Hello and welcome once more to Heads Up.
I have used this introduction over the last year to bring to the fore the key messages around the Government’s guidance. With the speed of change, there was always plenty of subject matter.
We know that there remains a lot to be done on a daily basis to keep schools Covid-secure and that measures of some description will be in place for some time to come but, hopefully, the pace of change is now slowing down a bit.
We will be using Heads Up as a one-stop repository for all things related to Covid with a section dedicated to the latest guidance and what that means for schools and settings. So, in the coming weeks, you will no longer be receiving the weekly briefing but instead, you can refer to Heads Up to be sure that you are up to date. If anything changes swiftly, we will be sure to keep you updated but this seems a chance for us to start to lessen the incoming traffic to your inboxes.
It also reinforces the fact that for us at the county council, as well as for you, we are moving ahead with what has been referred to as ‘business as usual’. For us, in the coming weeks, as well as providing a response to any incoming live issues that the virus might bring, much of our focus will be on the SEND and Inclusion Change programme which is picking up pace.
Last night I attended a webinar with the parents and carers of children and young people with SEND as we gain greater insight into what their current thoughts and needs are. It is good that we can celebrate the launch of Warwickshire Parent and Carer Voice, with its wider participation. We look forward to working in partnership with them to deliver better outcomes for children and young people.
Our strategy has been produced in consultation with parents and carers. It is very much informed by the issues that caring for a child with SEND bring and making sure that our work best meets their needs, within the resources that we have at our disposal.
Just as parents and carers are integral to us getting it right and having sustainable services that produce the best outcomes for the children, so too are schools. Our plan is to get as many children and young people as possible into our mainstream settings.
This is what we are advised is the best way to improve the outcomes for the children. Being part of a local community, combining education with health and social care services as part of a wraparound plan provided locally and reducing the stress of journeys to schools well outside the local area has to be our vision for these young people.
Our vision is also to stretch these young people so that they reach their full potential. We hear at every turn how important this is, in just the same way that we are told that we need to help and support those who struggle with their learning. Schools are the best places for this to happen so, just as we are committed to engaging with parents, so too are we committed to engaging with you to make sure that everybody is involve as we go through the journey.
It won’t be straightforward every step of the way. It is too ambitious a programme. But the journey will be made easier by making the journey together. I hope that the relationships we have cemented over the last 15 months hold us in good stead for this programme of work.
Here is a link to the webinar slides which you might wish to view to get a feel for how parents and carers are thinking. But I also want you to know that your views are vitally important to us. There is a dedicated email address – firstname.lastname@example.org – which you can use to share best practice, raise issues or have your questions answered. Please do use that so we know what you are thinking, what you need us to look at and to be another link that enables us to work together.
We don’t yet know when OFSTED will be with us. But the inspection is in addition to our change programme and does not drive it. Change was going to happen regardless as we know we have to do things differently but I truly hope that your expertise, unstinting dedication and commitment to our children’s futures play a huge role as we take on the challenge.
Right. The weekend’s nearly here, the weather will be glorious, we have Test Cricket at Edgbaston and the European Championships are starting. It all sounds like old times when you put it that way. Whatever you’re doing, enjoy and see you soon.