WE1 Early Years

Outstanding result for Bright Horizons Day Nursery in Rugby

Congratulations to all the staff at Bright Horizons Rugby Day Nursery and Preschool who recently received ‘Outstanding’ judgements across all the four inspection areas - quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership and management.

Ofsted stated:

Children make exceptional progress. The extensive learning opportunities provided ensure children build excellent skills. Staff plan a curriculum that captures children's interest and enhances their learning.

Parents play an active role in their child's learning and share their interests and learning at home. Staff use this alongside their own observations to plan activities to enhance their all-round development.

Teaching is superb. Staff continually model the use of good language. They ask children questions to encourage their thought processes and allow them time to think about their answer before they respond.

Children also learn to use simple sign language as a means of communication. This provides excellent support for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities. The care that staff provide to support children with particular needs is a strength.

Staff work cohesively with parents and other professionals to ensure care and learning opportunities are always targeted appropriately to support their progress.

Partnership with parents is superb. Parents speak highly of the wonderful care that staff provide and feel so pleased to have been given a placement at the nursery. They are delighted with the service and particularly like the involvement they have through workshops and the recent introduction of webinars to explore a variety of topics. Parents' thoughts and opinions are actively sought.

The well-being of staff is a high priority. The manager values her team of highly qualified staff and places great importance on ensuring that they feel supported and that their opinions are important.

Professional development opportunities enable staff to continually build on their knowledge and skills, which benefits the nursery immensely and helps to raise outcomes for children.

Children learn to care for themselves and others. They are selected each day to take on specific tasks.

Children learn about the importance of being active and enjoy activities such as yoga. They choose when they wish to play outdoors and benefit from plenty of fresh air and exercise each day.

You can read the full report on Ofsted's website here.

Consultation on Early Years Foundation Stage Reforms

The Department for Education (DfE) is currently consulting on the proposed changes to the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS).

The consultation includes proposed changes to the educational programmes, the early learning goals, the EYFS profile assessment, and safeguarding and welfare requirements to promote good oral health.

The consultation closes on 31 January 2020.

DfE consultation document

Consultation summary

WE2 An empowering curriculum

WCC invests to offer 80 places for special needs pupils by 2021

Exhall SEND School 02

The purchase presents an opportunity for WCC to increase its offer for some of its more vulnerable young people and will enable them to attend a school in the County rather than travel out of Warwickshire, minimising disruption for the pupils and keeping health and social care integrated with their education. The projected opening date is September 2021.

The proposal is to establish an 80 place specialist school for children with Autism (ASD) and/or Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. The age range of pupils would be from Year 5 to Year 14 (9-19 years old).

The purchase of the site supports the Council’s desire to keep vulnerable learners within Warwickshire wherever possible. Demand for specialist educational provision is rising with 261 learners currently in specialist provision and forecasts showing that a further 259 places will be required by 2023.

Establishing a new school at Exhall is integral to the Council’s strategy to respond to this challenge, and follows the commissioning of the Discovery Academy in Nuneaton (opened in 2015) and Quest Academy in Rugby (opened in 2017).

Exhall SEND School 01

Parent Carer Assessment Consultation

Warwickshire County Council is undertaking a public consultation to re-shape and improve the support we offer parent carers of a child (under the age of 18) with a disability.

The Parent Carer Support Pathway will focus on taking a person-centred approach, based on a Wellbeing Conversation, that provides parent carers with the right support at the right time.

We are looking to improve the support pathway based on feedback we have received from parent carers that has indicated that whilst the current pathway works for some it does not work for all.

During the consultation period we would like to hear from as many parent carers of disabled children as possible. We would also welcome views from professionals who support parent carers.

The public consultation opened on 6 January and closes on Sunday 9 February 2020.

Further information

An overview of the proposed process and other supporting documents can be accessed online at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ask.

A paper copy of the online survey can be requested by telephone (01926 415106) or by emailing parentcarerconsult@warwickshire.gov.uk.

