Welcome to the May edition of Heads Up
I hope that you had a restful and enjoyable Easter, although this must seem a distant memory now we are already a few weeks into the summer term.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who engaged with the consultation on our new Education Strategy by sharing with parents and through attending face-to-face meetings, focus groups and responding via the online questionnaire. 431 people responded face to face or online, including 107 head teachers co-producing the Strategy on 14th March. We captured the event on camera and have produced a short video ‘Co-producing Warwickshire’s Education Strategy’ – please click ‘play’ to watch below! Feedback from this meeting was captured and fed into the consultation via an adapted online questionnaire. We are in the process of rewriting the Strategy ready for Cabinet on 14th June. Papers for this meeting will be publicly available on 6th June on the Committee pages of the Warwickshire website.
The new strategy will drive the work of Education and Learning services. For example, Warwickshire Music is committed to supporting WE 1 and 2 as follows:
(i) WE1: The Early Years language development programme ‘Singing for Sounds’ is a particularly exciting opportunity to increase support for children in nursery and reception and into Key Stage 1.
(ii) WE2 (iv): Warwickshire Music is already leading the way as one of the very few music services in the country offering Music Therapy for learners with SEND. We received an email from a member of staff in a recently inspected special school telling us that the inspector said that the music lesson was ‘awe inspiring’.
The Strategy now focuses on celebrating our strengths in Warwickshire. A flagship in our traded education portfolio, Warwickshire Music engages with over 10,000 children and young people every week, and offers an extensive network of music centres and county groups. I hear from colleagues in schools how highly you value Warwickshire Music in supporting you to create a broad and balanced curriculum.
It is great news that the West Midlands South SSIF3 (Strategic School Improvement Fund) sub-regional bid was submitted on Friday 20th April by Kenilworth School. This has been a collaborative bid, developed in partnership with Teaching Schools and LAs across the sub-region and if successful will bring in just over £2m to support 100 named schools across the region. The bid will focus on supporting learners with Special Educational Needs and Social, Emotional and Mental Health. We expect to hear in July whether or not we have been successful so, watch this space!
We are also bidding to the DfE Alternative Provision Innovation Fund which will support children and young people at risk of exclusion across the county. The model we are bidding for will focus on parental and carer support.
In our 'Training' section we have provided details of Allergy Awareness training available for all staff; as I am Coeliac and lactose intolerant myself I would particularly like to draw your attention to this important article and encourage staff to complete this training.
I hope to see many of you at our summer term Headteachers’ Meeting on 28th June – details including an agenda and booking form are in this issue. I am thrilled that we have the opportunity to hear from Sir John Timpson CBE, chairman and owner of Timpson, the UK shoe repair chain, about his innovative management approach and his support for Children Looked After. He is not to be missed!
Finally, I would just like to remind colleagues that my senior leadership team all hold substantive positions and are no longer ‘interim’: Hayley Good, Strategic Lead for Learning and Performance; John Edwards, Strategic Lead for Education Sufficiency and Access, Pat Tate, Strategic Lead for SEND and Inclusion and Heather Blevins, Head of the Adult and Community Learning Service.
With thanks and best wishes,
Head of Service Education and Learning