News

Community is really important to us at Turner Free School and now, more than ever, we are joining together to support each other during this time. Like and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages to see what our pupils are doing inside and outside the classroom.

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:

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.

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

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.”

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. “

Interested in becoming a parent governor? We would love to hear from you.

Please complete the form below if you are interested in becoming a parent governor. For more information, visit our governance page or email governance@turnerschools.com.

Return your nomination form to the school office by Friday, 28th January.

Christmas Home Science Experiment

Struggling to find Christmas decorations? Why not make your own! Watch our Science pupils show you how to make crystal snowflakes using everyday household supplies!!

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. Read on...

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

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.”

DfE Covid 19 Guidance

Please take some time to read the DfE Covid 19 guidance for parents/carers. (Click Gov.uk link)

Our school has updated our Covid 19 risk assessment to reflect the changes made in July.

Term 1 Start Times