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Children at Turner Schools celebrate Diversity Week 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elise Tordecilla, Stakeholder Engagement Manager from Turner Schools said:

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

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

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

Turner’s Got Talent 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Smith, Owner of Seaview Studios, said: 

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

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

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

Students across Folkestone and Dover attend STEM Careers Fair

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

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

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

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

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

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

Katy Tibbles, Trust Head of Careers, explained: 

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

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

Fiona Dryburgh, Invvu Construction Consultants, commented:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seamus Murphy, Turner Schools’ CEO said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Shaw, Principal at Folkestone Academy, said:

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

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

First Dinner Service of the New School Year

On Monday 9th October 2023 Le Hatch opened for the first time this academic year. As part of the year 11, 12 and 13 catering course they are required to work within a restaurant. In 2020 Mr Carswell opened Le Hatch for the first time and it has been a big success since. Le Hatch is open to the public towards the end of every term, everyone is welcome to book a table. Read on...

During its first session, Le Hatch took over 40 covers. The feedback from the customers was amazing. Every customer said how polite the waitress staff were.

All the kitchen staff handled the pressure last night when the orders got busy. They all provided outstanding meals to the customers. A review from a customer ‘ I was not sure what to expect when coming here but it has totally exceeded my expectations. This food is better than what you would find in our local pub. Well done to all the kitchen staff. We will be booking again next time’.

One of the mains on the menu was Sea bass with creamy mash and roasted vegetables.