An update from Julie Stockdale
I am writing from a chilly County Hall, where the cold snap is beginning to hit, so I hope you are all keeping well wrapped up and warm - here's looking forward to spring time!
As I am sure you are all aware, we are currently in the midst of the secondary and primary school applications for September 2016 and we very much appreciate schools' support in manning queries on the 'frontline' as the closing dates approach. Over the next couple of months there will be ongoing discussions with schools to ensure that there is a robust plan in place to offer all applicants a place. Thank you to the secondary headteachers and colleagues who met this week to discuss secondary provision, and an advanced thank you to primary headteachers for your continued support in planning places in the primary sector.
I attended the special educational needs and disability (SEND) Programme Board this week, which is doing (and managing) some great work. The board continues to monitor progress on the SEND 2020 strategy and is working on four main workstreams including the customer experience, rebuilding the system, transforming the local offer and inclusive practice, as well as preparing for an inspection.
Liz Mills, SEND Strategic Programme Lead, updated Schools Forum on the programme this week and Frank Offer, who is leading on the ‘transforming the local offer workstream, attended the Primary Phase Council. Both groups welcomed the overarching strategy and acknowledged that we all need to work together more closely. It was therefore agreed that a more detailed workshop will be held to further look at the financial challenges we’re facing, as well as arranging meetings in all four quadrants. I will keep you updated on how our SEND work is progressing in future bulletins.
In the ever shifting educational landscape, we are awaiting details from central Government about the future of the academy agenda for the remainder of this parliament. In light of this, we are eager to start early discussions with schools about how the academy agenda may affect both local authority and school roles within the Surrey family of schools. Schools will have the opportunity to take part in these discussions and I would like to encourage you to get involved. Watch out for details in the soon. In the meantime, we will let you know of any updates we receive from central Government.
Finally, as most of you will be aware, Thursday 28 January is Young Carers' Day. We would be really grateful if you can support us by acknowledging and promoting young carers on this day. You can find information and resources on the Carers Trust website where you will be able to download awareness raising materials. I hope that you will make use of these!
Strategic Lead for School Commissioning