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A message from Christine McInnes:

29 June 2021 weekly update

29 June 2021

This week, Christine shares a letter from the DfE and two interesting government reports, and announces our new Inclusion Leadership Service provider.

Dear Colleagues,

With the England-Germany game imminent, I’m not going to say much about football this week. A sad au revoir to the Tartan Army, a ‘phew, well done’ to Italy, and to the England team, don’t think about penalty shootouts

A weekend in politics is a very long time, especially if you are seemingly unaware of the CCTV camera in your own office. So, welcome to Sajid Javid, the new Secretary of State for Health who is preparing a raft of covid changes, which will coincide almost exactly with the end of the school year. On the positive side, yesterday’s letter from the DfE (PDF, 31.2 KB) provides a helpful steer on arrangements for the rest of this term and planning for next .

This week’s SEND schools news is that following a rigorous recruitment process, I’m pleased to let you know that the Leadership Learning South East (LLSE) Consortium were successful in their bid to deliver an Inclusion Leadership Service from 1 September. More information is in this bulletin. Thanks to colleagues from Kent Association of Headteachers (KAH), the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), the Education Development Trust, and NASEN Whole School Send, as well as officers who contributed to the specification and process.

For schools which have impacted by IT issues recently, included in this bulletin is an update from Mark Scott, Chief Executive Officer of Cantium Solutions. We are meeting with Cantium colleagues daily to work towards resolution.

I am sure you welcomed Cabinet Member for Education and Skills Councillor Shellina Prendergast’s letter to Secretary of State for Education Gavin Williamson, circulated last week. This letter confirmed Kent’s commitment to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for children eligible for free school meals. There have been two related reports on pupil achievement published recently. The first report which was published in April is a rigorous data analysis by Professor Steve Strand on the collective impact of ethnicity, socio-economics and gender on educational achievement at the age of 16. Sadly, this report seems to have slipped under wire as the findings make an important and informed contribution to understanding the root causes of disparities in order to inform appropriate responses

The second report was the controversial Education Committee report The forgotten: how White working-class pupils have been let down and how to change it. The Report makes a contribution to the achievement debate, however the equating of being working class with being poor and therefore underachieving is not helpful as we know underachievement is by White pupils on free school meals. The report includes some useful recommendations which we are considering.

Since last week I visited The Holmesdale School in Snodland and Grange Park special school in Wrotham. I was particularly interested to find out about the extensive work The Holmesdale School do to promote good attendance, as the last set of pre-covid published data shows the school’s persistent absence close to the national average. Many thanks to Executive headteacher Nicky Hodges and Glen Prebble Head of School for their welcome and time. At Grange Park School, I was shown round by the two head-boys who did a splendid job in explaining the great opportunities provided by the school and gave me a coaster they had made with their names and the school logo. Guys, I hope your transition to car mechanics course goes really well! Thanks to them both and to headteacher Renukah Atwell and her team for their time and also for some delicious cake.

With all best wishes

Christine McInnes
Director of Education