Securing the Best Start to Life

Why language matters: what is meant by ‘early help’

NSPCC Learning has published a new blog post as part of its Why Language Matters series explaining ‘early help’ and looking at the differences between ‘early help’ and ‘early intervention’.

The blog post explores the lack of shared understanding around these terms and discusses how this impacts on the provision of support for families.

Click here for more information

Best start in life part 2: the 3 prime areas of learning

This report is part of Ofsted's series of subject-based curriculum research reviews. Its purpose is to support early years practitioners in raising the quality of early years education. The report has 3 parts:

Tiny Happy People programme

Are aware of the amazing resources that the BBC have developed as part of their Tiny Happy People programme?

The Local Government Association (LGA) are working with the BBC to deliver champion training into the resources, an opportunity for ANYONE who works with families and children under 5 to find out more about the resources and how they can use them.

Tiny Happy People: https://www.bbc.co.uk/tiny-happy-people

They are hosting FREE regional events, and this is the one for the South West of England.

A parent’s guide to keeping kids healthy this school year

As the new school year begins, children, teenagers and their parents prepare for new schedules, homework, friends, and activities. But the autumn also brings common illnesses that can keep children and teenagers away from their classmates and studies.

This blog post covers steps you can take now and throughout the coming term to help protect your family from seasonal illnesses. We’ll explore available vaccinations, how to recognise symptoms of common illnesses, and how to make informed decisions on whether a sick student is well enough to attend school or college.

Read more here.

Top safety tips for families this September

Please find here top tips from Capt

Supporting Inclusion for SEND and Vulnerable Groups

Important Top Up Funding update: Implementation of phase two and support available for settings

Following a successful start to the implementation of the new Top up Funding Matrix and with over 180 SENCos and school leaders attending awareness sessions in June and July, we will now be rolling out the new Top Up Funding Matrix across all mainstream and special school settings in Warwickshire through a phased implementation plan.

For those who have not yet attended an awareness session, we are holding four additional sessions in September and will also be offering Super User Surgeries to support settings with implementing these changes – please see details below.

The new funding matrix aims to determine the right level of top-up funding at the right time, to enable education settings to make appropriate provision for pupils with a special educational need and/or disability (SEND). This will support schools to improve their inclusive learning environments and give children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) the opportunity to be educated within their local mainstream setting, in line with the SEND Code of Practice.

The new matrix will provide a simplified funding process, increased transparency and greater financial sustainability to education settings to improve placement stability and support recruitment and retention.

This new process will enable a significant reduction in the number of Costed Individual Education Plans (IEPs) being submitted, meaning settings will receive funding quicker and SENCos will have more time to focus on other priorities.

From September 2023 to February 2024, all children with EHCPs within the following groups will be transferred onto the new Top Up Funding Matrix: 

  • All draft EHCPs issued on or after 1 September 2023
  • Year 6-7 transfers. In line with their annual reviews being submitted, current year 6's will be funded according to the new matrix from September 2024. Funding allocations will be released along with their final plans by 15 February 2024.
  • Nursery to reception transfers. Those starting reception in September 2023 and not on the new matrix will be funded according to the new matrix from September 2024.

Additional awareness sessions for SENCos and school leaders

If you have not attended one of the previous awareness sessions, you are encouraged to register for one of the additional sessions below. The purpose of the session is to provide an overview of the aims and principles of the matrix, demonstrate how this will work in practice and provide an opportunity to ask any questions. 

If you would like to attend a session and have not received an invitation, please email SENDchange@warwickshire.gov.uk

All sessions are virtual:

  • Monday 18 September, 9am - 9.30am
  • Wednesday 20 September, 4pm - 4.30pm
  • Monday 25 September 9.30 – 10am
  • Tuesday 26 September 12-12.30pm

Super User Surgeries

From Monday 20 September 2023, we welcome SENCOs and/or education leaders to book onto a Super User Surgery to discuss any specific transfers onto the new matrix.

The online surgeries will run weekly on Thursdays from 2pm – 3pm, with 20-minute slots available to book. You can book a slot now using the following link: 'Super User' Surgery Booking Form

You Said: We Did – FAQs

Following feedback from the initial awareness sessions held in June and July, a list of FAQs has now been compiled. You can view the FAQs here

Being transparent with parents and carers about the allocation of funding to support SEND in schools and settings is important, so we are also working with Warwickshire Parent Carer Voice to review the information on our Local Offer webpages and will be updating this in due course.

