develop great leadership skills, as well as the skills needed to camp out for 24 hours.

It is a huge honour to be selected for this course and they will gain essential skills that will help them for the rest of their lives.

We are so proud of their high achievements.

Folkestone Academy chefs team up with the Royal Navy

Selected Year 10 and 11 Catering pupils at Folkestone Academy have been given the chance to see the skills and experiences on offer from a life at sea. The pupils welcomed representatives from the Royal Navy Chefs Display team to school for a series of workshops to showcase the variety of careers on offer in the Navy. Read on...

The Navy representatives explained that there are more than 100 roles on offer across the service with 9 branch specialties, including Aviation, Engineering, Logistics, Warfare and Medical. They also spoke of the benefits of joining the Navy, the opportunities for lifelong learning and training including the chance to gain NVQs and formal Apprenticeships.

After the careers presentation the Folkestone pupils had the chance to take part in a Ready Steady Cook style task where they were challenged to prepare a meal within a set time limit using their Catering skills. The Navy officers oversaw the challenge and spoke about the similarities to their own roles where they’ll have to prepare meals within strict timeframes, as well as their own life experiences since joining up.

The visit highlighted the challenges of working in the Navy across a variety of roles and linked the pupils’ work on their Catering course to what experienced naval personnel have to do on a regular basis.

Year 11 Ethan said

"I really enjoyed the cooking lesson. It was interesting to hear about the different jobs in the Navy."

Year 11 Amelia said

"The lesson has made me think about exploring a job catering within the Navy."

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

“Thank you to the Royal Navy Chefs Display team for taking the time to come into school and show off their catering skills to our pupils. It was a really interesting and engaging session which highlighted how the lessons learned in their kitchen can be used in the real world and in such a variety of different roles. It’s given our pupils a better understanding of the possible careers out there for them after they leave school, which is so important as they come to the end of their time here.”

Turner Schools Christmas Concert 2021

Pupils from Folkestone Academy, Folkestone Primary, Martello Primary, Morehall Primary and Turner Free School perform in our first Turner Schools Christmas Concert.

Local Rotary Club Young Chef Competition

A Folkestone Academy pupil has won the Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh round of this year’s Rotary Young Chef competition, which took place on Thursday 18th November. Read on...

The winner was 16-year-old Isabel Keutenius, who prepared a seafood and chicken paella. She received a cash prize, a cookery book and a certificate, presented by the president of the Rotary Club of Folkestone, Kate McNeice.

The competition was judged by three local hotel chefs on the taste and presentation of their dishes as well as the costs, planning, healthy choices and range of skills used. They had an hour to show correct use of knives and equipment, neatness of their work area and hygiene, as well as producing two plates of food on time and at a good temperature.

Supported by the Hospitality and Catering Department staff at Folkestone Academy, Isabel will now go forward to the District round of the competition early next year.

Isabel comments: “I was very surprised to hear that I had won the Young Chef award as everyone who participated did such an amazing job. I am so thankful for my Teachers support and for this fantastic opportunity.”

Folkestone Pupils Take Part in Diversity and Inclusion Week

School leaders across Turner Schools have worked together to launch a trust-wide Diversity and Inclusion week. Pupils in all year groups across all five schools took part in a range of activities throughout the week including subject specific lessons, workshops and presentations from a range of guest speakers.

The aim of the week was to broaden pupils’ awareness of what is meant by diversity and inclusion; to encourage pupils to develop a greater sense of empathy and understanding towards those who are different to themselves; and to gain an appreciation for the diverse community in which we live.

Events included:

  • Neurodiversity workshops with The Young Animators Club - Pupils participated in workshops on the concept of neurodiversity and how it feels to be neurodiverse, before producing animations to reflect their thoughts.

  • Anti-racism workshops with Books for Change - Pupils actively engaged in workshops delivered by Books for Change where they talked about the impact of racism and the importance of treating people equally.

  • Mark Parrin (Ambassador at Wordly Wise) - Mark delivered assemblies to Year 10 pupils at Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School, sharing his story of how he became paralysed in his mid-twenties, and how having a positive attitude has helped him to live a full and rewarding life. He went on to talk about the work he does now to support other people living with disabilities.

