Tag Archives: Camden Juniors

“There May Be Trouble Ahead….And It’ll Need More Than Moonlight And Love and Romance To Recover……….

…………But before anybody gets concerned, the trouble ahead is the England v Scotland football at Wembley tomorrow. At home and with family I’m full of optimism, hope, belief. If I’ve said “I think Scotland will surprise you!” once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Alas no matter how often I say it, I know in my heart we’ve no chance! While I’ve been spouting that upbeat rhetoric for weeks out loud, in my head all I can hear is the voice of Private Fraser from Dads Army “We’re doomed! Doomed I tell you!”. (At last I know what it feels like to be a QPR fan!) So please be gentle with me if we meet any time from Thursday morning onwards!!!!!
There is fortunately an antidote for me to those feelings of depression and suffering that follow a defeat by England at football, rugby, anything. This does it for me every time!!!!!

If Only William Wallace Still Played For Scotland!!
If Only William Wallace Still Played For Scotland!!

Sponsored Academy Developments
Work on the proposed conversions of Carew Manor and Camden Juniors have been continuing during the summer. The legal and financial work for Carew is almost complete, and subject to Secretary of State decision, it is still on track for converting on September 1st. We received the external agency report for the Camden consultation at the end of last week. Response rates were very high at almost 550, and almost 98% of those respondents were in favour of Greenshaw becoming the school sponsor rather than the Harris Federation as the DfE would prefer. The rest of the consultation feedback is similarly in favour of the Greenshaw option. This is certainly validation of the local communities view. It’s been supported by letters from elected members, local MP’s and Tolis, all sent to the minister, Lord Nash, who will make the decision. We hope that this will help secure a decision in favour of the local solution, but to be honest I’ve no way of knowing how much, if any, notice will be taken of local views and the consultation outcomes. I guess it’s just a “wait and see”. We’re expecting a decision on Camden this week one way or another.

At a previous DMT we agreed a new approach to recording short notice urgent contracts in CYPLD. These are often used for urgent placements for children, particularly in social care. The new approach will need to be used for any spot purchasing arrangements managers in our division make when there is no formal contractual arrangement in place.
At yesterday’s DMT we focused on the overall CYPLD budget and in particular how to approach the cost implications of some of the changes in social care, like the new Public Law changes and to also plan out where we may need additional funding in the future. We also agreed to use an extended DMT day on September 20th to work further on the longer term detailed implementation of the redesign in Children’s Services.

Divisional Budget
At the end of Month 3 our divisional budgets are generally on line. There are some small predicted under spends in a few budgets but these balance out a couple of areas of slight over spends. We have also identified a significant proportion of our contribution to the overall CYPLD budget savings for Smarter Sutton and we will be finalising these in the next few weeks. However,we know that improving our budget management is an integral part of ensuring we make efficient and maximum use of the resources available to us. So, we will also be running a series of workshops for Education and Early Intervention budget holders, which will be be delivered by Nia Lewis, Jacky Bulbrook, Sarah Alderman and I. We’ll focus on budget reports, adding monitoring commentaries and respond to queries. All our budget managers will be required to attend the short workshops so we will plan them for the Autumn and offer a variety of dates so that we can be as flexible as possible.

And the moral of the story is....Leaving booking your summer hols till the last minute might just mean you end up wearing a furry waistcoat!
And the moral of the story is….Leaving booking your summer hols till the last minute might just mean you end up wearing a furry waistcoat!

That Cliff Richard Feeling!

As in, we’re all going on a summer holiday!!!! The schools are of course on summer break. Theoretically it’s supposed to make work quieter but that’s not how it looks at my end and I’d reckon that’s not how it looks to any of you either!!! There are of course lots of you off at some point on leave. Personally, I’m off to Rhodes for a few days from August 26th. In my absence Claudette will be the Head of Service covering for me. I’m due back, ideally with a golden brown hue, though more likely to be a bright-red glow, on September 5th!!!!! If you are taking leave yourself over the summer, enjoy it!

