Welcome to my blog

cropped-cropped-Fiona-Wright-150x1501.jpgI am Fiona Wright, one of the Assistant Directors for Children’s Services in East Sussex and I have responsibility for Education and Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability (ISEND). The purpose of my blog is to share some of the highlights for Education and ISEND and to give a flavour of education in East Sussex, especially how the local authority, schools and other providers work together in partnership.  I hope you enjoy reading it and find it both interesting and useful.

Best wishes for the summer holidays

On this, the last day of the academic year, I would like to take the opportunity to wish all our headteachers, teachers, support staff, governors and pupils a safe, restful and enjoyable summer holiday. It has been an extremely busy and productive year with all the challenges of new assessment systems at Key Stages 1, 2 and 4.   From the local authority point of view, we also had our successful Ofsted inspection back in Term 2 and then the implications of the Education White Paper to consider over the last two terms.

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June 2016

I can hardly believe that we are in Term 6 already and the first set of attainment results have arrived. You will know that the DfE intends to make national figures for KS2 outcomes available in July, along with, or very soon after, schools’ results. This has never happened this early before and comes as a complete surprise but will be extremely helpful for planning for the next academic year – and for making sense, as early as possible of the new performance measures and how schools compare with the national average.

Headteachers’ Survey

Thank you very much to those who responded to the Headteachers’ Survey at the end of last term. Unfortunately we had a much lower response rate than the previous year – 15 responses compared to 50 in 2015.  There were some useful comments but in order to undertake a meaningful analysis we need some more responses.  I am therefore re-opening the consultation until 15 July and would encourage any headteachers who have not yet responded to let us know their views.  Please follow this link: https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/childrens-services/6ae2a31d

Primary Headteacher Meeting

I was pleased to see such an excellent turnout for the Primary Headteacher Meeting on Friday 17 June. There were so many primary achievements to celebrate and the proportion of primary schools achieving Ofsted judgements of good or outstanding in East Sussex is now 86% (as at the end of May 2016).  This is a huge increase of 17% over the last two years and East Sussex is now in line with the national average. I am very excited to see where we will be by the end of the academic year as the good results keep coming.

It was a great opportunity to hear from Martin Kaliszewski about the new RAISEonline reports for Assessment Without Levels and I know from feedback that the session on Wellbeing & Vitality from Dr John Simmons was well received.  I believe a number of colleague heads have already been in touch to say they want to explore this further in their schools and EIPs .

An inspection of SEND in East Sussex

In May 2016, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission started their inspections into how local areas meet the needs of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and/or Disability (SEND). The inspection could happen at any time and will assess:

  • how well the needs of children with SEND are identified.
  • if the needs of these children and young people are met; and
  • if their chances of participating fully in society are improved as a result

It is important that schools, early years settings and post-16 colleges are aware of the content of the inspection framework so that you will be prepared for any requests during the inspection week.

When Ofsted undertake their inspection for SEND and visit schools, they will model their approach on the SEND reforms with children and families at the heart of practice and provision. Therefore Ofsted will:

  • Talk to children with SEND, both with and without a Statement/EHCP first;
  • Secondly talk to the families of children with SEND
  • Talk to key staff e.g. (SENCO and senior leaders) to look at how needs are identified early;
  • Looking at children’s files to see how well their needs are planned for;
  • Establishing how well children’s needs are met and what the outcomes are.  Inspectors will not undertake any observations of teaching and learning, or service delivery, but the focus will be on how well systems are in place to ensure that children with SEND make accelerated progress and achieve positive outcomes. For more information please contact Bill Parsons, East Sussex County Council who is co-ordinating the inspection preparations – bill.parsons@eastsussex.gov.uk


I am pleased to say that Graham Pirt has recently joined us to provide interim leadership capacity alongside Joanne McLaughlan. Graham is an experienced professional who has successfully fulfilled similar roles in other local authorities, most recently in Warwickshire, and also worked for a number of years as an Ofsted inspector.  He will bring a wealth of experience to the role and provide us with the additional capacity that we need during this period of change for our service and our schools.

May 2016

As we approach the end of term I just wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge that it is that time of year when our children and young people are going through what can be a very anxious and stressful time as they undertake their exams and tests. It is also an anxious time for their teachers, headteachers, parents/carers and all those who are supporting them through this time. I hope that all can take the opportunity not only to rest over the spring break but for those who will be coming back for the final hurdle of exams to use the time to revise and prepare. Good luck to everyone and I wish you all the very best of success.

