New Year message from Lauren Ovenden - Director of Education

Happy New Year

We are planning to launch two new strategies in 2023 – the first being our Post-16 Education Strategy which will focus on ensuring that the pathways for our children and young people are well matched to their aspiration and that they are well equipped to access employment, education and training. The second is a review of our existing SEND Strategy, which is due for a refresh September 2023. 

The SEND Strategic Board and other for a will be involved in that work as it commences and we look to draw on the direction of travel as set out in the Green Paper, “Right Support, Right Place and Right Time” to inform our local plan for the coming few years. 

Nationally, OFSTED and the CQC have advised that their draft new Local Area SEND inspection framework is now operational, with local areas being inspected from early 2023. 

The new framework is ambitious, broader in scope than the previous framework and reflects the role all partners play in the education of children with SEND – both at SEN Support and with an Education Health and Care Plan. 

This will be a key area of activity for us over coming months – as part of our work on the new Strategy, we will look at our local area self-assessment across health, education and care and will be seeking to engage with early years providers, schools and colleges to inform that work as well as contributing to our local area action plan.

 I am pleased to also advise that strong partnership working has led to the development of our Early Years Inclusion Pathway which aims to ensure clear signposting and timely assessment of need – this will be rolled out shortly. This forms part of our Best Start in Life Strategy, which alongside the development of Children and Family Hubs will add more to our connected work to support all children and young people in the borough. 

Can I thank all those who work in schools, both in teaching, leadership and support roles for your continued hard work, energy and drive. 

We continue to work on our local school improvement model, and are currently working to recruit School Improvement Partners to undertake visits to our LA maintained schools in response to feedback from school leaders about how best we support school improvement following the disruption of the past couple of years. 

Last year, we know that educational outcomes in Waltham Forest were generally positive across the different key phases, but the continued ambition to ensure that it is consistently strong for all groups of pupils across all key stages is greatly appreciated. 

On behalf of the team at Waltham Forest, can I reiterate our best wishes for the New Year