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A message from Christine McInnes:

13 May 2022 weekly update

13 May 2022

This week, Christine updates on exam season, Mental Health Awareness Week, increases in the cost of living and the announcement of the new Interim CYPE Corporate Director.

Dear Colleagues,

Well done to primary colleagues on getting to the end of SATs week and our best wishes to secondary colleagues in the midst of the exam season. By interesting coincidence, this was also Mental Health Awareness Week and I have included a recent report from the Reform Group, A revolution in mindset, which makes wide ranging recommendations for improving young people’s mental health including referencing the important role of schools and education settings in promoting emotional health and wellbeing.

This week Shellina Prendergast, Cabinet Member of Education and Skills and I were really pleased to virtually meet with governors at the county Governors Briefing to talk through key points in the recent School’s White Paper. We will be circulating a written response to the many questions that were asked in the near future.

The state opening of parliament and the Queen’s Speech triggered a great deal of media attention on increases in the cost of living. You will be aware that this coincides with the implementation of a new law which requires schools to ensure uniforms are a fair price for families from September. If you want to find out more, The Children’s Society is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday 18 May at 4:30pm with an expert panel and providing the opportunity to ask questions. The Schools Bill has now been published,  the majority of which is concerned with academy regulations, school and LA funding and school attendance. More information will be included in future bulletins. This week too, the government published its long awaited draft list of qualifications to be ‘retired’ due to their overlap with T Levels

My visits have been focused on the post 16 sector. I, with colleagues Michelle Stanley and Mike Rayner, was delighted to spend some time with Dr Philip Chan at the new Kent and Medway Medical School in Canterbury. We talked with the team, finding out more about the curriculum, seeing the amazing facilities and meeting students. Dr Chan and his colleagues are leading some truly remarkable and effective work in widening participation to medicine. Hearing the student stories, about their resilience and determination, was really inspirational and thought provoking and we will be talking further about how their reflections can inform our practice.

This morning I was privileged to open the Kent Further Education Staff Conference on the Planning, Implementation and Delivery of T-Levels. The speakers included Sebastian Baker of the Education Training Foundation, Tom Riley of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and Wayne Wilson and Nathan Pascall-Smith from Kent and Medway NHS CCG. Particularly fascinating for me was finding out more about developments in health-related careers and the fabulous learning opportunities that technological advances are enabling access to.

In next week’s bulletin we are going to trial something a bit different and that is having a focused edition from time to time. Next week’s focus will be on Maths and we will have a range of content from different contributors including school case studies. It would be great to get some feedback on whether or not you welcome using the Kelsi e-bulletin to highlight what’s going on across the county.

Finally, I am really pleased to let you know that Sarah Hammond has been appointed Interim Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education and will take up role when Matt Dunkley retires at the end of this month. Sarah will be writing to you in next week’s bulletin.

With best wishes

Christine McInnes
Director of Education