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A message from Christine McInnes:

25 January 2024 weekly update

25 January 2024

This week, Christine shares updates on progressing the actions in the Accelerated Progress Plan, Schools Funding Forum and the Kent School Games programme.

Dear Colleagues,

Most of my time since last week has been spent in meetings and drafting reports.

Meeting update

The externally chaired, monthly, SEND Improvement and Assurance Board (SIAB) which supports the area (LA, health, education providers including schools and other partners) to progress the actions in the Accelerated Progress Plan took place on Wednesday. The SIAB considers and challenges detailed reports of activity and impact against the nine Areas of Weakness (AoW) identified during inspection and the revisit that took place in September 2022. KALE and KsENT are both represented as are the Early Years and Further Education Sectors.

Two of the AoWs are concerned directly with education provision:

  • 2 - A variable quality of provision and commitment to inclusion in schools, and the lack of willingness of some schools to accommodate children and young people with SEND
  • 5 - Poor standards achieved, and progress made, by too many children and young people with SEND.

Many of the projects that we regularly update you on – the rollout of the Countywide Approach to Inclusive Education, training on the Mainstream Core Standards, NurtureUK, Autism Education Trust Training , the SEND sufficiency strategy and the special schools review contribute to improving performance in these AoW. The revisit reported before the publication of data for the academic year 2021-22 and whilst attendance was relatively poor, achievement was about in line with national averages in key indicators as it was for the academic year 2022-23.

If anyone is interested in further detail, do let me know as I would be happy to share the reports as appropriate.

Schools Funding Forum took place on Thursday morning to consider papers on the Early Years extension to free entitlement, Early Years deprivation, Notional SEN budget, High Needs Inflationary uplift, the Special Schools Review, Maintenance thresholds and an update on Growth and Falling Rolls, Gifts and Hospitality policies and new Procurement rules.

On Friday I was pleased to meet with the KALE Executive and on Monday I joined the Joint Consultative Committee.

Kent School Games programme

The Kent School Games programme, which has changed over the last few years from competitive events to more targeted inclusive events, recently released a report on the first two terms on the academic year. The programme has more capacity for schools to join so if this might be of interest a copy of their most recent report can be seen on the ActiveKent website

The contact is Charlie Sharp who can be contacted by emailing


I was delighted to recently attend a prize-giving evening at Dover Grammar School for Girls. Pupils and staff provided fabulous musical entertainment and it was wonderful to see the hall packed with parents and carers. A big thank you to Bob Benson and his team for a lovely welcome. Unfortunately as we are preparing for the next APP review in April and for the SEND Area Inspection, I’m not going to be able to undertake many visits between now and Easter.

And finally…

I haven’t shared an article from The Conversation for some time, but I thought this one was particularly fascinating:

Have a great week.

Christine McInnes
Director of Education and SEN