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A message from Christine McInnes:

1 July 2022 weekly update

1 July 2022

This week, Christine shares updates on the 16 to 19 review, a Kent school's success in the Young Audio Awards, and the impact of the Covid Outbreak Management Fund.

Dear Colleagues,

I have previously shared with you the Pathways for All report, the outcomes of the 16 to 19 review. We have been working on establishing the new Board that will lead on implementing the recommendations from September and next week will be starting the recruitment process for an independent chair. This is an exciting development and a challenging job, we are seeking someone with ambition to work in collaboration with stakeholders, driving improvement in the sector. If you know of anyone that you think would do a good job, please do encourage them to apply. The recruitment pack will be available through LinkedIn, the TES and on the KCC website.

Congratulations to Lorraine Wickens headteacher of East Peckham Primary School and her team who recently won Best Primary School Radio Station of the Year in the Young Audio Awards 2022, impressing the judges with its regular podcast, set up just after the first lockdown in 2020.

Watch a clip of East Peckham Primary School winning Best Primary School Radio Station of the Year at the Young Audio Awards 2022 on Twitter

The podcasts were the brainchild of teaching assistant Clare Duffield, making use of her experience as a professional radio producer to get children communicating again. The podcast has gone from strength to strength and pupils have interviewed Michael Ball, Rick Astley, Josh Widdicombe and even KCC Cabinet Member Shellina Prendergast! You can listen to Shellina’s interview here

The budding journalists have Rod Stewart in their sights next, as Lorraine, who is retiring after 13 years at the school, is a big fan. Rod, if you are reading this do contact East Peckham Primary School please.

This week I was really pleased to receive a letter from Lucy McLeod, Chief Education Officer at EKC Group letting us know about the very positive impact of the Covid Outbreak Management Fund (COMF), funding which was distributed to educational institutions across Kent last year. The EKC Group invested the money to support pupil wellbeing, including increasing 1:1 counselling support by 33%, group counselling and wellbeing groups. Sport and Cultural champions set up a wide range of additional clubs, alongside trips and visits for students to engage in. The fund also was used to train Mental Health First Aiders, to recognize, support and signpost students and colleagues to professional services. A big thank you to Lucy for taking the time to feedback the impact of the funding on supporting students.

Finally, the Ofsted Inspecting Local Authority Services for children in need of help and protection, children in care and care leavers (ILACS) in Kent report will be published on Tuesday. We have had positive conversations with Ofsted during the inspections, and are looking forward to receiving our rating. The judgement represents a huge amount of work across the Children’s Services system, including in schools and settings. A huge thank you to all involved, not only in the inspection but also for your ongoing work supporting children and young people.

Best wishes

Christine McInnes
Director of Education