During the implementation of the new matrix, we will be carrying out in-depth reviews every half term to evaluate progress, impact and sustainability, as well as any feedback we receive. The next half-termly review will take place in October 2023. We are committed to working in partnership with you to deliver the best possible outcomes for our children and young people and will be keeping you updated throughout the duration of the project.

We welcome all questions, feedback and suggestions, please send these to SENDchange@warwickshire.gov.uk.

September's edition of Warwickshire SEND is here!

The September edition of Warwickshire's SEND Newsletter is out, with all the latest news on special educational needs and disabilities in Warwickshire.
Please share the link with families via your school newsletter, parent app and on your website.
In this month's edition you'll find:
  • How to seek help if you think your child has a special educational need or disability
  • Submitting school preferences for children with an EHCP
  • New one-stop-shop to support transitions
  • School experience survey for children and young people
  • Update on the Resolving Disagreements survey
  • Update on the Written Statement of Action
  • Support for autistic children and young people and those awaiting diagnosis

Celebrating Warwickshire’s Family of Schools

Save the date - Autumn Term 2023 Headteachers' Conference

Save the Date! 

Autumn Term 2023 Headteachers' Conference 

Thursday 19th October 2023 (timings to be confirmed) 


Stareton Hall, Stoneleigh Park (NAEC), Stoneleigh, Kenilworth, CV8 2LZ 


Agenda and calendar invitation to follow shortly. 

Consortia Link Officers for 2023-2024

Consortium 1: Nuneaton East and Stockingford 

Sharon Kindred 

Consortium 2: Bedworth 

Leah Adams 

Consortium 3: North Warwickshire 

Emma Burnell 

Consortium 4: Nuneaton Hartshill 

Darren Barrow 

Consortium 5: Stratford, Henley and Studley 

Darren Barrow 

Consortium 6: Bidford and Alcester 

Darren Barrow 

Consortium 7: Kineton and Shipston 

Darren Barrow 

Consortium 8a: Leamington North 

Emma Burnell 

Consortium 8b: Leamington South 

Emma Burnell 

Consortium 9: Warwick and Southam 

Sharon Kindred 

Consortium 10: Kenilworth 

Emma Burnell 

Consortium 11: Rugby Town 

Debbie Hibberd 

Consortium12: Rural Rugby and East 

Debbie Hibberd 

Consortium 13: Nursery Schools 

Sharon Kindred 

Northern Area Secondary Heads and College Leaders 

Leah Adams 

Rugby Area Secondary Education 

Leah Adams 

South Warwickshire Education Partnership 

Leah Adams 

Central Area Secondary Heads 

Leah Adams 

Working together to improve school attendance

 1. Promoting strong attendance message from the DfE

  • A new school year marks a fresh start for children to reconnect with friends and it’s a chance to reset their patterns of behaviour, including attendance.
  • Every professional adult and parent that interacts with a child plays an integral part in supporting children back to school.
  • The first days matter. Last year, of those absent for at least one day in this period, 55% went on to be persistently absent.
  • Reshare the guidance on good attendance practices such as Is my child too ill for school?to aid in making judgements about mild illness or how to seek support with attendance challenges. The Chief Medical Officer and other health leaders have just written to schools on this, and their letter can be shared with parents to reinforce the messages.

2. Access improved monitor your school attendance data reports to support the return to school

    The only 21 schools in Warwickshire have yet to sign up to the DfE data sharing system Wonde.  Those that have can now access new and improved attendance reports. The tool helps support schools, trusts and local authorities analyse attendance patterns and target support for the return to school period.

    What’s new?

    ·        indicators for termly trends in attendance

    ·        data visualisations for quick trend insight

    ·        weekly view of pupil attendance

    ·        pupil attendance codes from the start of the academic year improved loading times

    ·        fixes to some data quality issues.

    To share, log in to your Wonde portal and accept the request. Sharing data is voluntary. Read our data collection principles.

    Please agree to share child in need (CiN), child protection plan (CPP) and pupil leaving date, even if you do not record these in your management information system (MIS). To agree, log in to your Wonde portal.

    Register for September's attendance data webinar and watch a previous webinar.


    3. Letter to school leaders on mild illness and school attendance

    On 5th September 2023, the DfE issued a letter to school leaders providing guidance written by the Chief Medical Officer, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal Society for Public Health and Royal College of Psychiatrists.