  • Mr Lea Baynes, teacher at Folkestone Academy - Delivered assemblies at all schools about his experience of being transgender., speaking openly and honestly about the challenges he faced as a teenager and the struggles of trying to ‘fit in’ before realising that he was transgender.

  • Folkestone and Hythe District Council - Deputy Leader Cllr Jenny Hollingsbee and other Council representatives spoke to pupils about diversity in the workplace, looking at the 9 protected characteristics and why having a diverse body of employees makes the workplace a more successful and happier environment.

  • Hearing impairment specialists from Kent Supported Employment - Helped pupils to understand what it’s like to be hearing impaired and what they can do to support members of the community with these needs.

  • Storytime with Dita the Drag Queen - To end the week, pupils spent the day with Dita the Drag Queen, reading stories about gender differences, using appropriate pronouns, and inclusive language. They got to know Dita, asked them questions, enquired about their job, their life, their own experiences at school, and learned exactly what it looks like when somebody, who may initially appear different in some way, is happy and confident and able to express themselves however they see fit.

A Year 7 pupil from Folkestone Academy said:

“This week I have learnt to be more respectful and considerate of other people's feelings. We should celebrate the differences between us; no one should experience discrimination.”

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“As a trust we embrace the diverse culture in which we live and we want our pupils to grow up having confidence in themselves, no matter what their situation may be. This week, pupils have had the opportunity to explore a wide range of issues and have heard first hand from people with diverse backgrounds. Pupils from all age ranges have approached the week with interest and maturity and I know that they have gained a huge amount from these experiences.”

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

“It has been a privilege to work with such a diverse group of people throughout the week. I am incredibly grateful for the contributions made by members of the wider community and the stories that they have shared with us.”

Anti-bullying Week News Feature

ITV Meridian 15.11.2021

Pupils at Turner Free School spoke in a news feature about anti-bullying.

TFS Anti Bullying Piece_ITV Meridian_151121.wmv

Morehall Pupils team up with HeadStrong Singers

Over the last month Year 5 pupils at Morehall Primary have worked hard to master a selection of songs, old and new, to sing with local group The HeadStrong Singers. Both groups then met at the school, singing together in "The Generation Link" - a project that brings children and the retired population together through music. Read on...

The HeadStrong Singers is a weekly social singing group for anyone who has experienced a head or brain injury or illness. The group is run by Duncan Moris through Music and Arts for the Shepway Community (MASC), a local charity that aims to bring music and the arts to everybody in Folkestone and Hythe through various projects. They believe in the social, physical and mental benefits that music and the arts can bring. For more information visit https://masccharity.org.uk/headstrong-singers/

This collaborative project was funded by the Headstart Kent Pay It Forward grant and was initiated by children in Year 5 at Morehall who wanted to do something which promoted mental health and well-being in others. They also wanted to make stronger links with their local community, and do their part to bring joy to the people around them, as well as emphasising the benefits of singing for their own mental health.

The programme was also inspired by research into the benefits of intergenerational musical schemes, which improve cross-age attitudes and interactions, as well as the emotional and physical wellbeing of those taking part. The programme ensured that the Morehall pupils were able to forge closer links with members of their local community who they might otherwise not have met, and helped brighten their days.

One year 5 pupil explained:

“We had so much fun singing with people that we wouldn’t normally meet, and learning songs that we hadn’t even heard of before! Everyone was really friendly and didn’t stop smiling.”

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

“It has been a pleasure for Morehall Primary to host and run this fantastic project - The Generation Link. At Morehall Primary we are passionate about engaging with our local community and giving our children rich and varied experiences, lead by themselves as inquisitive citizens. We hope that the HeadStrong Singers have enjoyed this project as much as us!”

A member of HeadStrong singers added:

“It was an absolute joy to sing with the younger generation, to share our stories and to listen to theirs. There was such a wonderful feeling of togetherness.”

Martello Primary School pupils form Eco Council

Martello Primary School pupils have taken their first steps towards becoming more environmentally conscious by forming an Eco Council, pledging to work together for a better world. As part of the school’s ‘Democracy Week’, school children voted for their Eco Council representatives, who were then awarded their places and badges by Mayor Michelle Keutenius, Deputy Mayor Nicola Keen, and Councillor Jackie Meade. Read on...