Drop-in Sessions

A number of drop-in sessions have been organised that will include a short presentation followed by a Q&A session.  Current available dates are as follows:

Monday 20 Jan, 1.30-3.30pm at Warwick Racecourse - 1707 Suite

Thursday 23 Jan, 6.30-8pm at Warwick Racecourse - 1707 Suite

Attachment, trauma and emotion coaching for designated teachers

Warwickshire’s Virtual School is running top up sessions for designated teachers who have not had, or need to refresh, attachment, trauma and Emotion Coaching.

It is essential that our designated teachers for children looked after (CLA) and previously looked after children (CPLA) are aware of the impact of early attachment and adverse childhood experiences and their impact on developing brains. Understanding the neuro-science enables teachers to identify and develop more appropriate responses, such as Emotion Coaching.

Designated teachers from all Warwickshire settings are invited to attend, free of charge, fulfilling their requirement for ongoing CPD as detailed in the current DfE guidance. Settings outside of Warwickshire can also attend free of charge if there are Warwickshire CLA on roll.

All sessions begin with refreshments at 8.30am, delivery starts at 9am and runs until 4pm.

To book places or for further information please contact the Virtual School team: 

Email: virtualschool@warwickshire.gov.uk      Tel: 01926 742018


Understanding Attachment and Trauma

27 Feb at Bulkington Village Centre

30 April at Rugby College

Emotion Coaching

5 March at Rugby College

21 May at Bulkington Village Centre 

BBC Countryfile visit Brownsover Community School

Brownsover BBC Food 01The pupils and staff at Brownsover Community School were joined by film crews from the BBC in December, when they spent the day recording for a special feature for Countryfile, a programme covering rural, agricultural and environmental issues in the UK. 

Regular presenter on the programme, Tom Heap, spent the day seeing first-hand how the collaborative efforts of all of the staff, pupils and local community have positively impacted on the curriculum and contributed to the development of a forward looking food culture in the school. He had the chance to help prepare and serve the school dinners, meet the pupils and talk with teaching and kitchen staff about how the school have embraced the 'farm-to-fork' philosophy.

The school were keen to share how they have achieved the Gold 'Food for Life' school award, which recognises settings that go the extra mile to promote healthy food behaviours throughout the whole ethos of the school. To achieve this highest award schools should demonstrate that:

  • They act as hubs for their local community, actively involving parents and community groups in cooking and growing activities
  • They serve food that is healthy, ethical, made largely from local ingredients and a minimum of 15% organic and 5% free range 
  • Pupils choose to eat a school meal as the norm
  • They are actively involved in the life of a local farm and active in planning and growing organic food for the school.

Headteacher, Elisa Basnett, said:

At Brownsover, we pride ourselves in developing the whole child, and the key skills addressed throughout our Food For Life program ensure that healthy eating and lifestyles are actively promoted and supported for all children. The children really enjoyed the filming experience! They take great pride in sharing our achievements with visitors and especially enjoy cooking with their friends and parents.

The program is due to air on Sunday 19 January so don't forget to tune in!

Brownsover BBC Food 02

Brownsover BBC Food 03

Latest updates for RE subject leaders and coordinators


Spring RE Bulletin 2020

Please click here for the RE Spring Bulletin 2020

Candle Conference

A Candle Conference is to be held on Tuesday 17 March 2020 at Coventry Cathedral. The event is primarily for Year 12 students covering topics specified by all English examination boards for AS level/A level Year 1 Study in Religious Studies. It aims to enthuse and extend students, helping them to develop a love and holistic understanding of the subject. Detailed information can be found on the Candle Conferences website here.

WE3 Family of schools

Temporary exemption for school-procured vehicles used for home-to-school transport

As you may be aware, the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) require buses and coaches designed to carry over 22 passengers on local and scheduled routes to incorporate features to enable disabled people to travel on them comfortably and safely, including a wheelchair space and a ramp or lift. 

Unless they meet the requirements of a relevant statutory exemption, any home-to-school service on which some, or all, of the seats are sold (rather than provided free of charge) are covered by the provisions of PSVAR and need to have complied with the regulations by 1 January 2020. 