Performance Management
I know most of you will either have recently completed or be in the process of finishing off appraisals. These should be on the system now and managers should have signed off – so if you’ve not completed it please do so as a matter of real urgency.
For Children in Need monitoring Jackie and I finished drafting up the data on CIN that we will use on performance a couple of weeks ago. The Research and Intelligence unit is working up the reports for us on the dataset we have drafted. R and I are also working up changes to the monthly performance report to DMT. Up till now it’s understandably focused largely on the social care data set but going forward we will be including more of the key data from education and early intervention and prevention services.

The last Children’s Services Improvement Board included a summary paper on the Sutton population profile based on the last census return. It’s an interesting and easy read and may be of use for managers as part of your planning for service delivery. I’ve posted it on the ISYP Intranet and there are details of how to access it below. Among the things which the next Improvement Board will focus on will be a report from us on the performance of the Youth Offending team in Sutton.


Wildfire Burgers!

The annual JAS Barbeque took place last Wednesday and was a great success, attended by 10 families known to the service – all of the food went like wildfire! There was an egg and spoon race, Hoola Hoops, Giant Snakes and Ladders, Giant Connect 4 to name but a few of the games and Nail Painting in the marquee. In addition, a number of young people contributed to a wall mural “What’s JAS about”, which offered some interesting reflections. All of the team who were present took part in what was a most enjoyable afternoon.

New Faces in CYPLD
Jonathan Williams started as the Head of Service for Quality Assurance in Sharman’s Division last Monday and Richard Nash started as the new Exec Head for Safeguarding on the Tuesday, replacing Ann Goldsmith who after the handover to Richard, will be leaving Sutton at the end of this month. I’ve met both of them this week as part of their induction and I’ve no doubt you’ll all get to meet them in due course.

Staff Survey Response Plan
I will very shortly be asking for nominations and volunteers to host me doing back to the floor sessions. I’ve asked the Heads of Service to nominate one from each of their areas and for the others I will be asking for volunteers. I will also be writing to you in the next couple of weeks looking for volunteers to join a divisional staff sounding board with me.

And Finally………………

One of my favourite tracks at the moment in “Tongue Tied” by GroupLove. Now this might be another of those you think you’ve never heard of – but I know you have – for it’s the track for the current “Coke” adverts! As well as going around singing “Take me to your best friend now, I loved you then I loved now, oh oh yeah!”, I also spend time desperately looking for a “Share a Coke With….” can / bottle with my daughters name – so far to no avail! So if you are out and you see a “Share a Coke (or Diet Coke) with Frankie (or Francesca) can you please, please, please, buy it for me, let me know and I’ll re-imburse you! And in advance of my thanks, here’s a quick burst of Tongue Tied!!!!

And Finally, And Finally……..
………………………In the past I’ve commented in these blogs on the strange and unusual sights I come across in my daily commute. Today though I want to share the joys of the new platform announcer who frequently does evening rush hour on the Victoria Line. He’s got this fabulous West Indian accent, a real warm, deep, rich lilt in his voice. This is how he greeted us last night. “Hello you beautiful sunshine people. Take it easy on the platform. Just relax, slow it down and smile at the other passengers. And good news today is that Christine Ohorugu won the 400m at the Athletics. She smashed it up man!”. The train pulls in and he sees us off with ” Respect and One Love to all of you tonight! Be good to one another!! Mr Driver, Take these lovely people where they want to go!!! !”. And I swear the whole sardine-style rammed carriage is smiling. I’ve no idea if this is TFL policy – but it should be.
Respect and One Love to you for the rest of the working week!!!!