    The main points of the guidance are:

    1. It is usually appropriate for parents and carers to send their children to school with mild respiratory illnesses. This would include general cold symptoms: a minor cough, runny nose or sore throat. However, children should not be sent to school if they have a temperature of 38°C or above
    2. Schools are encouraged to share the NHS ‘Is my child too ill for school?’ guidance with parents and carers in your schools and communities which has further information.
    3. More children may be absent from school due to symptoms of anxiety than before the pandemic. Worry and mild or moderate anxiety, whilst sometimes difficult emotions, can be a normal part of growing up for many children and young people. Being in school can often help alleviate the underlying issues. A prolonged period of absence is likely to heighten a child’s anxiety about attending in the future, rather than reduce it.
    4. DfE has published useful guidance on mental health issues affecting a pupil’s attendance and those who are experiencing persistent symptoms can be encouraged to access additional support.
    5. As we head into winter, encouraging high uptake of seasonal flu vaccination and routine immunisations for eligible children and young people will help to reduce absences and the disruption they cause.
    6. The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) recently approved 5 principles to promote school attendance. This should support GPs in having sensitive and reassuring conversations with parents, carers and pupils.

     4. RAAC and school attendance

    Schools that have RAAC will experience additional attendance related challenges.  Although we don’t yet know the full picture, a relatively small number of schools in Warwickshire have so far been identified.  The general rule is to follow the standard attendance procedures. Effected schools can contact the Attendance Service on the details below should they require specific support.

     5. CME and EHE

    We are currently reviewing and updating the CME/EHE processes and procedures. In the meantime, please continue to follow the current guidance.  If your school has a named Education Casework Officer from the Attendance Service, then please discuss any children who you are concerned may be CME or have suggested they may withdraw for EHE, prior to a referral to the CME/EHE department. 

    6. School Attendance Self- Evaluation Framework

    All maintained schools across the county should have received the attendance self-evaluation framework.  This is the first stage in the free at the point of access offer to all schools by the local authority under Working together to improve school attendance. Please do return your SEF at the earliest opportunity, following receipt of the document your school will be linked with an Education Casework Officer who will then offer you the opportunity to have a termly targeted support meeting.

    Academy schools will soon start receiving their attendance self-evaluation framework.  Once you receive yours, please complete as soon as possible. 

    Contact Us:

    If you wish to discuss any issues relating to school attendance, please contact your named worker if you have one.  Alternatively, please feel free to contact the Warwickshire Attendance Service and we will get back to you:


    Statutory School Census – 2023/24 Academic Year

    The statutory school census dates of the 2023/24 academic year are as follows: 

                                        Census Day                 

    Autumn                       Thu 5th Oct                              

    Spring                         Thu 18th Jan                            

    Summer                      Thu 16th May                          

    We ask that all maintained schools submit their return to the LA, via the School Upload System, by the end of the following day i.e. Autumn 23 census by Friday 6th October. 

    Data collected via these returns are used by the DFE for funding purposes, to support strategic objectives and to inform policy decisions.  

    The autumn school census will be used to fund the schools block of the dedicated schools grant and the pupil premium. 

    It is therefore vitally important that you are satisfied with the accuracy of your schools’ return before submitting it, and that it is returned by the prescribed deadlines.  

    Prior to each census ICT Development Service will up-load 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. 

    WSLS Autumn Newsletter Primary Schools 2023

    Please download here a pdf version of the newsletter. 

    WSLS Autumn Newsletter Secondary Schools 2023

    Please download here a pdf version of the newsletter. 

    Last chance to register for Leadership NPQs before 21st Sept!

    Last chance to register for Specialist NPQs before 21st Sept!

    Little Sutton English Hub, Free CPD - Supporting Early Language Development Programme

    A poster of a child and a computer

Description automatically generatedLittle Sutton English Hub is now taking bookings for an exciting new FREE CPD opportunity for early years and KS1 practitioners. 

    This six-session course entitled ‘Supporting Early Language Development’ is designed to equip teachers and leaders with a practical pedagogical understanding of typical language development and how to support pupils who are struggling with language acquisition. 

    As you are aware, the development of early language is a crucial pillar of a child’s personal growth. However, according to research by Speech and Language UK, at least 1.7 million children in this country are behind with talking and understanding of words. Wider research and data confirm this picture. The percentage of pupils formally identified as having a primary special need in speech, language and communication is steadily rising - up to 22.5% in 2021, compared with 18.8% in 2015.

