Do You Live With An Ogre Too?!!!!!


Dressed up as an ogre and IN NO WAY resembling her mum - not even remotely!!!
Dressed up as an ogre and IN NO WAY resembling her mum – not even remotely!!!

It was World Book Day last Thursday. A number of schools will have been taking part. It’s a great way to promote books and reading with children – though if some are like my daughter they are more interested in the dressing up as a character than in reading about them! My girl went to school as Fiona, the ogre’s wife in Shrek! When she told us that this was what she wanted to dress up as, I started to say out loud that she’d got the idea from her mother but as I got to about half way through the sentence, I got a look that made me decide to finish the sentence at “Did you get that idea from your……………………………..ahem”!!!!

We are big fans of Shrek in our house – musical and films! My daughter loves the characters, my partner thinks its funny and I’m impressed that Shrek talks in a Glasgow accent and they use music from The Proclaimers in the film!!!! (Parochial never sleeps for me!)

School Visits

One of the best bits of my job is the chance to get into schools. At the moment I’m in Camden Juniors and Carew Manor much more than in other schools as these are both currently in OfSTED categories so they are our priorities. However in the last couple of weeks I’ve been fortunate enough to get the chance to visit 3 more. At Amy Johnson I got to see round the school, the Children’s Centre ( which had a really busy, vibrant feel), meet a number of kids in classes ( including a couple of Reception pupils who had that great combination of innocence and absolute self-belief!) and talk about the school’s progress and plans for the future with their wonderfully passionate Headteacher. I also went to both Cheam Park Farm Juniors and to High View Primary accompanied by Councillor Mathys as part of our engagement between members and schools. Both schools were great – Cheam Park Farm has a wonderful atmosphere throughout and I can pay it no higher compliment than to say I saw lots of things there that, if I was still a Headteacher, I’d shamelessly copy and pass off as my own ideas! High View was equally impressive, again with a terrific ethos and I liked their varied use of ICT in classrooms and around their schools. In the next few months I’ve more visits to schools, sometimes accompanied by elected members and sometimes by the Chief Executive. What helps enormously on these visits are the really accurate and sharp briefing notes I get about the schools from the Advisory and Inspection staff beforehand – it ensures I have all the key information about context, standards and progress. The down side of course is that they are so comprehensive, if I end up asking a Headteacher a stupid question I’ve nobody to blame but myself!

Staff Briefings

The first two of my briefings with staff have now taken place – if between now and the third session, you hear that it was wonderful – every word is true! If however, you hear that you have to do things or that it was awful – don’t believe a word!!! The first two sessions were good for me and no doubt I will learn about what works (and what doesn’t!) in the months ahead but I’m grateful to those who came along to the session last week and the week before, and to those who’ve found the time to commit to attend the third and final session for this term on Tuesday.

Staffing Changes

There have been a couple of new appointments in our service. Sharon Douglas has now become YOT Manager, filling the vacancy created by Claudette’s appointment as Head of Service and Jenny Wood has started as the Education Officer in the MASH unit ( and I still find that every time I write or say ‘MASH’ I get an image of ‘Hot Lips Hoolihan’ and ‘Radar’ in my head!!!!) 

Corporate Induction

I was on the Corporate Induction Day a couple of weeks ago. It was informative and I enjoyed the ‘tour of Sutton’ -even if I probably remembered the wrong facts ( I came away recalling that Harry Secombe and Cliff Richard lived here and that Ann Boleyn’s horse did something  or other in Carshalton!!!!!). Best bit was seeing so many apprentices on the Induction, working in all parts of the Council, even though it made me feel a bit old!!!! I was in the same group as Georgia, our apprentice at Sutton Family Centre – I tried not to be an embarrassment to her – not sure if I managed it though!!!

Portfolio Holder Meetings

The Director, other exec Heads and I meet regularly with the Lead Members for Children’s Services, Councillor Callaghan and Councillor Mathys. When we met last week I was able to update them with the progress in developing a “middle tier” arrangement with our Primary Schools, the progress in those schools where we have prioritised our support, and update them on OfSTED’s proposals for a new Inspection Framework which will look at the quality of Local Authority School Improvement provision.

Children Families and Education Committee

The committee met last week. We had a paper in summarising school performance in Sutton. Members recognised the success of Sutton schools overall but equally they supported our priority focus on continuing to accelerate the progress and attainment of pupils who are more vulnerable within our community. As a result of questions we’ve been asked to provide a detailed briefing on the middle tier development. There was also an update on the Post-OfSTED Improvement Plan. Much of the questioning focused on two aspects, early intervention capacity and the Virtual School. Members and questions probed at how the changing population number and profile in Sutton might imact on capacity for early intervention and on how the Virtual School for Looked After Children will work in future. We’ll be providing a detailed briefing to members on the Virtual School.

