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A message from Matt Dunkley CBE:

7 February 2020 weekly update

7 February 2020

This week, Matt introduces high level changes taking place in CYPE and shares an update on Kent Scheme Pay bargaining proposals.

Dear Colleagues

Changes within the CYPE Directorate

I wanted to write to update you with some important high level changes that are taking place within the CYPE Directorate over the next three months. These changes will be bring together key services and will significantly influence how we work as a Directorate and our overall improvement journey.

In September last year we welcomed colleagues from the Disabled Children’s Service into the Directorate from Adult Service. With them came significant new budget, staffing and statutory responsibilities. Since then we have been thinking about the best way to align their work within the Directorate, keeping strong strategic oversight of their work alongside our other services for children with special needs and disabilities.

The high level change, approved at Personnel Committee last week and subject to ratification at County Council on 19 March, proposes the creation of two new Director Posts and the deletion of the current post Director, Education, Planning and Access. The first additional new Director post is a Director of Education. This new post will bring together a number of the key education, adult skills and provision planning services and will work closely with the new Director of Disabilities and Special Educational Needs. The Director of Education will have a key role to oversee curriculum leadership, inclusion and provision planning for all our special schools and special provision in mainstream.

Again, as approved at Personnel Committee and subject to ratification at County Council on 19 March, the second new Director post will have responsibility for Disabled Children and Young People and for those with Special Educational Needs and will be known as Director Disabilities and Special Educational Needs. One of the main drivers for this change is the need to address the added pressures from the 2014 legislation so that much needed additional capacity as well as strategic expertise and knowledge are provided to these two very important areas. It also marks an increasing recognition of the complexities and demands of work with children and young people with SEND and the need to strengthen and develop further the link between those children and young people with SEND and other key parts of our work within the Directorate. As part of strengthening and further developing our support for SEND, the Educational Psychology Service will also move to be managed within this new division and will create greater alignment on key areas, specifically EHCPs. The precise nature of the structure under each new Director will be created with the new post holders after an interim period. More details of this will follow in due course.

This has led to the deletion of the existing Director of Education, Planning and Access (EPA) post, and Keith Abbott has decided to take this opportunity to take early retirement from KCC at the end of March. This is very much Keith’s choice, and he will be very sorely missed by me and all those who have had the privilege of working with him during the last 37 years in KCC.

We will be making short term arrangements to cover both Director posts as well as starting the process to secure permanent appointments, which will be subject to national advert and an appointment process with Headteachers as a key stakeholder. I will provide you with more information about this process and the timing of these changes in the near future.

Kent Scheme Pay Bargaining Proposals

We would like to take this opportunity to update you on this years’ pay bargaining between Kent County Council and its recognised trades unions. This covers support staff in schools that use the Kent Scheme pay scale.

We wrote you in November 2019 with details of what was being discussed at that point. We also visited the Schools’ Funding Forum twice in 2019 to provide an update. Pay bargaining has now concluded and the outcome will go to County Council on the 13 February 2020. The following is what will be reported to that meeting.

In 2019-20 the County Council agreed to implement a minimum salary for Kent Scheme staff equivalent to the Living Wage Foundation’s “Real Living Wage”. This resulted in a single pay point for staff in KR2 equivalent to £9 per hour. For 2020 further reforms to the Kent Scheme are proposed which would see the minimum pay increase to £9.35 per hour. This is more than the £9.30 recommendation from the Living Wage Foundation for outside London. This higher increase would result in a higher pay rewards for the lowest paid staff (3.9%). This reflects the Council’s ongoing commitment to improve the pay for lowest paid staff and will ensure all of a successful pay reward for these staff is paid in salary (with no non-consolidated lump sum). The proposal from Personnel Committee is to make the “successful” TCP rating 3.6%.

The proposed increase in the minimum pay will combine KR2 and KR3 into a new single pay point. A gap of 0.5% between this point and bottom of KR4 will need to be maintained, and the top of KR4 will need to be £1,200 more than the new KR2 and KR3 to ensure staff at the top of the higher range are paid £100 per month more than the minimum pay (there is 0.5% gap and minimum £1,200 difference between the tops in all pay ranges). This is in line with the principles set out in our note to you in November.

Once County Council has agreed these proposals we will be able to advise you of all of the TCP ratings (i.e. outstanding and excellent). We will also start work on revising the salary scales and we will make sure these are available as soon as possible.

All County Council papers are published on the KCC website. Pay and Reward proposals for the Council are detailed on page 18 of the Captial Programme and Revenue Budget report (point 5.16 and 5.17).

Matt Dunkley CBE
Corporate Director
Children, Young People and Education