It is the responsibility of an operator, or organisations commissioning services, to ensure they are complying with the law.  This exemption is not available for services procured by a local authority to fulfil a statutory duty.

For schools and colleges that procure their own home-to-school transport, the government is offering a temporary ‘School Procured’ exemption for vehicles providing home-to-school transport services, irrespective of the number of passengers who pay a fare. The temporary exemption will run until 31 July 2020 and is intended to provide schools with sufficient time to procure services for the 2020/21 academic year which comply with PSVAR.

Please refer to the following letter and application form for more information regarding the ‘School Procured’ exemption.  Where a school would like to apply for an exemption, the completed form will need to be emailed to HomeToSchoolExemptions@dft.gov.uk by 31 January 2020.

Exemption Application Letter

Exemption Application Form

Encourage pupils to have a school meal on Census Day

Educaterers staff

Next Thursday (16 January) is Census Day, so you may wish to work with your school catering team to encourage pupils to order a school meal to boost your future school funding.

Schools across Warwickshire will take part in the January census, which collects information about schools’ pupils and workforce, such as attendance figures and the number of pupils enrolled. You can read more about ensuring you meet the deadline for census data here.

Census days take place during the autumn, spring and summer terms and the amount of funding a school receives increases in line with the number of eligible pupils taking a free school meal on Census Day.

Educaterers, Warwickshire County Council’s Local Authority Traded Company school caterers, will have a special ‘Launch into Lunch’ space-themed menu to help encourage pupils to have school lunch on Census Day.

It will include a choice of favourites: ‘Shooting Stars Shaped Fish in Breadcrumbs’ or ‘Nebula Noodles with Veggie Bolognese Sauce’ served with a choice of ‘Moonwalk Wedges’, ‘Cosmic Corn’, ‘Solar Salad’ and ‘Blast off Beans’!

This will be followed by a pudding of either ‘Black Hole Chocolate Brownie’ or ‘Meteor Storm Swirl Mousse’ to tempt more children to take a meal.

So please ask parents to support your school by encouraging their children to have a school meal on Thursday and help influence how much funding your school gets in the 2020-21 academic year.

For more information on Educaterers, visit www.educaterers.co.uk.

Apply now for an opportunity to access Severn Trent's £10 million community fund

Severn Trent has announced a new £10 million community fund to be awarded over the next five years to support local projects, charities and community groups in the Severn Trent region. Applications can be made by organisations including, but not exclusive to, publicly funded schools, charities, local authorities, parish councils and sports clubs.

The fund has been shaped by customers and as a result has been designed with a focus around improving community wellbeing, namely:

  • People: Projects that help people to lead a healthier life and gain new skills
  • Places: Projects that help to create better places to live in and use
  • Environment: Projects that will help look after our natural environment, give people greater access to that environment or help look after water

Applications opened on 6 January and, as it's a rolling programme, applications for support can be made at any time during the year and there are no closing dates.  Quarterly panels will be held in March, June, September and December, where applications will be considered and decisions made on which projects will receive funding.

To find out more visit: httpvs://www.stwater.co.uk/about-us/severn-trent-community-fund/ 

Council employees are supported to Foster for Warwickshire

**For school staff employed by the local authority**

FosteringWarwickshire County Council is working to become a fostering friendly workplace and we’re raising awareness of the new benefits that will come into effect in the new financial year.

From April 2020, employees of WCC who also foster for the authority, will be allowed additional annual leave. 

Under the agreed proposals, employees who are approved WCC foster carers will be entitled to request five days additional leave in their first year of fostering and three days in the years that follow approval. The purpose of this additional leave is to undertake training, development or preparation for the placement of a child.

The council will seek Foster Carer Friendly Employer Status from the National Fostering Network and will also be encouraging other businesses to do the same.

So don’t delay, now is a great time to start fostering for Warwickshire. Find out more at www.warwickshire.gov.uk/fostering or call us on 01926 746956.