Budget for 12-13

The Heads of Service and I met with Finance yesterday to look at projected budget outturn position for the end of the current financial year. In view of the challenges of savings, especially those neeeded in-year, our budget position is sound as we approach the end of the year. We have identifed further ways to both standarise the approach to budget managing and monitoring across our division and to make budget management even more effective. We’ll share the changes we will make to this with the budget managers first, and then with everybody in the division, in the next few weeks.

Children’s Centres

Jackie, Anita, Nia and I met with Children’s Centres Managers on Monday .  We congratulated them on recent results in OFSTED inspections which have been very positive. We still have an issue with getting some data from our partners in Health and we summarised what we are doing to improve this.  There were discussions around the Children’s Services re-design where the successes of our locality Children’s Centres will be built on, with a view to creating a central hub of services based within our communities that will support our vulnerable families.  The pilot for this innovative initiative will begin in September 2013 and is very likely to be based at the Tweeddale site for a variety of practical and logistical reasons, to be rolled out the following September. 

One wonderful, though irrelevant bit of feedback was that Emma, the Children’s Centre Manager at Tweeddale had tried ny music tip “Night Beds” – and liked it! So that increases their fan base to…. at least two!

Children’s Services Redesign

Discussions continue around the services best suited to this locality based service delivery model.  As well as providing more refined support for our vulnerable families the other main driver behind these changes is the knowledge that we as a council face further reductions in government grants and need to be best placed to react to this.   The three Heads of Service in our division are meeting with all of the other HoS next week to begin to work up more detail about the services which we think might be provided in the future through locality working. At the same time we will also start to identify those parts of our services that may well be better provided by being retained as a centrally organised service.

Sutton On The BBC

In case you missed it, there was a focus on the work of Carshalton Boys School as part of the recent “Countryfile” programme which was co-hosted by Price Charles. If you’d like to watch it, it’s below. (It starts at around 25:10)

Sign Up

Please continue to sign up to the blog to get it e-mailed to you directly, if you want to follow on Twitter I’m on @EdnEarl and please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. You can leave comments about anything   – but if you have the time I’d be particularly interested in your feedback about the briefings (what worked, what didn’t, what might improve it) and feedback on further ideas we might consider in addressing the issues raised by the recent Staff Survey

And Finally…………….

Here is another Dilbert strip….purely for your amusement (well at least I hope it’ll be for your amusement)

Dilbert 1

And Finally, And Finally……………

On Monday morning I was due to meet Jackie McCarthy at 8:30 in Wallington. As you know I come from miles away – darkest Essex. So I was in a hurry. I got dressed quick and in semi-darkness. As soon as I left home and all the way in my right foot felt funny. First chance I got after our meeting I checked – to discover that while I had a sock on my left foot, on my right I’d somehow contrived to arrive wearing a little woollen glove puppet belonging to the dog (which he chews!!!!!) Next stop was MandS!


One thought on “Do You Live With An Ogre Too?!!!!!”

  1. Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) (Just read…nothing to do with any of the above, but then again it could be?)
    Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’97, Wear sunscreen!

    If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now…

    Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; Oh never mind, you will never understand the power and the beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in twenty years, you will look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now, how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

    You are not as fat as you imagine.

    Don’t worry about the future or worry that know that worrying is as affective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.

    The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindsides you at 4 PM on some idle Tuesday.

    Do one thing every day that scares you.


    Don’t be reckless with other peoples’ hearts; don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


    Don’t waste your time on jealousy, sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

    Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

    Keep your old love letters; Throw away your old bank statements.


    Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

    Get plenty of calcium.

    Be kind to knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

    Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t.

    Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t.

    Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the “Funky Chicken” on your 75th wedding anniversary.

    Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either.

    Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

    Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can, don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

    Dance. Even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room.

    Read the directions even if you don’t follow them.

    Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

    Brother and sister together will make it through,
    Some day a spirit will take you and guide you there,
    I know you’ve been hurting, but I’ve been waiting to be there for you
    And I’ll be there just helping you out, whenever I ca-a-an


    Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good.

    Be nice to your siblings. They are your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

    Understand that friends come and go. But a precious few, who should hold on.

    Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, for as the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

    Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

    Live in northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


    Accept certain alible truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old and when you do, you’ll fanaticise that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

    Respect your elders.

    Don’t expect anyone else to support you.

    Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse but you’ll never know when either one will run out.

    Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re forty, it will look eighty-five.

    Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it.

    Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of wishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling for more than it’s worth. But trust me on the sunscreen.

    Everybody’s Free, oh yeah, to feel good, ohhhhh, to feel good.


    ■ — nice collection for further reading

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