Skip to content

A message from Matt Dunkley CBE:

29 November 2019 weekly update

29 November 2019

This week, Matt provides a summary of the highlights from the National Children and Adult Services Conference 2019 and gives his congratulations to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School for winning first place in the World STEM competition F1 in Schools.

Dear Colleagues

National Children and Adult Services Conference 2019

As I mentioned in last week’s e-bulletin, I attended The National Children and Adult Services Conference 2019 in Bournemouth. Here is a brief overview of some of the highlights.

The ADCS President Rachel Dickinson gave a powerful speech on the first day and it touched on many of the challenges facing children, their families and the services they rely on today.

This included:

  • the increasing levels of child poverty;
  • the need for central government to invest sustainably, substantially and bravely in children’s services;
  • children’s mental health and wellbeing;
  • the latest elective home education (EHE) survey showing that the number of children who are home educated is continuing to rise as well as the proportion of EHE children known to children’s social care.

Other themes in Rachel’s speech included the need for an inclusive education system and the level of profit being generated by some companies from the care of vulnerable children. The full speech can be read on the ADCS website

In another conference session, a speaker raised the challenges and opportunities surrounding Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). This included a session where we also heard from Tony McArdle, Chair of the SEND Leadership Board and one of the independent advisors to the SEND review. More information to follow on the SEND review next year.

There were plenty of workshops with an education focus which included improving outcomes for vulnerable children, embedding a whole school academic resilience approach, adopted children’s experience of school and another on the importance of the Early Years on improving social mobility.

Delegates also had the opportunity to discuss the impact of the Troubled Families programme and there was a very interesting session on tackling county lines and serious violent crime. All in all it was a very powerful conference with key discussions and debate about those critical issues which many of us are currently managing.

Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School

Finally, my huge congratulations to Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham for winning first place in the STEM competition F1 in Schools. The school have been involved in the competition for 10 years, getting better each year with 2019 being the year which saw three of their students as ’Team Evolve UK' win the South East of England Finals in February, second in the National F1 in Schools finals in March and this week they have won first place in the World Championships Abu Dhabi.

This is a fabulous achievement and recognises the hard work and commitment of the students and staff. I am sure that they will enjoy the added bonus of being part of the F1 race this weekend.

Matt Dunkley CBE
Corporate Director
Children, Young People and Education