Kelsey Park Sports College has been on the receiving end of some harsh criticism in recent weeks. Reporter DAVID MILLS meets students and staff at the school.
THE headteacher of Kelsey Park Sports College barely gets out of his office these days.
Brian Lloyd says the furore created by campaign group Harris Into Beckenham, which wants the school to become part of the Harris Federation of Academies, has “consumed us all”.
Harris runs nine academies across south London, many of which have been judged by Ofsted to be outstanding.
Mr Lloyd says negative remarks about Kelsey have had “a very unsettling effect” on staff and pupils.
He said: “If you hear it often enough that you're rubbish, then you begin to believe it.
“You start to doubt your own ability.”
Comments made about Kelsey on the BeckenhamTown.us blog have been as cutting as they have vitriolic.
One blogger said: “The school, as long as I can remember, has always had a bad name” while another wrote: “If I had to fill out a secondary school application today, the one school I would not be including is Kelsey Park.”
Kelsey was issued with an improvement notice by Ofsted following an inspection last year which gave the school the lowest possible rating of 4 - meaning inadequate.
The report came on the back of a poor set of results where only 28 per cent of GCSE students achieved five A* to C grades including English and Maths.
Since then however, the school in Manor Way, Beckenham has bounced back, with results increasing to 46 per cent - the school’s best ever - placing it in the top 10 per cent of the most improved schools nationally.
Prior to these results, an Ofsted monitoring visit in June also said the school was making satisfactory progress.
But as one blogger wrote, ‘mud sticks’, with one person writing: “Lets face it nobody wants a school in a category of failure on their doorstep”.
However as Mr Lloyd has previously pointed out, none of the campaigners have children who actually attend Kelsey nor have they even visited the school.
He said: “They have every right to voice their opinion.
“But I think the way they have gone about it is not right in the fact they have chosen to rubbish and belittle Kelsey Park in the way they have.”
Kelsey has now set itself a target of 50 per cent achieving five A* to C grades including English and Maths.
Mr Lloyd said: “We have put in a rigorous tracking and mentoring programme.
“It's about making sure the kids have everything they need.
“The authority has really supported us to the hilt.”
Arjun Jethwa, aged 15, said: “The school has really helped me make new friends from other year groups through its mentoring scheme.
“For exams we do a lot of revising and go through past papers. All the resources are there.”
Luke Alland, aged 15, said: “There’s a lot of emphasis on support. The school has given me everything I’ve wanted.”
Omar Taki, aged 15, said: “I find lessons really enjoyable. One day in science we’ll do a practical, the next we’ll spend writing or doing group work.”