    The course is primarily aimed at EYFS and KS1 practitioners such as early years leads, English leads, and SENDCO.  Staff members will take responsibility for the cascading of training within their school.  Each session will explore a different issue and it is expected that delegates will attend ALL sessions, so please ensure availability prior to booking.

    Session dates are as follows:

    Session 1 

    What is language and how it is developed? 


    17th October 2023 

    Session 2 

    Supporting Talk in Schools 


    7th December 2023 

    Session 3 

    Teaching words and making them stick 


    30th January 2024 

    Session 4 

    Identifying and Supporting speech, language and communication needs 


    12th March 2024 

    Session 5 

    Making Change: Sustaining Change 


    23rd May 2024 

    Session 6 

    Sharing the School Improvement Journey 


    9th July 2024 

    Online Cyber Prevent Information Sessions

    AI Conference, Rugby School, 6 October

    Rugby School is hosting a conference, in partnership with Graydin Coaching, to discuss the profound impact and potential of AI, understand its implications, and work together to amplify the importance of human connection in teaching. AI may look like a monster; we – especially teachers - need to learn to treat it as a useful tool.

    Sir Anthony Seldon and Seth Godin (via satellite) are the keynote speakers. Discussions will be led by Laura Knight, Head of Digital Learning at Berkhamsted (who sets the tone by describing leadership in the AI era as ‘about creating the conditions in which humans can thrive in a symbiotic relationship with machines’), and workshops will look at AI and humanity from a number of different angles.

    Attached to each ticket will be a questionnaire for delegates to complete with their students before 6 October. At the start of the conference, Justin Muston (Rugby’s Head of Staff & Student Formation) and Laura Knight will share those collected responses with speakers and delegates so that the student voice will be considered throughout the day.

    This is not a sit-and-listen conference; it will be dynamic and inclusive with contributions encouraged from all delegates. A summary of the day will be circulated widely which we hope will stimulate wider debate.   

    Resonance in Education: Amplifying the Magic of Humanity in the AI Era

    Friday 6 October, 1000 – 1600, Rugby School, £75 (to cover costs, no profit)

    For further details please contact Justin Muston at jdm@rugbschool.net

    To register, please go to:  https://www.graydin.com/resonance-in-education

    Child Friendly Warwickshire

    Save the Date: "Voices of Tomorrow" Youth Conference | Friday 3 November 2023

    Dear Headteachers,  

    We're inviting schools across the county to join us for the "Voices of Tomorrow" youth conference. Save the date: November 3rd, 2023, for a day of discussions and connections. 

    At this event, students can share their ideas and thoughts on important topics with their peers. The conference offers various workshops and networking opportunities aimed at sparking valuable conversations and collaboration. 

    We encourage schools to inform students, parents, and staff about this opportunity. "Voices of Tomorrow" is a chance for students to engage, connect, and discuss critical issues. 

    Get ready for a day where students' voices make a difference, connections are formed, and inspiration flows. Watch out for more updates as we prepare for this meaningful experience for students. 

    We would really appreciate your support! If you need further information, please contact the team here: childfriendly@warwickshire.gov.uk  

    For further information and book a place, visit www.childfriendlywarwickshire.co.uk/youthconference   

    Warwickshire Youth Council Elections 2024

    Warwickshire County Council are getting ready to run the Warwickshire Youth Council Elections 2024 and this is an invitation for your school to become involved.  

    The good news is that the whole election process will be done ONLINE from NOMINATING CANDIDATES to the VOTING itself. As you may already be aware Warwickshire Youth Council Members represent the views and voice of children and young people living in Warwickshire. They have already completed some impressive pieces of work. The weblink below explains in more detail how your school can become involved and support the Election Process. 

    There are 2 stages to the Election Process: the Nomination Stage (when young people can put their name forward to become a candidate in the election) and the Voting Stage (when school students can vote online for up to 3 of the candidates). 

    The Nominations Stage is open from 18th September to 20th November 2023.  

    If you would like the team to attend a school assembly to explain more about the Warwickshire Youth Council and Election Process, please contact Davinder Shergill: davindershergill@warwickshire.gov.uk  

    Please click here to find out more information about the Election Process and download here more information for teachers.

    You can download and print the below poster for your students. 

    Taylorfitch. Bringing Newsletters to life