15.11.23 - Message from the Director of Education

For all Schools

Dear Headteacher/Principal,

I hope this message finds you well as the dark nights continue to draw in – and we witness the departure of Nick Gibb who was Schools Minister on and off for 10 years to be replaced by Damian Hinds, the 6th person to hold this role within the last 18 months. Despite ministerial changes, there is much going on in education such as the extension of childcare for 0-2 years, the further development of wraparound care and also in SEND, the Change Partnership Programme and Delivering Better Value.

i) Technology for SEND with APPLE at APPLE  on 16th January - Apple are offering a day’s event at their headquarters at what was Battersea Power Station solely for Enfield Headteachers and/or senior staff. This is part of Enfield’s Delivering Better Value Programme and please see programme for the day attached. There are just 30 places available with the purpose of the day to understand what is available in a technology/AI way to better support children and young people with SEND. The application process is on the invitation and I hope you will be able to join this exciting event.

ii) Ofsted Outcomes and Enfield in the top 20– Congratulation to Fleecefield Primary School and Antoinette and her staff – the school has lost its RI rating and is now judged as being good by Ofsted with outstanding for behaviour and attitudes. And also to co-headteachers Sarah and Adrienne and the school community  at Carterhatch Infants Schools which continues to be judged a good school. These and previous Ofsted judgements puts Enfield Schools in the top 20 in the country and higher than both the inner and outer London averages which is considerable achievement and reflects so well on the leadership and staff in our schools.

iii) Headteacher SEND Conference 10th November – This took place last Friday at Highlands School and was attended by over 80 headteachers and other colleagues. Feedback so far has been excellent with inputs from the DfE, a senior education solicitor, LA representatives and good practice contributions from schools in the afternoon. Outcomes will be discussed with the Headteacher SEND reference group – this is likely to become an annual event particularly as SEND matters are so high on school agendas.

iv) Digital Switchover  - Please find attached a letter from the GLA Digital Officer concerning the digital switchover which will impact schools in the near future. I have been asked to circulate this for your information.

v) Smoking/Vaping -  The Government has opened a consultation on creating a smoke-free generation and reducing youth vaping.  The proposed smoke-free generation legislation will raise the age at which someone can buy tobacco by a year every year, effectively meaning that anyone aged 14 today will never be able to legally buy tobacco.  If you would like to comment on these proposals please following this link: https://consultations.dhsc.gov.uk/en/65201ed1f3410a69990d3081  The Consultation ends on 6th December 2023.

vi) Reading Conference at Forty Hall – 23rd January  - It is proposed to have a focused good practice conference on the morning of 23rd January at Forty Hall. As has been identified previously, reading outcomes could be better across the borough but clearly outcomes and practice will vary considerably from school to school. The intention is to look at what is working successfully. As you are probably aware, there is also a concern about the amount that children read perhaps due to the range of other options or distractions apart from reading.

I hope you have found time to enjoy the fireworks celebrations for Guy Fawkes night or perhaps Diwali. For me, it has been a time for planting tulip. daffodil and  iris bulbs on the allotment which is hard work but worth it for the spring. I hope the term continues to go well for you even if you are very busy – as we all are. The local authority has just had another inspection – this time on its Youth Justice provision with inspectors on site for the whole of last week! The judgement will be known in a few weeks’ time but many staff are pretty exhausted after this as you can imagine!

Best wishes

Peter Nathan