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A message from Christine McInnes:

20 July 2021 weekly update

20 July 2021

This week, Christine shares an update from the Director for SEND on Senior Management Recruitment in the SEN Service.

Dear Colleagues,

Just a few words from me at the end of a challenging academic year - well done to you, your staff and pupils!

The work doesn’t stop though and the summer Reconnect programme is now launching. Can I remind you to please disseminate the HAF and Leisure Centre vouchers (PDF, 137.8 KB) for FSM pupils as soon as possible, this is now really urgent .

Finally, I have included an update from Mark Walker, Director for SEND on Senior Management Recruitment in the SEN Service:

A further update on the senior management positions in SEN. Following the recruitment announced last week, we have some further updates for you. After some consideration, Louise Hickman shared with me that she has decided not to take up the SEN Strategic Development Manager position within SEN, instead she has arrived at the decision to take a short break and look for other opportunities outside of KCC. I asked her what she would like to share with people, as I’m sure many of you will want to hear from her, and she has provided the following few lines written by her;

“Having (almost) completed my time as the Interim Head of SEND, I have decided that the time is right for me to leave KCC to take up new opportunities working with schools, children and families. I have had a fantastic time working within the SEND Service since joining KCC five years ago. I have learnt a huge amount from colleagues, both within the service and across the council.”

“I feel privileged to have worked with such a talented and hard-working team and am very grateful for the opportunities I have had during my time working for KCC. I am leaving at the end of September, but will be on annual leave that month, so will be around until the end of August. I am really looking forward to working with the new Assistant Director for SEND, Steve Tanner, over the coming weeks as he settles into his new role.”

I am sure over the next few months you will have the opportunity to say your own farewell to Louise, as she is around for a few weeks yet, but I just wanted to let you know the news at the earliest opportunity.

I would like to share with you all my personal thanks to Louise, she has been truly inspirational during the last 17 months and has taken on every ‘next challenge’ with that calm smile and gentle approach. She has seen the SEN service through the most turbulent time in our history, with the small matter of a Written Statement of Action and a Pandemic to try and navigate our way through she has held a steady hand. Her insight and knowledge has been regularly relied upon to make informed and wise decisions, she has regularly been our subject matter expert when dealing with matters SEN at a strategic level. When I first met Louise it was obvious that she came to this area of work from a perspective of improving the opportunities and life experiences for children and young people in Kent (you might say we all do, maybe, but it is often not discernible, for Louise it is obviously front and centre), that has honestly remained her starting position in all the conversations I have ever had with her, in itself a rare quality.

I am sad to be seeing Louise leaving SEN, but after a few conversations with her I understand her decision, she leaves us to tackle new challenges and I am 100% sure she will make a positive change wherever her feet land.

I can now share with you the details of Louise’s replacement as the Strategic Development Manager for SEN, this will be Kerry Greene who is coming to us with a wealth of experience both in Kent and nationally. She will be starting from the beginning of October, although you may come across her before then for odd meetings.

With all best wishes from Children’s Services staff for a relaxing summer break

Christine McInnes
Director of Education