Pupils wanted to form the Eco Council so that they could have a greater impact on the school’s environmental footprint. Making a positive impact on both the local community and the wider world is at the heart of Martello, whether it is reducing the school’s use of paper or working with the fabulous Locavore Community Garden to learn to live sustainably.

The Eco Council’s first task will be to plan and implement a recycling project across the school to help reduce waste and take care of the environment. School leaders plan to let the Eco Council drive this project as a means of helping the children develop useful leadership and creative thinking skills, as well as a source of fresh ideas.

To highlight the importance of using their voices for change and showing their commitment to protecting the environment, two members of the Eco Council, Rose and Wilf Ghassempour, will be attending the COP26 Climate Change rally in Sandwich on Friday November 5. They’ll represent the Eco Council as well as the wider school community with banners, passionate spirits, and their Eco Council badges proudly displayed.

When asked what she would like to change and make a difference as an Eco-Council member, Rose Ghassempour said:

  • Help nature

  • Grow trees

  • Help make the community better

  • Help people grow things in their gardens

  • Help climate change - help people be careful with electricity

  • Help people have enough water

  • Encourage people to drive electric cars

  • Help clean up rubbish

  • Be helpful and kind

Wayne Beech, Principal at Martello Primary School, said:

“We know that our children are deeply concerned about climate change and their impact on the natural world around them. That’s why we wanted to give them the chance to have a say on what we do as a school, and to advise the school community on what we can do to make the world a better place for everyone.

“It is no surprise that our pupils were so enthusiastic about joining the Eco Council as they are so passionate about the environment. They are invested in what the future may hold for their generation, and for those that come after them, and they are focused on doing whatever they can to make a difference.

“It is really inspiring to see them so invested in making a positive difference, and to see them researching different ways of improving our environmental footprint. I have every belief they will make a difference for us as a school, across Folkestone, and far beyond that over the coming years.”

Folkestone pupils meet French peers through message in a bottle

Pupils at Turner Free School have made contact with French students from Calais after sending messages in bottles across the Channel. Turner Free School was contacted by fellow students from the French school Collège Louis Blériot, who found their messages washed up on a nearby beach while studying tidal flows. Read on....

The Message in a Bottle project was launched over the summer at Turner Free School, as a means of encouraging pupils to develop their writing skills and to provide a means of expressing their emotions. Pupils produced simple written pieces which they then placed into bottles so that Nick Brooks, the teacher behind the project, could launch these into the Channel at Dungeness.

One of these bottles was then found by students from Collège Louis Blériot, who excitedly contacted their English peers to tell them they had discovered the messages and were keen to translate them. They wrote about the experience on their school website and are looking forward to sending their own messages in English to strengthen the fledging relationship.

Staff at Turner Free School have also now made contact with the French teachers there to see what else the two schools can learn from each other, and to discuss how they can work together. They plan on continuing to exchange messages to discover how their education differs over the coming months.

Nick Brooks, Turner Free School, said:

“We wanted to give our pupils the opportunity to work on their writing skills by drafting simple messages outlining their experience of the past couple of years. Instead of just keeping this in school though, we also wanted to encourage them to reach out to others, and we thought that sending the messages to France was a great way of showing them how far their messages might go.

“The pupils were all so excited to hear back from the French students and it’s fantastic to know that they’re translating and reading our messages at the moment. This is a great opportunity to reach out to Collège Louis Blériot and see how else we can work together to support our mutual students.”

Kristina Yates, Principal at Turner Free School, said:

“This is really exciting for all the pupils involved with the Message in a Bottle project, and I’m delighted that the French students have made contact. It’s such a great way to build relationships with their counterparts in other countries, and it’s fantastic that the messages were found by students of similar ages. We’re all looking forward to what comes next and working with our new French friends.”

Local pupils offer Acts of Kindness to Folkestone residents

Pupils at Martello Primary brought a smile to the faces of their neighbours when they delivered their Acts of Kindness boxes to local residents. Each box contained a card from a child in the school, along with tea bags and packets of biscuits. The project was funded by the HeadStart Pay It Forward grant which aims to support wellbeing and mental health. Read on....

Pupils wanted to create a project that would bring happiness to the people that live in their community and they believed that something as small as a cup of tea and a nice biscuit could make all the difference. Residents were left with messages from the children which encouraged them to put their feet up, call a friend, or invite a neighbour round for a tea and chat.

