Sunday, December 4, 2022

Leader Kent lambasts school critics: “Stop knocking our kids”

THURROCK COUNCIL leader, John Kent issued a stark warning to those who dare criticise the performance of Thurrock schools.

Cllr Kent issued the warning at a meeting of the council cabinet on Wednesday night.

Cllr Kent was responding to the annual report of Ofsted’s chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw which “had no surprises for Thurrock Council”, said cllr Kent.

Cllr Kent said “If anything, it shows our secondary schools are doing even better than we expected in comparison with others”.

He added: “The report also confirms that our primary schools in Thurrock are improving markedly, ten per cent better than last year.”

Perhaps irked by the fact that another take on the report was that Thurrock primary schools remain third from bottom in the country.

Cllr Kent said: “Stop knocking our kids…..He added: “The Education Commission called on us to celebrate success and I think this is the perfect opportunity.

The Eastern Region part of the report states there are “four local authorities making it into the top half of the country, although only one local authority, Thurrock, made it into the top 20 per cent”.

Cllr Kent said: “Our secondary schools are not only among the top fifth nationwide, we can boast the top performing secondary schools in the Eastern Region and in the South East Local Enterprise Partnership area, taking in all of Kent and East Sussex too.

“This is worthy of celebration and something we should be celebrating. I’ve been meeting many of our secondary heads and visiting their schools over recent months and this success is something they’ve all worked very hard for.”

On primaries, the national report states: “On the whole, primary school performance has risen. Many of the local authorities with underperforming primary schools have made significant progress,” adding: “Thurrock, which remains near the foot of the table, has seen a substantial improvement.”

And the Eastern Region report adds: “Thurrock is heading in the right direction and, from a low base, has demonstrated well above average improvement with its primary schools in the year.”

Cllr Kent said: “Yes we remain low in the league table and that’s disappointing, but the chief inspector acknowledges we are improving quickly; we are on the right road and heading in the right direction.

“We might like to be able to wave the magic wand and turn things around, but we need to ensure the proper foundations are in place so that when our primaries are up there with our secondaries, they will all stay there


  1. So the Secondary Schools, which the council does not control, are the success story; the Primaries, of which the council controls more, are still pretty dire. And the lesson is – stop complaining? D-, Cllr Kent, this essay must be resubmitted.

  2. I would not entirely blame the council and standards are improving. My experience of Thurrock primary has been a good but not perfect one.
    As a parent of adopted children with special needs it is amazing what resources just one problem child can swallow up.
    Thurrock with a large unskilled workforce and low university participation will always be fighting uphill.
    Too many Thurrock parents neglect the basic social responsibilty of telling their children right from wrong. The first stage this begins for too many children in Thurrock is at primary level.
    For some Thurrock children even simple tasks like going to the toilet is an issue.
    If the people of Thurrock want better primary school results then this should begin at home. Read with your child. Make sure they go to bed on time etc etc.
    Of course if your reading this article you already do that because you care. But too many don’t and it doesn’t help our teachers and then they seek employment elsewhere.
    If secondary schools in the area are doing well it is because of a good Primary School foundation.
    So yes the schools could be better but so could the parenting.

  3. Thats a very good post by Malvern.

    Thurrock is limited by a large proportion of its population but at the same time Thurrock is a very mixed borough encompassing wealthy (ish) villages, new build developments like Chafford and neat suburbs like Little Thurrock and Corringham. In these places schools tend to do better because of the parental coaching and a better standard of teaching and discipline in such schools.

    Its the Purfleets, Tilburys and parts of Grays which drag Thurrock primary schools down. Schools in such places tend to have poor quality teachers and parents who simply do not think it is their job to give their children the extra help that they may need. The only way to raise standards is to sack rubbish teachers, ineffective governers, instill discipline into both lazy parents and pupils (i.e fine parents if their child/ren are continuously late or their homework is never done). In other words make parents take responsibility for their childrens education.

    There is also a political point to be made as it is often said that Labour councils are never very good at running schools and the vast majority of local authorities under Labour tend to have poorly performing schools. There is something about bettering oneself that Labour politicians pretend to agree with but do very little to show their support for…

    Its no surprise that Tory Southend, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Braintree, Basildon, Epping Forest and Brentwood all score higher whilst Thurrock councils new best buddy Barking and Dagenham are also found languishing at the bottom of the table.

    coupled with the fact that Labour councils are never very good at raising teaching standards

  4. my son went for a interview at university last year and they questioned him about our postcode,they said they had never come across it before.

  5. “Stop knocking our kids”…’kids’ are baby goats and a phrase true educationalists do not use when describing children, pupils or students!

    Anyway we are not “knocking our kids”…we are knocking clueless politicians and councillors like your good self Mr Kent!

    Thurrock’s Secondary Schools received oustanding support from the National Strategies Team from 2008. Experts in their respective fields! What a pity the funding stopped…the five consultants, led by an inspirational Line Manager, collectively could have equally raised standards in Primary education!

  6. I agree with a point raised, it’s not just down to the schools, it’s also down to the parents!
    An interesting fact, the Thurrock school which achieved 100% in the year 6 stats was St. Mary’s, Tilbury. Well done to that school, firstly for being a Tilbury school, which usually get slagged off and secondly, for being a school with a large immigrant intake – so much for those who blame failing schools on immigrant children! Well done St. Mary’s!


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