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A message from Christine McInnes:

22 June 2021 weekly update

22 June 2021

This week, Christine discusses the outcomes of a Freedom of Information request to the DfE on the early years funding rates.

Dear Colleagues,

The England-Scotland game on Friday could have seen me conflicted, but my passion for the underdog meant it was Scotland all the way. Football’s earliest ever international fixture, the first England-Scotland game 149 years ago, ended in a 0-0 draw and Friday’s game repeated history. The football may not have been great, but the Tartan Army didn’t feel short-changed and Soho was packed with revellers determined to party all day and night. I’ll confess to downing a wee dram in honour of my Scottish ancestry - Slansivar! On the other hand, Roberto Mancini's Italian ‘winning machine’ are top dogs at this stage and long may that continue - so in honour of my Italian ancestry - Salute!

Resourcing of the early years sector is a hotly debated subject and last week the Early Years Alliance published the outcomes of a Freedom of Information request to the Department for Education for an explanation of the rationale underpinning the early years funding rates implemented in 2017. The findings suggest what is known as the ‘free entitlement offer’ has been underfunded. The EYA is now calling for an independent review of childcare funding and affordability. In the meantime, work on preparing for the implementation of the new early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework from September 2021 continues and more information is available on the DfE website and resources on the Government website

Last week I was really pleased to visit Nexus Special School main site, the Nexus specialist resource provision (SRP) at Wouldham All Saints C of E Primary school and also look around the primary school itself. I was really interested to find out about the range of pathways developed at Nexus to ensure the school can meet the diverse needs of pupils and the methodology they have developed to assess progress in the more qualitative aspects of learning. The SRP provides opportunities for Nexus pupils to fully integrate into mainstream provision as far as they are able with many opportunities for the children, who wear the Wouldham school uniform, to mix and socialise with their mainstream peers. We discussed the multiple benefits of this model, including for the professional development of staff and how much of the success was dependent on the shared educational vision and values of the two school leadership teams. A big thank you to Scott Jared, headteacher of Nexus and Carl Fitter, headteacher of Wouldham All Saints and their staff teams for their welcome and their time.

A quick education staffing update - I’m pleased to let you know that following a rigorous recruitment process Craig Chapman has been appointed as the Head of Fair Access. Craig has been interim Head of Fair Access for over a year, his leadership coinciding almost exactly with the first lockdown, so quite a start to the role. Congratulations to Craig in securing the substantive post. Congratulations too to Debbie Sales who has been appointed to work with Lee Round as the Interim Area Schools Organisation Officer for the South.

With all best wishes

Christine McInnes
Director of Education