Cycling Proficiency Can Cause Life Long Emotional Scars!………

……….Over recent weeks I’ve had a number of invites to events celebrating the achievements of children and young people  I always enjoy these – there is always something uplifting and inspiring about listening to stories of young people and their successes. They are also an obvious reminder about how important it is to celebrate achievements and progress. That’s why I’m starting this blog update with a thank you to all of you for the significant improvement we secured in the OfSTED report for our Child Protection and Early Intervention which was published recently. Regardless of whether you were involved directly or not, these outcomes reflect on all of us and young people aren’t alone in needing to have their achievements recognised – as adults we need the recognition at times too! I am currently thinking about how to do that on a division wide basis so if you have any suggestions let me know through comments or send me an email directly.

Oh how I envy the holder of this coveted piece of paper!
Oh how I envy the holder of this coveted piece of paper!

“What’s all that got to do with cycling proficiency?” I hear you ask! Well, at age 10, the first thing I did on my cycling proficiency test was push off from the kerb – straight into a car! Anywhere else on the planet they’d have wanted to reassure you and encourage you to get your confidence back – but not in Glasgow. Instead they gave me a form with ‘FAILED’ written across it!!! To this day I’ve never quite got over it and I think it’s a key reason why I’m such a shy and quiet soul. I tried to make up for it by constantly trying to get a Blue Peter badge but didn’t manage that either! I’ve never met anyone else who failed the cycling proficiency but being the only person in history to fail the test doesn’t actually make me feel better-I mention it only in the hope there is a fellow sufferer out there. If you did fail it- put me out of my misery of thinking I’m the only cycling test failure in history!

 DMT Update

We had the first collective meeting of DMT with all the Heads of Service a couple of weeks ago. The focus of these meetings is broadly performance. We reviewed the final budget position for last year and looked at issues emerging at this stage of the financial year, especially for our placement costs. These are difficult to control because the demand is determined by individual needs. The performance meeting also looked at other reports including a Review of DfE Data Matrix highlighted most of school/wider education rankings are very good. Where they are less positive we looked at the reasons and what we are doing to address these. When we get an internal Forum set up, I will add documents such as this so that you can have a look at them if you are interested.  

After that joint meet with Heads of Service, at the next DMT meet we reviewed progress on redesign and some provisional next steps. We then agreed a paper about how we will support Council wide approach to supporting people suffering from dementia and also agreed a draft Memorandum of Understanding for the performance data service we’ll get from the new corporate Research and Intelligence hub. At DMT this week we reviewed the progress with sponsorship for Carew Manor and agreed a final version of the Participation Strategy which we will present to the Improvement Board in due course. We have also agreed to implement a revised approach to using outcome measures within services we commission and agreed to fund an interim management role for the pilot locality team we will be setting up at Tweeddale as part of the Children’s Redesign.

67 and Inspiring!

A couple of weeks ago I went over to the Isle of Wight Festival. It’s a great festival with a mix of new and old bands. I had a bit of a nostalgia weekend really – firstly on the Friday night I went to watch the Stone Roses – wonderful. Then on the Sunday to close the festival I went off to the tent to watch Blondie – I wasn’t expecting much to be honest but they were fantastic. And then someone told me Debbie Harry is 67! Made me realise I need to stop grumbling about getting older and take a leaf out of her book!


Vanessa Ashawe has started as my new PA. As I mentioned previously, Vanessa has replaced Hilary who has moved across to work full time within Home Education. Vanessa joined me last week and hopefully she’s getting used to things. Vanessa is also based in a different part of the building. Consequently she’s got a different number to the one previously used for my PA. She’s now on ext 6516.

Things You See Underground!!!!!!

Artist impression of how I'd have looked if Gold Lame Jackets had been around in the 80's - lucky escape I'd say!!!
Artist impression of how I’d have looked if Gold Lame Jackets had been around in the 80’s – lucky escape I’d say!!!

I felt my age pretty badly yesterday when I came through Oxford Circus, heading home in a boring suit and found myself sharing a carriage with a young man heading out for the evening, wearing broad black and white striped jeans and a gold lame jacket!!!!!! Ah the confidence of youth!!!! It reminded me of a suit I had in the early eighties made of six-inch square navy and sky blue check! It was my pride and joy then – if I wore it today alas I think I’d just look like a small, fat guy wrapped in an oversized dish towel!!!

 Camden School Campaign

The Keep Camden Local Campaign is gathering support and signatures from the local community
The Keep Camden Local Campaign is gathering support and signatures from the local community

The community campaign to choose Greenshaw High as the sponsor for Camden Juniors has gathered considerable pace over the last few weeks. We know many parents submitted a response to the consultation and the meetings with both of the possible sponsors were well attended. I was at the second of the Harris Federations meetings with parents. I thought the community was thoughtful and clearly focused on securing the best option for the school. The DfE were also represented at the Harris meetings and it was at them that most of the parental frustration and challenges were targeted. Having been in similar situations myself I know it’s not easy handling a meeting with a community who disagree with an action or decision you’ve taken. Nevertheless the parents handled the situation with impressive control and dignity. The consensus among parents I spoke to afterwards was that the DfE were less than impressive – perhaps if they learn from it they’ll think more carefully in future about how they present to meetings like the Camden parents sessions. We won’t know the outcome of the consultation for at least another week – before then we’ll be writing to DfE making our views as an LA clear on the fact that we wholeheartedly support the local sponsor option and that we think the Federation currently running Camden Juniors has made significant progress and that the school is now much improved. The parents campaign runs a blog with updates and if you’re interested you can find it here


 Sign Ups

If you’ve not already done so you can sign up to this blog automatically using the links on your right. It will mean you’ll be sent the updates automatically and you won’t need to wait for it to be cascaded out through your Heads of Service. Eventually I hope everyone will be signed up so we won’t need to rely on cascade in future.

In addition I do try to Tweet about what’s happening most days as a more immediate way of keeping in touch. If you want to follow me on Twitter I’m on @EdnEarl. If you are not on Twitter it’s free, easy to sign up and you can do it on your smartphone or tablets. I’d really recommend it – you might find you surprise yourself and get to like it – I know I have!

Starting Each Day The Grove Way!

 I’ve never worked anywhere as picturesque and beautiful as The Grove. It’s a lovely environment all year round but on a lovely sunny morning like today, it makes it a pleasure to arrive at work! – well almost! Today as I walked in, my start to a beautiful morning was completed by listening to Sigur Ros on my iPod. There are two advantages to this – firstly the music is uplifting and joyous and secondly as they sing in Icelandic I can’t join in which gives the squirrels a break! (That’s not strictly true – I do sort of try to sing what I THINK they’re saying but not quite the same volume just in case anybody who does speak Icelandic overhears my warbling!) Anyway this is Sigur Ros’ ‘Hoppipolla’ – give it a try! ( And if you think you’ve never heard Sigur Ros you’re probably wrong – this track is well used background music on TV in things like wildlife programmes!)


We are progressing the set up of the first Locality pilot team at Tweeddale. We’ve worked with managers and with partners on what the team might look like and we’ll be finalising that in the coming weeks. A number of officers have made visits to other LA’s which have locality teams in place and we’re using what we’ve learned from that to shape our redesign and some of the processes we will need to have in place. You’ll get further detail on the redesign progress at the two CYPLD Staff Briefings which are being held this week.

 And Finally…….

……………………. I had a few days off over the weekend. I went to another music festival – this time the Cornbury Festival in Oxfordshire. I’m a lover of music festivals but am now trying to go to those I’ve never been to before so it was my first time at Cornbury – and the best way to describe it is that it is more ‘Posh-bury’ than ‘Glastonbury’!!! It was definitely the most civilised and the poshest festival I’ve ever been at!!!! (Like handwash in the loos and stalls selling tea and home-made cakes!!!!) But it was great! If you’ve never been to a festival before I’d recommend it as an introduction – you’ll love it!!! And to encourage you in case you are slightly tempted, here’s a little of Keane’s headline from the Saturday – they were magnificent!!!!