At the Local Authority we are looking further ahead on how we can support you over the coming academic years.   We held a successful conference on 26 April which provided the opportunity for schools to hear about key elements of the white paper from the Regional Schools Commissioner and Director of Children’s Services.

Exploring School Partnership Models: Multi-Academy Trusts and Federations Conference

Conference Delegates

Following the publication of the Government’s White Paper “Educational Excellence Everywhere”, the Council, working in collaboration with Achieving for Children, hosted an event for headteachers and governors. They were able to hear from Dominic Herrington, the Regional Schools CommissDH - 1ioner, Stuart Gallimore, Director of Children’s Services, Ann Holt, Director of Education at the Diocese of Chichester and a headteacher and chair of governors from outside East Sussex who  explained their experience of establishing a MAT.

I was really pleased that the event, held on 26 April at the East Sussex National Golf Club, was packed with representatives from schools from all over the county. The presentations were interesting and the question and answer session particularly lively. One of the things that was apparent is that, while much of the detail is not yet known, change is coming. This remains the case even though the Government has now responded to feedback and dropped plans to legislate for compulsory academisation as, at the same time, it reaffirmed its continued determination to see all schools become academies in the next 6 years.

One of the key messages that, I hope, came through is that East Sussex County Council, as set out in our strategy, “Excellence for All”, retains its commitment to ensuring an excellent education for all children and young people in the county. Irrespective of academy status, we want to work collaboraConference - SGtively with all providers to build capacity for system leadership and to create sustainable, formal partnerships between schools, colleges and settings so that they are prepared for the future, whatever it brings.

While acknowledging there is still a lot of uncertainty about the detail of the local authority’s future role, Stuart Gallimore also asked schools to let us know if they had an interest in the LA considering the formation of a Multi-Academy Trust itself (legislation permitting) or in it playing an active role in brokering the development of MATs by schools and supporting schools to find the right MAT for them. In order to facilitate this feedback, we have included some questions in the headteachers’ and governors surveys which are live until 7 June.   If you are a headteacher or governor and have not already responded, you can find the surveys by following these links:

Governors’ Survey:  https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/childrens-services/7f7ef637

Headteachers’ Survey: https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/childrens-services/6ae2a31d

Attendance and why it is important

I am sure that like myself you will be eager to see the DfE’s response to the recent High Court ruling relating to the case of a parent who took their child out of school to go on a family holiday.  There is no doubt that there are exceptional circumstances where authorised absence may be given during school time.  However, there is also no doubt that non-attendance at school is disruptive to children’s education, can have a detrimental impact on attainment and a lasting effect on future life chances.  The key question asked in this case is ‘what constitutes regular attendance’, with figures of 90%+ quoted as acceptable.  In reality any prescription around a definition is problematic and must always take into account the individual circumstances of each case.  The picture for absence in East Sussex continues to be challenging and East Sussex continues to perform poorly against our statistical neighbours and national figure.  Therefore, until the Government publishes its response to this latest ruling, we continue to reiterate our message that every day in school counts, as our duty is to ensure that all children in East Sussex receive the education they ae entitled to and achieve the very best of their potential.

April 2016

Dear All,

Welcome back after the Easter break. I hope you had a relaxing time and feel refreshed for the term ahead.  This is a really important term for all our schools, when they will see the outcomes of all their efforts coming to fruition as our children and young people undertake their final preparations for their SATS, GCSE’s A-levels, BTECS. I would like to thank all schools who provided the opportunity for pupils to participate in revision sessions during the Easter holidays and, on behalf of my colleagues, wish all our pupils every success in achieving the very best they are capable of in their forthcoming exams. I know the importance and benefit educational achievement offers towards achieving aspirations and future ambitions.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all schools who provided the opportunity for pupils to attend extra revision sessions during the holidays and also thanks to schools who accompanied pupils on trips and provided activities and clubs over Easter.

National Funding Formula

As you know the government are seeking views on proposals to introduce a national funding formula for schools with the aim of delivering a ‘fair, transparent funding system where the amount of funding children attract for their schools is based on need and is consistent across the country’. May I thank all who have contributed to the return we are making to the DfE. The first of two planned consultations ended on 17 April. The DfE will publish the results of the consultation and their response on GOV.UK later this year.