Children from Years 3 and 5 packed 100 boxes which they delivered to houses in the roads surrounding their school. Whilst they were out and about they also got to chat to some of the local residents and hear about their stories of living in the community. The children and school have received lots of positive comments since delivering the boxes, with some households taking to social media to share their joy at receiving the gift. One neighbour posted ‘What a lovely box to receive from the local primary school… you have made my day’.

Hope, Year 5 Pupil at Martello Primary, said:

“I really enjoyed making the boxes and delivering them to the houses. I feel happy because I know I've made other people happy!”

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

“The children at Martello are always keen to give back to their community and this seemed like the perfect way to do it. They have been very excited about the project and have gained a lot of joy from making other people happy. It’s helped them to realise that sometimes, even something as small as a cup of tea and a biscuit, can brighten someone’s day.”

Folkestone Primary offers early years support for local parents

On Monday 13th September the Children’s Cove at Folkestone Primary opened its doors for the first time. Based at Folkestone Primary school, the Children’s Cove is an early years setting for families from across the town. Read on..

It was set up in response to feedback from parents in the district who felt that there weren’t currently enough opportunities for pre-school children to come together in a safe and welcoming environment. Due to the pandemic, over the past 18 months parents have been unable to access much of the support that would normally be available for those with young children, and sadly, some toddler groups have stopped running completely.

Recognising the importance of social interaction for both children and parents, the Children’s Cove was established to address this need. Over the course of the week, activities will include Stay and Play sessions, Baby Ballet and Little Music Stars. Although there is a small cost for some sessions, a number of activities are offered free of charge to support local parents.

The Children’s Cove will also provide the opportunity to offer additional activities throughout the week. Local groups who are looking for a space to run a group should contact the principal, Louise Feaver, at Folkestone Primary on louise.feaver@turnerschools.com.

For more information, or to book a place, please call 01303 842400.

The Children’s Cove will be open to support parents for the following times:

Monday: Stay and Play - 9.15am-10.00am

Tuesday: Stay and Play - 10.00am-10.45am

Wednesday: Baby Ballet - 10.00am-10.45am

Thursday: Little Music Stars - 2.00pm-2.45pm

Friday: Toddler Book Club - 2.15pm-3.00pm

Louise Feaver, Principal at Folkestone Primary, said:

“We’re very excited to be hosting the Children’s Cove at Folkestone Primary. The last 18 months have been incredibly difficult for everyone, so it’s fantastic to finally be able to welcome not only our own pupils into the school, but also families from the wider community. The Children’s Cove will provide the opportunity for families with pre-school children to relax, have fun and meet other people.”

Folkestone pupils participate at Primary School Olympics

Pupils from across Folkestone have participated in their own Primary School Olympics, organised by Folkestone Academy in partnership with Shepway Sports Trust. More than 280 Year 6 pupils from seven primary schools across Folkestone took part in the event, which saw the pupils participating in five separate sports. Read on....

The children were supported by coaches from a number of different local clubs. Over the course of the event they took part in skateboarding with coaches from Shepway Sports Trust, athletics with coaches from Folkestone Junior Athletics Club, hockey with coaches from Folkestone Optimist Hockey Club, football with coaches from Gillingham Women Football Club and boxing with coaches from Olympia Boxing.

In addition the schools welcomed Megan Maslak from the Gillingham Women Football Club, the top Kent women’s team. Megan supported pupils during the morning’s football activities and passed on her expertise of playing at a top level.

The Olympics were particularly important in supporting pupils to be active after the lockdowns, and to help them realise the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. For many pupils it was also the first school trip they had been on in more than 18 months.

Sarah Green, School Games Organiser​, said:

“Here at the Folkestone Academy we believe sport is a vehicle for change and a tool to improve quality of life. This event is a perfect example of the new School Games ethos of influencing schools to use sport and physical activity to achieve wider school outcomes. This event, although a lot of fun on the surface, has supported the current year 6 pupils to start thinking about their transition from primary to secondary school which have been so limited for the past 2 Year 6 cohorts due to the pandemic.”

