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A message from Christine McInnes:

31 March 2022 weekly update

31 March 2022

This week, Christine shares two long awaited government policy papers, and the dates for the next round of headteacher briefing meetings.

Dear Colleagues,

When I was invited to speak to the Headteacher’s Conference in November 2021, the DfE was consulting on the removal of the school improvement grant and I posed the question ‘ Does the Local Authority have a role in the education arena going forward? ‘ My answer was yes, well it would be, wouldn’t it! Amongst other things, I saw the role of the LA as creating the conditions for collaboration and place-based connectivity in a fragmented education system, as well as continuing to act as an advocate for children and families. Interesting, then, to see the role of the LA confirmed in the two long awaited policy papers this week, the Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child White Paper and the SEND (and Alternative Provision) Review: Right Support, Right Place, Right Time Green Paper

It is too early to understand the full implications, but KCC broadly welcomes the intention to create a unified and simplified school system, to implement consistent expectations of trusts through the development of trust standards and to bring greater clarity of the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders.

We particularly welcome the profiling of the role of the Education Endowment Fund in embedding evidence-based practice, as we now have over two hundred schools participating in our groundbreaking EEFective Kent Project doing just that already! Exploring the implications and benefits of evidence based practice will be the focus of the forthcoming Headteacher Briefing Meetings taking place on the afternoons of:

  • Tuesday 14 June at Mercure, Maidstone
  • Thursday 16 June at Mercure, Dartford
  • Monday 20 June at St Augustine’s, Westgate
  • Wednesday 22 June at Ashford International.

There is interest too in the opportunity for LA sponsored Multi Academy Trusts and we await the publication of greater detail with interest. Some of the issues are highlighted in this article in Schools Week

We will be communicating more about our thinking over the coming months, but just to reassure you all developments will be co-constructed with the sector so we can ensure we make best use of the existing expertise and experience in the education system.

One area we are still awaiting a clear policy direction is in the 16 to 19 arena, where KCC has progressed an impressive piece of research which will be launched on 28 April. The findings and recommendations from this report will impact on the future direction of the 16 to 19 provision across Kent. To have your say, please join the discussion at the launch event which will be hosted by the leader of the council, Roger Gough and contribute to developing next steps. Please complete your Eventbrite registration to secure your place and for full details.

That’s if for this term - may I wish you a restful Easter break and I look forward to seeing you next term.

With all best wishes

Christine McInnes
Director of Education