The DfE are also consulting on proposals to introduce a high needs formula for children and young people with special educational needs. That consultation, available here, is also been carried out in two parts.

East Sussex school talks to Tim Peake  Tim Peake

I was delighted to hear that St Richard’s Catholic College were successful in being given the opportunity to make an ARISS contact with Tim Peake on board the International Space Station on Monday 18 April! In addition to making the radio call the school also held a STEM Space conference on site with hands on activities and an immersive inflatable planetarium. What an amazing experience for the staff and pupils which is truly captured by comments made by students when asked how speaking to Tim Peake made them feel.

Andrew Phillipsan amazing experience I will never forget. Speaking to someone in space is such a surreal experience – it was absolutely fantastic’.

Luigi Salas ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity, one for the history books – in our school! – and 10/10 – I want to do it again’!

Ben Green ‘I feel very privileged to be one of a few who got to talk to Tim. The event was amazing and it’ll be one that I remember for the rest of my life.


As one of only ten schools in the county it is a truly rare moment that will stay with those involved for the rest of their lives and for some will be that moment of inspiration where they realise the direction they would like their life to take.

Moving on and welcome

It is with sadness that we will be saying goodbye to Richard Sutton-Smith who has been working with us as a Head of Service. Richard has taken the opportunity to return to work in a school and will be taking up the position of Head at Sir Henry Fermor CE Primary School and we wish Richard well in his new role. Our loss will be their gain and I know that the school will continue to grow and develop under his inspirational leadership.

I am though, pleased to say that Joanne McLaughlan has started with us recently to provide interim leadership support. Joanne is a very experienced primary school improvement professional bringing with her a wealth of experience gained through senior leadership her work with Local Authorities. Joanne will be with us three days per week and the focus of her work will be with our primary schools; she is very much looking forward to meeting you either at your schools or at events, such as the headteachers’ meetings planned over the next few months.

Best wishes


March 2016

OfSTED Inspection

Local Authority arrangements to suppot school improvement

For me, the publication of the Ofsted report on the Local Authority’s arrangements to support school improvement was a cause for celebration and a great way to begin 2016. It was reassuring to know that Ofsted endorses our strategy and that we are on the right path as we all work together to improve outcomes for children and young people in East Sussex.  As you will recognise, we just bid farewell to one inspection and the next ones appear over the horizon. Many of you will be aware that, from 1st May 2016, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will be undertaking Local Area Inspections on the implementation of the Children and Families Act 2014, with a specific focus on SEND. These inspections will look at how Heath, Social Care and Education services are delivering the new reforms and improving outcomes for children with additional and special educational needs. The inspection framework has not been published yet but officers across the County are making contact with local authorities where pilot inspections have been carried out to learn from their experience and begin preparations. A key issue which is emerging for schools and service providers is engagement with parents, children and young people – understandable, as this was the ambition of the reforms. Although the inspection won’t be just about what schools or the council are doing, we will play a key role in the process. As soon as the framework is published, we will be sure to engage with you to discuss the next steps.

And another …. we are expecting an Ofsted inspection of our School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) programme in the near future. This type of inspection takes place over two weeks in two phases. The first week is based within the Local Authority and during this phase Ofsted meets a range of people including trainees, trainers on the programme, mentors, phase leaders and managers, members of the strategic partnership committee, the provider’s representative, phase leaders and managers (LA personnel). The second week takes place in the following academic year where the focus will be on the trainees who were on the SCITT programme and who are NQTs. This provision is currently Ofsted outstanding and we are keen to retain this judgement as the service makes a significant contribution to teacher recruitment.

Excellence for All

I am pleased to say that following a period of consultation our revised and updated improvement strategy Excellence for All, has now been published and is available on our website here. As with our first strategy we continue to set ourselves ambitious goals to achieve our overarching ambition to create a truly excellent and inclusive education system for the children and young people of East Sussex. We believe that by setting ourselves high aspirations we can ensure that we give our children and young people the opportunity to achieve their maximum potential. On behalf of my colleagues I would like to thank all who have taken the time to participate in the consultation process and we are looking very much forward to working with all our partners towards achieving our goals.

