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A message from Christine McInnes:

11 October 2023 weekly update

11 October 2023

This week, Christine updates on the pre-consultation meetings on High Needs Funding and Localities; the Draft SEND sufficiency plan consultation; the SEN Inclusion Advisor role; and advice on school absence from the Chief Medical Officer.

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you took the opportunity to do something to support your own mental health yesterday as part of World Mental Health Day. We are often so busy thinking and planning for others, we forget about investing in our own physical and mental health.

High Needs Funding and Localities - pre consultation workshops for education leaders

I was really pleased to join the first part of the opening event on Tuesday morning and thank you to the very many of you who attended.

Siobhan Price, Inclusion Lead and Peter Grey, Consultant did a sterling job of managing the IT challenges at Kings Hill Community Centre, as did the audience who had to put up with blinds down and lights off so they could see the presentation!

This is a big complex change project which has been shaped by the input of many headteachers and practitioners over the last two years. These events are an opportunity for you to really understand the underpinning concepts and ask difficult questions. For officers, the intelligence gathered with help us to shape the final draft proposal which will go out to consultation in November.

There are two sessions a day, with a total of 12 being run. If you want to book a place or places for a team including your business manager then please contact

Draft SEND sufficiency plan consultation

Another important piece of work which we have been working on for over a year is the draft SEND sufficiency plan, which is now out for consultation. A huge thank-you to Marisa White Assistant Director Education East and her team for a significant piece of work.

I strongly encourage you to read the draft plan and take the opportunity to let us have your views and comments. The intention is that, following consultation, the Plan will be taken to the Children’s, Young People and Education Committee on Wednesday 22 November alongside the Kent Commissioning Plan. This is KCC’s first SEND Sufficiency Plan and we are conscious that it may not be as detailed as some would hope as we are awaiting the outcomes of several key reviews that will inform the continuum of provision in more detail. We hope, however, that this first plan will provide a strong basis on which to build next year’s revision of the Plan which will be informed by the outcomes of the reviews and parental consultation that we intend to undertake early in 2024. The purpose of the SEND Sufficiency Plan 2023 is to inform and support the Local Authority in its development of strategic place planning in the medium to long term. Following consultation and approval, the SEND Sufficiency Plan will feed into capital plans through KCC’s commissioning plan for education provision.

Feedback from the consultation, alongside engagement with schools and stakeholders will be key to informing future iterations. We invite you to read the information contained in the SEND Sufficiency Plan (PDF, 2.5 MB) and give your views through the survey. The consultation will run from Friday 6 October to Wednesday 8 November 2023.

The Kent Sufficiency Plan consultation survey form can be accessed now

If you experience any problems or issues accessing the survey, please contact or call 03000 41 87 94.

SEND Staffing

Following last year’s re-structure a number of you have been asking for information and contact details of key staff. In this week’s bulletin, please find information on the Inclusion Adviser role (PDF, 166.7 KB) (formerly Provision Evaluation Officers) and contact details (PDF, 169.3 KB).

Advice on school absence from the Chief Medical Officer

A letter from Chris Whitty to schools about managing mild illness and school attendance in case you missed it

Forthcoming Director’s Briefings for headteachers

The two forthcoming meetings are now on the afternoons of Thursday 9 and Monday 13 November. Teams meetings for both, together with a draft agenda will be sent out next week. Please just accept the one that you intend to attend.

And finally … welcome to a new member of staff

Many thanks to those of you involved in the recruitment of the new Assistant Director Education East during the summer. I am really pleased to let you know that Rob Veale, formerly an Executive Primary headteacher, has now started and I am sure you will join me in welcoming him to KCC, though he is very familiar with the county as Rob is a Kent resident. Rob will be working alongside Marisa White over this term

Best wishes

Christine McInnes
Director of Education and SEN