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

"We were delighted to welcome so many Year 6 pupils to Folkestone Academy, and to offer them the opportunity to experience the real variety of sports that we offer here. Some of the pupils had never experienced these sports before, and it was a real pleasure to watch them be so positive in trying new things.

“Thank you to Shepway Sports Trust and all the coaches involved for their hard work. They really made the day one to remember for so many of these young people, who we hope will be inspired to pursue more of these sports in the future.”

Turner Schools pupils combine stage fighting with French lessons as part of summer activity plans

Published: August 2021

Pupils preparing to join Turner Free School and Folkestone Academy this September first had the opportunity to experience life at their new schools by practising French while learning stage fighting in drama workshop with a twist. Read on....

Working with the Freshwater Theatre Company, Year 6 children going into Year 7 at both schools took part in a drama workshop with a Modern Foreign Languages theme, working with a specialist language performer as they recreate the dramatic opening of the novel, Les Trois Mousquetaires. In the workshop, French and English are woven seamlessly together to ensure pupils follow the action and develop their dramatic skills along with their language abilities.

In addition to the drama workshop, both schools prepared a full range of summer activities, including canoeing, escape rooms, screen printing, skateboarding, boxing, hockey and other sports. In total, more than 150 pupils from each school attended the summer schools.

The workshop is part of Turner Free School’s plans for drama to form a key part of their curriculum, following their work with a Shakespeare company during the last term.

Krissy Yates, Principal at Turner Free School, said:

“I felt it was important to run a drama activity to boost pupils’ confidence and help develop their oracy skills as they move into their secondary education. At Turner Free School we have a real focus on languages, so we saw it as such a great opportunity to work with the Freshwater Theatre Company, who have expertly combined these two elements through their workshop. This way the pupils will get a taste of life at their new schools, have a head start on their languages, and will get to develop their confidence with their new classmates ahead of the beginning of term in September.”

ITV Meridian News Feature - GCSE Results day

Published: Thursday 12th August

Folkestone Academy featured on ITV Meridian News on GCSE Results Day...

ITV Meridian News Feature - GCSEs 2021.mp4

Turner Schools Tackles Litter: Folkestone pupils on a mission to clean up the streets

Published: July 2021

Over 300 pupils from across Turner Schools have taken to the streets of Folkestone to collect rubbish and waste from around the town. Pupils of all ages from Folkestone Academy, Turner Free School, Morehall Primary, Martello Primary and Folkestone Primary donned their hi-vis jackets and walked the streets surrounding their schools. Read on....

Their goal was to protect the the environment and make their local community a greener place to live. Over the course of the week pupils collected more than 25 bags of rubbish. Each school now has its own set of litter picking equipment and pupils will be seen regularly around the streets of Folkestone as they help keep the streets clean.

Ryder, Year 9 from Turner Free School said

“I was really surprised to see how much rubbish there actually was. I don’t think you realise until you make a conscious effort to look for it. I think it’s really important that we take care of where we live, not just because of the environment but also because it looks nicer if there’s not litter everywhere.”

Am’e Moris, Principal of Morehall Primary, said:

“I was very proud to see our pupils head out onto the streets of Folkestone and do their bit for the community. I know that they are much more aware now of how much rubbish there is on our streets and will be more conscientious about how they dispose of their own litter.”

Hayden, Year 6 pupil at Martello Primary, said:

"It was exciting because we got to help the earth and also the local community to ensure that it is clean and tidy!"

Adam, Year 6 pupil at Martello Primary, said:

"It was fun to be able to walk around Folkestone Knowing that we were doing something good!"

Folkestone Academy Pupils Receive New Chromebooks

Published: July 2021

Every Year 7 pupil at Folkestone Academy given brand new Chromebook by Friends of Folkestone Academy Charity


An initiative set up by Folkestone Academy to ensure that every child in the school is given a Chromebook to aid digital learning inside the classroom and support homework has been launched with the support of the local charity Friends of Folkestone Academy. Read on....

The 1 to 1 Device Scheme was launched in June with over 150 Chromebooks distributed to current Year 7 pupils. The scheme was kick started by Friends of Folkestone Academy, who paid for every new Year 7 student to have a device to use during their time at the academy.