School Visits

West Rise Junior March 16Councillor Nick Bennett, Lead Member for Education and Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability, Stuart Gallimore, Director of Children’s Services and I have had the pleasure of visiting some of our schools since the start of this academic year. It is our aim to visit all schools within the County over the next two years. All our schools provide unique learning environments for our children and young people and visiting our schools provides us with the opportunity to see more about practices at ground level. This is a fundamental part of helping us to know our schools well and understand the challenges they face. In particular I must mention my visit to West Rise Junior School where I had a unique experience – my first ride on a quad bike and an opportunity to explore the fabulous marshlands. Indeed Mike Fairclough, Headteacher, is keen for other schools to visit the school to experience for themselves the amazing learning environment he believes is integral to the creative educational experience provided for pupils who attend there. I am sure Mike would be more than happy to arrange a tour.

On behalf of Stuart and Nick I would like to take this opportunity to thank the headteachers, staff and pupils of the schools we have so far visited for making us feel very welcome. We are looking forward to continuing our visits and will be in touch in due course to arrange a date. If any school would like to arrange a visit sooner rather than later please contact my office directly.

Successes and Achievements

We all recognise that school governors form the largest volunteer force in the country and I would like to thank all who give up their time to support our schools. I am sure that many of you know Ken Saxby, Chair of the East Sussex Governors Representative Group (ESGRG) and governor at Stone Cross Primary, Park Mead Primary and Hankham Primary schools. After spending many years dedicated to improving the outcomes for children in East Sussex through his governorship roles Ken has taken the decision to resign not only from his role as Chair of the ESGRG but as a school governor. His determination, relentless drive and commitment as a governor has been invaluable and I know that you will all join me in wishing Ken every success for the future.

It gives me great pleasure to also extend congratulations to

  • Robsack Wood Primary Academy and Manor Primary School who have both won a local award in the Key Stage 2 category of the Pupil Premium Awards 2016.
  • The Lindfield School who were judged by Ofsted to be an Outstanding school in their recent Ofsted Inspection.
  • Parkland Infants School who secured a judgement as a Good School.
  • Mayfield CE Primary School who are one of our first schools to have a short inspection and who successfully maintained their judgement as a good school from its previous inspection.

I feel it is very important to celebrate our achievements and successes. It helps us not only to recognise what works well and identify what we can take from them to inspire us to achieve our goals and ambitions. I am sure that many of you have lots to celebrate and I would encourage all schools who have received recognition for any achievements to let me know so that we can share them with the rest of the school community.

With every good wish,


December 2015

Dear All,

I am, like many of you looking forward to the Christmas break. It has been a very busy, and at times challenging, few months since the start of the academic year. Not only has it been business as usual but we have had our long awaited Ofsted inspection of the Local Authorities arrangements to support school improvement. When I entered the world of blogging in October my intention was to blog on a monthly basis. I am sorry that I have not managed to achieve this and my New Year’s Resolution is to start again in January.

I wanted though to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all the hard work you have done over the last year as we work together to secure improvements for our schools and our children and young people. We all know that success in our settings and schools relies on teamwork therefore it is important that we acknowledge not only the work of our front line staff but also the work carried out behind the scenes, whether it is by those who work in the office, in the dining hall, playground or extended provision. I know that we are all working together to, not only ensure that our children and young people believe they can achieve, but are given the opportunities and are inspired to reach their full potential.

I look forward to continuing to work with you in the New Year to ensure we achieve our ambitions for our schools. In the meantime I wish you all a very happy, peaceful and relaxing Christmas break and a happy New Year.


September 2015



Hello and welcome to the first edition of my blog. I am Fiona Wright, one of the Assistant Directors for Children’s Services in East Sussex. In my role I have responsibility for Education and Inclusion, Special Educational Needs and Disability (ISEND).

My purpose in starting a blog is to share some of the highlights for Education and ISEND and to give a flavour of education in East Sussex, especially how the local authority, schools and other providers work together in partnership. I am planning to blog on a monthly basis timed, where possible, to coincide with key points in the academic year. My thinking is that my blog will sit alongside, enhancing and complementing in a less informal way, other Local Authority channels of communication such as the Virtual School Bag (VSB), the Focus Message, key meetings with heads. I hope also that it will provide an opportunity to become a forum for sharing good news about our schools such as recognition achieved for good and outstanding practices not only locally but at a national level.

