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A message from Christine McInnes:

23 September 2021 weekly update

23 September 2021

This week, Christine summarises key points relating to the 12 to 15 year old vaccination programme.

Dear Colleagues,

As the government’s 12 to 15 year olds covid vaccination programme starts to be rolled out, secondary school headteachers are coming under increasing pressure from anti-vaccination protestors. Some parents are also raising objections.

We recognise how stressful this is for school leaders and I have taken legal advice. KCC guidance materials are being drafted for schools, but in the meantime please be aware of these key points which may be helpful in responding to legitimate correspondence on the matter.

  • The vaccination programme is being rolled out under existing legislation and it is for parents and carers (and under certain proscribed circumstances pupils) to decide whether or not to participate
  • Legal accountability for offering COVID-19 vaccines to children and young people sits with the School Aged Immunisation Service, part of the Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust and not with the school
  • Schools may host immunisation services, but school staff are not responsible for securing parental or child consent, for assessing Gillick competence or mediating between parents and children who may disagree about whether or not to consent. This is the role of registered nurses, who have extensive experience and the expertise to handle these issues and are professionally accountable for their decisions.
  • The position of school staff should be neutral.

I very much hope that is helpful and if there is a particular matter you want to talk over your first point of contact is your Area Education Officer.

You may be aware that our respected colleague Celia Buxton is leaving us to take up post in Medway in November as Assistant Director for Education and SEND and I am sure you will join me in wishing Celia all the best in her new role.

Celia has  done a great job of driving our SEND inclusion work and we are now at a critical implementation stage, so I was keen to ensure we had continuity with this work. I am therefore delighted to let you know that Mike Walters, Executive Principal of St Anselm's, St Edmund's Catholic School and Ursuline College and Ashley  Crittenden, Headteacher of West Borough Primary School will be working with KCC, providing leadership on SEND inclusion.

Thank yous to school staff are usually in short supply so I was really pleased to read the new Secretary of State’s open letter to education and care professionals where he shares his experience of being a new arrival with no spoken English and acknowledges how teachers helped him flourish and achieve.

We look forward to hearing more.

In KCC we have been undertaking staff engagement activities to inform our approach to developing the most effective workforce post covid lockdown. The issue of work life balance forms part of this dialogue and so I was interested to come across this article about the relationship between work life balance and happiness- apparently its all down to considering which lifestyle suits you best: hedonic, eudaimonic or experiential. Read on to find out more

And finally, one for cricket fans - big congratulations to Kent for winning the T20 Blast trophy last week - a welcome piece of good news.

With all best wishes

Christine McInnes
Director of Education