…………….As you know I was away for a short weekend break last weekend and so sent weekly updates for both last week and this week. Once we’d worked out as a family what the name of the city ACTUALLY was and the country it was ACTUALLY in, we got there and really enjoyed it.

On the Monday night flight back though we had a slightly hairy flight back into Gatwick thanks to storm Ingrid. However our huge sighs of relief at getting on terra firma in one piece sounded hollow when we got caught in the traffic chaos caused by the closure of Dartford Bridge. Easyjet managed to get us from Copenhagen to London through the storm in 2 hours. Alas it the Highways Agency then needed 5 and a half hours to get us the 40-odd miles left from Gatwick to Essex!
So my apologies to those of you who had to suffer me even more bleary-eyed than usual on Tuesday morning!!
William and I have now started the first series of three briefings for staff who are affected by the proposed Education Spin Out. We had one on Tuesday at Grove and another at Chaucer on Thursday and a number of staff have sent me queries as additional follow ups.
It’s been good to get feedback on the early details we’re giving and on the overall feel for individuals. We know that whatever part of the division you work in right now things are difficult and there’s still inevitable uncertainty about the future. We will try to manage that as well as we can and in part William will be providing weekly updates in the Google community for our division so as I said to those at briefings if you’ve not yet signed up I’d encourage you to do so. We have also briefed union representatives this week so that they have the same initial heads up on the proposal should you want to raise any aspects of it with them.
As part of wider briefings on the emerging proposals William also briefed the Forum of Sutton Governors last week.
At the most recent Forum meeting they reviewed the DSG budget position, especially the current over spends on SEN and alternative provision within the High Needs part of the budget where demand and costs have risen. They also agreed to proposed consultations in three areas – we will be consulting on: a proposal to reduce the number of places we commission for pupils with Moderate Learning Difficulties  in Primary School bases; a proposal to reduce the number of places we commission for secondary age pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder at Glenthorne High; and a proposal to discontinue DSG funding to our Learning Support Service within our Inclusion Support Services. The meeting also agreed to continue DSG funding to our other Inclusion Support Services, and to introduce a de-delegated funding arrangement for the work Mick Bradshaw does on educational visit risk oversight.
I change trains most morning at Oxford Circus. Couple of weeks back I got off Central Line and started to walk for connecting passageway to the Victoria Line. A young woman crossed in front of me to get on the train I’d just got off. She’d a bag on her back with an umbrella in it. As we crossed the strap of umbrella got caught in the button of my coat which pulled the umbrella off her back! What are the chances?!!!! I quickly unhooked it from my button and got on the train to give it back to her and the doors shut behind me. She was so apologetic that I didn’t mind the slight detour and reassured her that it would take me 5 mins to get off at Pimlico and go back to Oxford Circus.
Five minutes later I got off at Pimlico – to hear that in that 5 mins there had been a signal fault at Victoria and there were no trains back!!!!!! I had to go to Stockwell, then to Morden and then get a bus back to Sutton. It took forever! Next time I’ll just keep the umbrella!!!!!
Our Education Business Partnership ran this in conjunction with colleagues and businesses last week. I happened to catch up with the staff involved the following day and it was clear the event had been a real success with positive feedback from those involved. 95% of all the young people attending said that the event had really helped them think about next steps when they leave school and from the employers perspective 98% of them said they would definitely support the event in future years with comments like “a good space to meet local people and businesses” and “good to see big interest in apprenticeships”
We have been finalising details on several reports which will be published to elected members next week. We’ve been through them with the Lead Member this week and have redrafted where it was needed. The reports from us will be on Education Spin Out, Youth and Adolescent Services Redesign, Children’s Centres, School Attainment and a Proposal to Merge Alternative Provisions at Limes College and Sutton Tuition and Reintegration Service.
I’ve been working with colleagues in corporate performance service to review and revise our divisions key metrics for performance reporting to CMT and members. I’ve tried to ensure we address priorities, focus where possible on quality and impact rather than volume or demand, and try to get some breadth in to our PIs which covers at least some of the range of services in our division. The final version of the indicators for our division will be sent to you all for info once they are adopted and agreed.
Following on from our exchange of love poetry preferences in our Google Community page for EdnEarl, I thought I would try to advise/indoctrinate you further by sharing my favourite indie love song – I do this in part as I want to know what you think and in part because I can’t wait to hear what Louise in the Adolescent Service tells us is the ‘go to’ love song among her fellow followers of what I call ‘goth heavy metal!’ This is Mac DeMarco’s ‘Still Together’
I was asked to go talk to Sutton’s School Business Managers last week about changes within Council to services and funding arrangements. The pictures on both Council funding and DSG funding are pretty challenging at the moment so by the time I’d concluded they were clearly delighted to see me leave the room and they then welcomed June and her colleagues from Governor Services who followed me with a sense of relief that was so evident it seemed you could reach out and touch it!!!
We are working with an external public sector specialist group, iMPower, to look at both recruitment and retention and at transformation of safeguarding service provision. They completed much of the initial information gathering through interviews with people like Tolis, Chief Exec, members and so on. We had first workshop involving Exec Heads and Heads of Service in our division and in Safeguarding to look at next steps in a landscape of considering structural options, challenges and objectives. They will now do some further information gathering before a second workshop with us in March.
We had the LSCB Board meeting this week. Among the reports was our update on Early Help where we advised the board of steps to fund and recruit a new Early Help co-ordinator, the revisions to assessment documents for Early Help, the development of an Early Help self-assessment and an Outcomes Framework, and the work done in Families Matter to develop a comprehensive database of the Early Help Offer in Sutton. The other key reports to the Board included updates on the work on Child Sexual Exploitation and an input on the emerging approach to the ‘Prevent’ Strategy in Sutton. For those who may not be familiar with ‘Prevent’ or who may be interested in knowing more about it, we will put a short summary note about it on the Google Community.
I’ve seen two well known leaders on my Tube and train adventures. Week before last am scuttling down into bowels of Victoria when I nod to a bloke I know though he doesn’t nod back and as I think on it after I’ve passed him I realise that I knew him because he’s Jeremy Corbyn and that he didn’t know me because HE’S Jeremy Corbyn!
Last night I was changing trains at Stockwell when I bumped into Genghis Khan!!! I kid you not. There was a bloke on the underground in the full ‘Mongolian horde’ outfit just standing on platform in fur hat, jacket, pantaloons and riding boots!! As I got on the Victoria Line I couldn’t help but think I need to do something with my uber-dull wardrobe!
And Finally………………………….
………………………………………………………. I went to watch my daughter’s football team a couple of weeks ago on a truly miserable, wet Sunday morning. At half time they were 1-0 down. The guy who manages the team got them together to talk tactics……………..alas they were all distracted because…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. the rain was making their hair go frizzy and they’d not used waterproof mascara so it was all running down their faces! They were distraught and incapable of listening to his instructions. – However it worked – they came out second half and eventually won 2-1! And I thought I knew about football…………………………
Have a good weekend