I hope you enjoy reading it and find it both interesting and useful.   I am always keen to hear any feedback or ideas that you may have on what you would like to see included in my blog. If you have any successes or achievements you would like shared with the wider community please send these to me c/o Catherine Denyer (catherine.denyer@eastsussex.gov.uk). It is my intention to pilot this approach and will review with you how well it has worked at the end of the academic year.

September 2015

SG CllrB FW DSCF1683First and foremost, on behalf of Stuart Gallimore, Director of Children’s Services and Councillor Bennett, Lead Member for Learning and School Effectiveness, I would like to welcome you back to a new academic year from what I hope has been a relaxing and enjoyable summer break.

I would also like to extend, on behalf of the Council, a welcome to all new members of staff in our schools.  I am sure you will all join me in wishing the following new headteachers, acting headteachers and experienced headteachers appointed to new schools much success in their new roles. We look forward to meeting you and working with during the year ahead.

Sally Forbes, Acting Headteacher, All Saints CE Primary, Bexhill
Kate Owbridge, Headteacher, Ashdown Primary School Infants and Junior Schools
Steven Miles, Acting Headteacher, Castledown Community Primary & Nursery School
Sarah Massheder, Headteacher, Cross in Hand CE Primary
Alison Flynn, Executive Headteacher, Frant CE Primary School & Mark Cross CE Primary School Nathan Cline, Headteacher, Guestling-Bradshaw CE Primary School
Gil Sweentenham, Executive Headteacher, Hamsey and Plumpton Primary Schools
Sarah Curtis, Executive Headteacher, Nutley CE Primary and Mayfield CE Primary School
Sandra Denton, Acting Headteacher, Ocklynge Junior School
Katherine Bishop, Headteacher, Rotherfield Primary
Amanda Stewart, Headteacher, Roselands Infant School and Stafford Junior School
Emma Maltby, Acting Headteacher, St Mary the Virgin CE Primary School
Michelle Lord, Acting Headteacher, St Pancras Catholic Primary
Rachel Green, Sir Henry Fermor CE Primary School
Matthew Jarvis, Headteacher, Westfield School
Helen Smith, Headteacher, Wivelsfield Primary School

Anna Robinson, Beacon Academy
Peter Marchant, Cavendish School Academy Trust
Caroline Barlow, Heathfield Community College
Doug Downs, Robertsbridge Community College

Mike Hopkins, Principal, Sussex Downs College

At the same time I am delighted to welcome to ESCC

Ceris Edwards who has joined the Local Authority as the new Principal Educational Psychologist (PEP). Ceris brings with her a wealth of experience from a number of years as Principal Educational Psychologist in Sutton. The PEP role within East Sussex was reconfigured as part of the ISEND restructure which means that Ceris will have dedicated time to lead on key strategic agenda that aim to improve outcomes for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). I know that Ceris is keen get out to schools early on this term and she will be in contact with headteachers directly to arrange meetings.

Richard Sutton-Smith who has been appointed as the new Head of Education Improvement in the Standards and Learning Effectiveness Service of Children’s Services. From September he will be working alongside fellow Heads of Education Improvement, Lesley Wickham and Elizabeth Funge, with a focus on the Primary phase. Richard brings significant experience from his recent role as a primary headteacher in Kent where he led an outstanding school which was the lead in the Claremont Teaching School Alliance. 

Alan Powell  who we are delighted to announce has accepted the Secondary Advisory Headteacher position. Alan brings a lot of experience and will provide a key role in driving forward Education Improvement Partnerships (EIPs) as a key part of our strategy, as well as providing on-going support for secondary improvement.

Emily Taylor who has joined the Local Authority as the new Senior Assessment and Planning Manager, taking over from Ed Harris who is remaining with ISEND in a different capacity. Emily brings with her a wealth of experience from her  career in teaching in a range of diverse roles, including Head of Year, Senior School Leader, SENCO and Inclusion Manager in schools across Essex, gaining extensive experience in processes of safeguarding, school attendance, exclusion, alternative provision and nurture principles. Emily will be contacting heads shortly to introduce herself and arrange meetings.