Important: Deadline 17 Jan - Statutory Spring School Census

***Important message to all Warwickshire schools***

The second statutory school census return of the 2019/20 academic year will take place on Thursday 16 January. Deadline for submission to the Local Authority (LA) is Friday 17 January.

As in previous years, the 2020 spring school census will be used to fund the early year’s block of the dedicated schools grant as well as pupil premium and universal infant school meals. The Department for Education (DfE) will also be sharing a provisional extract of year 6 data to the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) on 7 February (provisional) which will be used to populate the system for registering pupils for the Key Stage 2 national curriculum tests. Where census data has not been returned, the STA will be reliant on schools to manually enter these pupils into the pupil registration system to ensure they are correctly registered for the Key Stage 2 tests.

It is therefore vitally important that you are satisfied with the accuracy of your schools’ return before uploading it to the LA and that it is returned by the prescribed deadline.

Prior to each census, the ICT Development Service (MIDAS) upload census documentation to the Warwickshire Learning Platform (WeLearn365) which can be found at: http://bit.ly/midaspages and on the download site http://wsd.we-learn.com/downloads. These will assist you in preparing and running your census returns.

If you have any technical queries regarding the SIMS system and generating the return please contact the ICT Development Service Desk on 01926 414100.

If you have any other questions about this data collection, please contact Michelle Ali, Business Intelligence on 01926 742169 or by e-mail businessintelligence@warwickshire.gov.uk

Thank you for your continued support with these collections.

Business Intelligence
Commissioning Support Unit

WE4 Employability

New application window open for Warwickshire Fair Workload Charter

Fair Workload Charter cropped

Warwickshire schools were invited last year to participate in the Fair Workload Charter Survey which recognises the positive work undertaken in managing teacher workload.

We are pleased to let you know that the opportunity for applying for the Fair Workload Charter has now re-opened for January 2020 and schools interested in participating are invited to email fairworkloadcharter@warwickshire.gov.uk at the earliest opportunity.

The charter status will last for 24 months from the date awarded.

This initiative was developed by a working party in partnership with headteachers, WCC and the teacher trade unions to allow schools to enable their teaching staff to comment on the following workload areas:

  • general working conditions
  • planning and marking expectations
  • data collection and communications
  • school policies and access to training

Based on the results of the above survey, schools reaching a 90% threshold will be awarded the Fair Workload Charter status. This is a kite mark that can be used in recruitment materials and general communication and promotion of the school. Given the national focus on the effects the management of workload is having on schools and staff sickness absence and turnover, this could be a very powerful recruitment and retention tool for your school or academy trust to use to tackle these challenging issues.

There is a nominal subscription cost to cover administration and the materials of £50 per school.  You will receive detailed feedback after submitting your survey results in order to allow you to action plan accordingly to address those areas which may have prevented you receiving the award upon first attempt.

More information is available (including the survey questions used) at the following link to Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any queries please contact fairworkloadcharter@warwickshire.gov.uk

Gaming festival returns to Leamington in 2020

Interactive Futures 2020

Interactive Futures will return to the Royal Spa Centre in Leamington this year following its successful inaugural event in 2019.

The two-day conference and expo, running from 31 January - 1 February, will highlight the region’s heritage within the UK video games industry, as well as its talent and creativity, the unrivalled community of indie and major studios, and career opportunities both for students and those already working in games and beyond.

On the Saturday (1 Feb) the event will open its doors to consumers and students to inspire the next generation of talent with career opportunities being the key focus for the day.

Conference topics will include:

  • Levelling Up: What skills and qualifications are required for a career in games?
  • How we made it: Young indie developers discuss their careers
  • Beyond coding: Why there’s a career in games for everyone

.....and much more.

The day will also feature practical activities for all, the chance to try out the best of the games created in Leamington, competitions and e-sports challenges plus a CV clinic and portfolio reviews for students.

An expo showcasing the best of the Leamington Games Hub will run throughout the two days.

Interactive Futures is being funded by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), Warwickshire County Council and Warwick District Council alongside support from local industry.

For more details please visit the Interactive Futures website.

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