Each department has now integrated the Chromebooks into their teaching, including testing pupils’ learning and understanding through quizzes, viewing resources online to make it clearer to read, or accessing specialised apps like Bedrock Learning to practise core skills. Pupils will also have access to an online library systems allowing them to reserve books, access digital books and leave reviews on books they have read for other pupils.

The academy now plans to roll out Chromebooks to every year group from September 2021. This will be supplemented by a Google Hub within the academy which will provide support with access and technical issues, charging points, training, and repairs.

The scheme was led by Cerys Walker, Folkestone Academy’s Google Champion, who worked closely with teachers and pupils to ensure the integration of digital teaching was successful.

Cerys Walker said:

“Introducing technology to the classroom has been an exciting project that both teachers and pupils have thoroughly enjoyed. It is wonderful to see the Chromebooks in lessons with all pupils deeply engaged in learning activities which enable teachers to clearly and quickly see the pupils' understanding. Providing the pupils with Chromebooks has also enabled all pupils to easily access their learning both at home and it develops our pupils’ skills to prepare them for the increasingly digital world we live in.”

Charlie Henderson, Year 7 pupil, said:

“I really like my Chromebook, it’s really helped me with my homework as all my lessons are in one place so it’s easy to find.

Clemmy Griffin, Year 7 pupil, said:

“I’ve most enjoyed using my Chromebook to practise my times tables on TT Rock Stars. It is easy to access and means I can use it at home as well to help finish my homework.”

Mrs Thomas, a Year 7 parent, said:

“My daughter is very happy using the Chromebook in class and has not had any problems with it during lessons, as for at home she is more willing to come straight home and do her homework which I'm very pleased with.”

Mr Steve Shaw, Head of School at Folkestone Academy, said:

“Thank you to Friends of Folkestone Academy for their incredibly generous donation which has ensured Year 7 pupils were able to receive a Chromebook. These have already proved so useful in helping these pupils learn and it’s been fantastic to see how quickly our teachers have integrated these into their lessons. Our next aim is to give a device to every pupil at the academy to make sure everyone has the tools they need to thrive and learn at both school and home.”

Turner Pupils work to Bee Amazing for environmental project

Published: July 2021

Over the past two months, pupils at all five Turner Schools have worked on an environmental project designed to support the natural world around them. Pupils worked alongside their facilities teams to prepare the ground at each school so that seeds and flowers could be planted, in a bid to help the country’s struggling bee population. Read on....

The project came about after pupils learned about bees and their importance to the environment. Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, are essential to the environment and, whilst there are other methods of pollination, wild bees are the most important because they pollinate on such a large scale. It is estimated that it would cost farmers £1.8 million per year to fertilise their crops if it wasn’t for natural pollinators such as bees! Despite this, over recent years, colonies of bees are disappearing and they continue to be under threat due to the loss of habit, use of pesticides and climate change.

Whilst most pupils had an awareness of the role that bees play in pollination, many of them had not realised quite how important this is for the environment and future of the planet. Equipped with a greater understanding of the impact on the environment and climate change, the pupils were all keen to create more opportunities for bees to gather pollen, so it was agreed that each school would establish its own wild bee flower patch.

The pupils really enjoyed the project and felt that it gave them a much better understanding of the environment in which they live. They were also very grateful to Folkestone Garden Centre, County Hardware, and W Martin Ltd for donating seeds and plants for the project.

Megan, a year 7 student at Folkestone Academy, said:

“It was lots of fun learning about bees and there were lots of facts that I didn’t know. I think it’s really important that we think about the environment and how we help look after it. I’m glad that I have done my bit to help.”

Louise Feaver, Principal at Folkestone Academy Primary, said:

“As a Trust, we’re very much aware of the role that our schools and pupils play in protecting the environment and so we thought it important that the schools came together to work on this project. We’re pleased to have shared resources and ideas, and ultimately to have established an area in each of our schools where wild flowers can grow.”

BBC News Feature - School Closures

Published: Tuesday 5th January 2021

Folkestone Primary School featured on BBC News South East after the announcement of the January national lockdown. Watch the video...

BBC News Feature 05-01-2021.mp4
Folkestone Academy Channel 5 News.mp4

Channel 5 news feature - RETURNING TO SCHOOL

Published: Monday 22nd February

Folkestone Academy and Folkestone Primary featured on Channel 5 News regarding pupils returning to school on March 8th.