2015 Exam Results

Over the summer we have received the latest round of key stage exam results. Although these are provisional figures at this stage and may be subject to change I am pleased to be able to say that overall the 2015 provisional results are showing that East Sussex has continued to build on the success of our 2014 results. Improvements have been seen across all key stages. Provisional data collected from schools and settings shows that, yet again, attainment at Foundation Stage, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2 and in Phonics has improved significantly in 2015. We have seen slightly smaller improvement and variations across providers at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5.  A key priority for the forthcoming year will be to accelerate improvement and consisency of good performance across all key stages. I feel that it is important to acknowledge the results that several of our secondary schools are seeing, which include some large gains achieved by St Leonard’s Academy, Ratton School Academy Trust, Robertsbridge Community College, Ringmer Community College, Uckfield Community College, Willingdon Community School and Helenswood Academy for instance.

Congratulations and well done, not only to the pupils and schools whose hard work and dedication over the last year has resulted in these achievements, but also to the parents and carers for their support and encouragement. As a local authority we are committed to engaging with all our schools to build on our successes to ensure our children and young people are well-prepared for the next stage of their education. More detailed information on our results was emailed to schools at the end of August.

Ofsted – one year on

It has been over a year since our school improvement arrangements were inspected by Ofsted in June 2014 and we have worked tirelessly to address the issues raised and to build on the areas of good practice.  I have been delighted that Ofsted inspections since June 2014 have seen the number of schools in the County judged to be good or outstanding rise. By the end of July 2015 79% of East Sussex primary schools were judged good or better, a significant increase of 9% since June 2014, the proportion of secondary schools judged good at their most recent inspections remains significantly above the national average at 82.6% and in special schools the proportion of good or better is 87.5% which is in line with the national average of 91% (each special school is equivalent to 12.5%). I fully understand that the sustained improvements we are seeing in the performance of schools and early years settings are due to the energy and resilience of everyone working in and with schools. I truly appreciate the hard work put in by everyone and, yes, while this is a positive overall story for the county, the real winners are the individual children whose futures are brighter because of the progress they have made under our care. It is knowing this which makes my job specially rewarding and I know that it is what drives all of us to keep striving for excellence.

ISEND Front Door

Following extensive consultation with schools and stakeholders, the ISEND Front Door opened up at the beginning of term 5. To date, we have had over 320 referrals into the Front Door, which aims to co-ordinate the support across all ISEND services and reduce the need for schools to make multiple requests for support.  In delivering this service, we have been able to provide a high level of screening of cases which require involvement from different areas and provide timely responses to schools.  I am delighted that a number of heads and SENCos have volunteered to sit on the multi-disciplinary panel that reviews the most complex cases, which has added to the richness of discussion and robust decision making. We are already seeing the impact of having a co-ordinated referral system in terms of reducing delays in allocating support and ensuring that the right support is provided by the right team.

Personal Outcomes Evaluation Tool (POET)

Children, young people, families and practitioners in East Sussex are being asked to take part in a national pilot looking at the impact of parts of the new special educational needs and disability (SEND) reforms.  The evaluation will be part of the work to measure the difference that the newly introduced Education, Health & Care (EHC) plans and personal budgets have made to the lives of children and young people with SEND .  Any child, parent, carer or practitioner who has experienced the EHC assessment and planning process are encouraged to take part to give their views and share their experiences.  The results from this evaluation will be used to help improve not only what happens locally but also on a national level to influence the implementation of the reforms.  The questionnaires can be completed between 1st September 2015 and end of December 2015.  If you want to know more about the POET evaluation or would like to take part please contact ISENDprojects@eastsussex.gov.uk

Successes and achievements

I feel it is very important to celebrate our achievements and successes and I am aware that all our schools celebrate at a local level the many awards and achievements they and their pupils receive throughout the course of the year. It would not be possible to mention all here but I would like to share a few examples.  Congratulations to

  • Meridian Primary School on their success on achieving recognition at the Argus Education Awards in June as ‘Most Improved School’ and Northiam for being “highly commended” on their incredible journey to turn their school around from Special Measures to Good
  • Chailey School who became the first school in the County to be awarded a national Learning Outside the Classroom (LOtC) Mark (silver)
  • West Rise Junior School, which was awarded the TES 2015 Primary School of the Year
  • Polegate Primary, who won a prize in the Key Stage 2 category of the TES Pupil Premium Awards for being one of the most improved schools in the country in terms of disadvantaged pupils’ attainment and progress

I look forward to hearing and sharing widely more of our schools successes over the forthcoming year. If your school has received recognition for any achievements that you would like to share with the rest of the school community please do let me know.

