A message from Christine McInnes:
1 October 2021 weekly update
1 October 2021
This week, Christine updates on recent developments involving Transport, the COVID vaccination rollout and secondary school provision on the Isle of Sheppey.
A few updates today...
You will be aware that there is a major shortage of skilled drivers caused by a combination of Brexit and the pandemic which is impacting on the supply of goods and also on our bus, coach and taxi operators. A significant number of drivers have left the industry and efforts to replace them are delayed. The supply of petrol and diesel has been affected, causing consternation amongst those who are dependent on their cars.
All of Kent’s transport providers are reporting pressures with driver and Transport Assistant resource and some concerns about fuel availability but most are managing to sustain service levels. KCC have asked Transport Providers to prioritise the provision of school transport and bus services operating in rural areas. A more detailed briefing will be issued in the near future.
Find our more in our recent Public Transport briefing.
Covid Vaccination rollout
Secondary colleagues continue to face a range of challenges from protestors as schools are used as the venue for the vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds. Most recently this has taken the form of hoax consent forms, so please carefully check everything before issuing. We are continuing to disseminate guidance in response to emerging issues and to feed back intelligence to the DfE.
Secondary school provision on the Isle of Sheppey
You may have seen the dramatic front page story of Wednesday 22 September 2021 published by the Kent Messenger group ‘School U Turn: Parent power wins as new secondary is dramatically given approval.’
The story is completely untrue.
A new secondary special school is being built, but not mainstream provision. A joint statement refuting the story was issued by the MP Gordon Henderson, Leader of Swale Borough Council Roger Truelove and Cabinet Member for Education and Skills Shellina Prendergast, but the story has still not been retracted and so further correspondence is being prepared.
I was so pleased to visit Ebbsfleet Green Primary School for their grand opening on Saturday. The event was really well attended with a stream of local families arriving to see the fabulous new building, eat some lovely food and participate in some exciting activities including using a fire hose! Photos and messages can be viewed on Twitter
Well done to the school staff and the KCC teams involved.
It was the first time I had been to Ebbsfleet and it made me think about the challenges of building community cohesion when all families are new arrivals. There is a body of evidence about the benefits of community and social capital (aka relationships), which I think are best described by footballer Marcus Rashford, "… when my community had nothing to call their own, they always found something in the way of kindness to give me. I am a product of their compassion, of their drive and of their willingness to offer me more than what was on my doorstep." Schools are at the heart of building community and Ebbsfleet Green Primary has made a great start.
Director of Education