We are delighted to be able to announce that during the Spring Term, three more Staffordshire Schools have been successful in achieving the Quality in Careers Standard Award from Entrust. The first of these was Codsall High School in March. Our assessors particularly noted the well-established links with both local and regional employers as well as a wide selection of education providers who support school activities on a regular basis. The level of employer engagement was a particular strength of Codsall High School’s approach to CEIAG.
“Going through the rigorous assessment process to achieve the award highlighted the hard work that was already taking place within our school. It was just a matter of collating information from across the school e.g. curriculum, site visits, careers fairs, college/university/business links bringing all areas together. It made staff, and students more aware of our full careers programme. We were fully supported throughout the process by entrust staff. We celebrate achieving this award and the valuable credence it brings to our school.” Jayne Higgins- Community Learning Manager
In May, two schools invited our assessors in; Clayton Hall School and The Meadows Special School. Clayton Hall have a recently developed CEIAG strategy which has been implemented really successfully across the school and which again builds upon the school’s extremely strong networks and collaborations with external partners. The Meadows are our first Special School to achieve the Quality in Careers Standard from Entrust. The bespoke curriculum and the strong emphasis on transition was strongly evident to our assessors and students at the Meadows School are benefitting from their experiences of the world of work.
Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements
Myths and Facts: Safeguarding and Welfare Requirements in the Early Years
Practitioners in the private and voluntary sector (PVI) should complete a child protection course every year. - Myth
Staffordshire safeguarding child board webpage states: All members of the workforce that come into contact with children must complete Staffordshire Safeguarding Level 1 every 3 years. New staff must receive this training within 3 months of their start date.
All early years childcare settings must have a regard for Prevent duty procedures. - Fact
The Statutory framework for early years foundation stage (2017) states: Providers must have a regard to the government statutory guidance ‘Prevent duty guidance for England and Wales 2015’
Footnote on page 17 states: The 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act places a duty on early years providers to have a due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn in to terrorism (the Prevent duty).
Cooks and volunteers do not need to have a DBS as they do not work directly with the children or are always supervised. - Myth
The Statutory framework for early years foundation stage (2017) states: Registered providers must obtain an enhanced criminal records check in respect of every person aged 16 and over (including for unsupervised volunteers and supervised volunteers who provide personal care)
• who works directly with children
• or who works on the premises on which childcare is provided.
All childcare settings must have a risk assessment on everything a child uses. - Myth
The Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (2017) states: Providers must determine where it is helpful to make some written risk assessments in relation to specific issues, to inform staff practice, and to demonstrate how they are managing risks if asked by parents and carer’s or inspectors. Risk assessments should identify aspects of the environment that need to be checked on a regular basis, when and by whom those aspects will be checked, and how the risk will be removed or minimised.
It is ok to have at least one person on the childcare premises with a paediatric first aid certificate in place. -Fact
The Statutory framework for early years foundation stage (2017) states:
At least one person who has current paediatric first aid (PFA) certificate must be on the premises and available at all times when children are present, and must accompany children on outings.
Providers should take into account the number of children, staff and layout of premises to ensure that a paediatric first aider is able to respond to emergencies quickly.
Life's Natural Rhythms
Life’s Natural Rhythms
June this year has seen some of the highest consistent temperatures experienced in the UK for some years, with the solstice being, for many, not only the longest day but also the hottest. Humans have always been sun worshippers in one way or another. Less of us might notice the peaks and troughs of life’s natural rhythms, such as the solstices and equinoxes our forebears have marked for millennia, but our evolutionary past ensures we remain roughly tuned to the beat of nature’s drum and the cycle of the seasons.
Fifteen to twenty minutes of natural sunlight a day has been proven to reduce depression and anxiety levels. It increases the levels of dopamine - otherwise known as the ‘feel good’ hormone - and exposure to natural light actually does help you sleep better. Recent studies have noted that natural sunlight helps set our body’s internal clocks – our circadian rhythms - and the better rested we are the better our mood and mental state. Simply walking through a woodland has been proven to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, reduce blood pressure and heart rate and leave you with an improved feeling of wellbeing.
In a technologically dependent world, the effects of long term exposure to screens, telephones, computers and the virtual world being readily accessible at the swipe of hand on screen, the natural world has moved further away with the result that more of us are disconnecting with the natural world around us.
Entrust Outdoors has set about getting our children and young people tuned back in to nature. This year has seen the launch of our Wilderness Academy, where participants are immersed in a more natural environment; from sleeping under canvas surrounded by woodland, waking to the dawn chorus, to conjuring fire and lighting up the natural senses. We use the surrounding landscape to host experiences for young people which help to develop real life transferable skills that anyone can benefit from whilst also bringing a sense of nature exploration to an adventure learning programme.
In the autumn, our Twilight Explorer programmes will be rekindled, giving an insight into nomadic tribal cultures, supporting studies in the stone age tools element of the national primary curriculum. Dream catchers will be woven along with narratives and stories told over a background of chants around an open fire.
This autumn will also see our new Flint & Fire programme delivered from Chasewater, with a wide range of fun activities that will awaken and stimulate senses, bringing together a multitude of skills and ancient techniques based around nature awareness and primitive living skills.
‘The wheel is come full circle’ Shakespeare, King Lear
The North-West Midlands Music Education Hub
The North-West Midlands Music Education Hub
In October 2016, Entrust, as lead partner for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Music Education Hub received an invitation to consider leading the Music Education Hub on behalf of Telford and Wrekin Council from April 2017. As you may be aware, our Hub has worked in strong Federation partnership with both Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire since 2012 and this invite continues a well-established process of music education development and support that has been in place for several years.
We are delighted with these steps forward and being invited to lead a wider partnership is also a strong indicator of both the excellent work we do here, but also the support we give to partners to enable their activity across the region. From April 1st 2017 we commenced activity as the North-West Midlands Music Education Hub (NWMMEH) and a summary of our delivery plans for the coming year is included in the infographic attached.
We know that schools and academies are all facing increasingly challenging budgets this year and the partners within the Hub are committed to doing all we can to assist you in supporting high quality music education provision in your setting. There are many part and fully funded opportunities for schools and academies starting with the entitlement for all schools to have a fully funded annual support visit and audit to identify strategies to support you through the challenges.
Please feel free to contact the music service at any point with questions relating to music in school.
Identification of SEN Needs – Who goes on the register?
Although we have been working with the Special Educational Needs code of practice for over two years now it is always useful to revisit some of the key changes for staff that may be less familiar with the statutory guidance.
Many schools have worked hard to develop their own criteria to identify pupils that need to be on the SEN register.
The Code of Practice (2014) states:
6.14 All schools should have a clear approach to identifying and responding to SEN. The benefits of early identification are widely recognised – identifying need at the earliest point and then making effective provision improves long-term outcomes for the child or young person.
6.17 Class and subject teachers, supported by the senior leadership team, should make regular assessments of progress for all pupils. These should seek to identify pupils making less than expected progress given their age and individual circumstances.
This can be characterised by progress which:
• is significantly slower than that of their peers starting from the same baseline
• fails to match or better the child’s previous rate of progress
• fails to close the attainment gap between the child and their peers
• widens the attainment gap
What other schools are doing?
Many schools have defined expected progress within their assessment systems and use this to identify pupils making slower progress. Schools are choosing to use standardised assessments to further inform attainment and progress of pupils that are causing concern.
PATOSS guidelines set the average range as 85-115 when using standardised scores. A standardised score below 70 indicates a significant difficulty.
However you choose to identify your pupils for the SEN register, it is important to remember that any pupil on the SEN register needs to be receiving provision that is different from or additional to the main population.