Apprenticeship campaign exceeds target

Apprentice Article PhotoWe were really pleased that the ‘You’re Hired’ East Sussex campaign to boost apprenticeships has surpassed its target.  The campaign aimed to create 500 apprenticeship opportunities with businesses across the county. It also wanted to find 500 young people who were ready to become an apprentice.  It ran from March till the end of August, and at last count 557 businesses were ready to take on an apprentice – exceeding our target. 30% of these placements have already been filled and more will be recruited to through the coming months. As the largest employer in East Sussex, the Council is leading by example, and a number of the placements are working in roles that deliver key services to our residents.

As part of our priority to drive economic growth, we’ve been promoting apprenticeships to businesses and would-be apprentices. Taking on an apprentice supports businesses to grow a confident and skilled workforce, and helps young people to get into work and gain qualifications up to a degree level while earning.  We will continue to invest in local apprenticeships, and as part of our own apprenticeship programme we will help to get young people ‘work ready’ through our in house pre-apprenticeship module and work experience at the Council. Following their preparation they will be able to apply for an apprenticeship with one of our teams where they will be supported by both professional and peer mentors.

There is apprenticeship training available in positions such as teaching assistant, business admin, finance support, lab technician, ICT technician, caretaker and childcare/early years. For more information, contact caroline.bragg@eastsussex.gov.uk.

UCAS Progress

We are excited to be launching UCAS Progress Search & Apply in schools, sixth forms and colleges. SLES have invested in the online system for the next 3 years, as part of delivering our statutory responsibility to promote education and training opportunities to young people post-16. Once the on-line application function is embedded we believe it will offer significant benefits.  Learners will only have to complete one application form for multiple courses at different providers. The ease of monitoring and tracking applications also has the potential to improve retention and joint working between schools and FE colleges, supporting our Intended Destinations and September Guarantee processes.

We have been working closely with all schools to encourage and support them to use UCAS Progress for all college applications going forward, and sixth forms and colleges are attending training in September to ensure they are ready for students to start searching and applying for courses from 1st October.  If you would like any further information about UCAS Progress Search & Apply, please contact caroline.bragg@eastsussex.gov.uk.

Changes to Ofsted Inspections from September 2015

Ofsted have proposed significant changes to the Ofsted framework which come into effect from September 2015. Details of the new Ofsted inspection framework including the new inspection documents, can be found on the Ofsted website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/changes-to-education-inspection-from-september-2015

I thought it might be helpful to provide a summary of the main changes

        • The introduction of a new Common Inspection Framework (CIF) designed to cover all the education services inspected by Ofsted including registered early years settings, maintained schools, academies, non-association independent schools and further education (FE) and skills providers. In practice this will mean that all settings will receive graded judgements in the following areas
          –       Overall effectiveness
          –       Effectiveness of leadership and management
          –       Quality of teaching, learning and assessment
          –       Personal development, behaviour and welfare
          –       Outcomes for children and learners
          –       The effectiveness of early years and sixth form provision, where applicable
  • Outstanding schools will continue to be exempt from routine inspection, but Ofsted will retain the power to inspect if performance drops or other concerns are raised. The exemption from routine inspection does not apply to ‘outstanding’ special schools, PRUs and maintained nursery schools. However, under the new CIF, these settings will have the short inspection if they have been rated ‘outstanding’ or ‘good’.
  • There will be short inspections, approximately every three years, for schools (one day) and further education and skills providers (two days) judged ‘good’ at their most recent inspection. This will either confirm the judgement of good or, if during the visit, HMI believes there is insufficient evidence for confirming the good judgement or that there is evidence to consider an outstanding judgement, they can request it is converted into a Section 5 inspection
  • There will be an increased focus on the quality of leadership. Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI), praised the work of outstanding leaders and stressed that inspectors would be focussing on leadership to determine if the leadership team, including governors, has the capacity to not only maintain existing standards but to further improve them. He also said that Ofsted would be reporting to the Secretary of State on this and including the names of outstanding education leaders in their annual report.

For Ofsted’s summary of the changes, click on the link: