Welcome back to the new academic year 2019/20

Welcome back to the new academic year, we hope that you have had a restful and enjoyable summer and are energised for the year ahead!

As many of you may already be aware, the Council is busy settling a new structure after the news that both Linzi Roberts-Egan, Deputy CEO, and Richard Barker, Corporate Director of Communities, are saying their fond farewells to Waltham Forest. Linzi will be taking up the post of CEO in Islington Council after six years at Waltham Forest. The positive impact of Linzi’s leadership will be long felt and we wish them both the very best with their new ventures. Confirmation of the new Director of Children’s Services and further changes to the structure within the Families and Homes Directorate will be communicated via The Hub shortly.    

Meanwhile children, young people and their families were busy attending the wonderful activities on offer throughout the borough during the summer, including the Leader’s Pledge Holiday Activity Programme which provides grants to schools to support vulnerable children attend their holiday childcare and offers free, inclusive activities to all families across the borough in schools, local clubs and parks. This year the programme had approx. 8,000 visits by 5 to 11 year olds to family sessions and over 1,000 visits to the 11 to 19 year old programme. Thank you for the schools that promoted the programme to their pupils and those who hosted family sessions and allowed use of their kitchens, which enabled us to provide 6,000 hot meals to children.

After a nail-biting wait students also received their A-Level and GCSE results during the summer. Results reported to us by Waltham Forest schools on GCSE results day indicate that attainment is similar to the previous year, and we therefore expect the average Progress 8 score for pupils to be high. Cllr Grace Williams, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It’s wonderful to congratulate so many young people for another incredible year of achievement. After all the hard work, studying, and revising it’s brilliant to see so many happy faces as the results come through".

“It’s also a testament to the excellent work of teachers and school staff who are dedicated to giving students the tools and confidence they need to succeed and make the most of their life chances, whatever they decide to do from here”.

Among all the good news, some students’ amazing results really stood out, Jessica Tunks, a student at Kelmscott School, Walthamstow, achieved an incredible 10 grade 9 GCSEs – a truly incredible effort, and a first in the school’s history. Fellow student Ida Saidy finished with five grade 9s, one grade 8, two grade 7s and two grade 6s and has secured a fully-funded place at Epsom College. At Connaught School for Girls, Leytonstone, Rabia Saleem took 12 GCSEs and got nine grade 9s, two grade 8s and a grade 7, while Aaminah Hussain and Amira Hadjilah each received five grade 9s apiece. Rachel Lott, of Heathcote School, was delighted to score eight grade 9s and two grade 8s, while Alice Dunleavy also did incredibly well with two grade 9s and eight grade 8 GSCEs achieved.

These successes add to the good assessment outcomes achieved (and those expected to be confirmed once national performance information is released) by pupils in all key stages in the last academic year:

  • the proportion of pupils achieving a good level of development at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage increased once again
  • at the end of Key Stage 1 pupils results are expected to be similar to the previous year and therefore likely to exceed national and regional averages;
  • the provisional unadjusted results for the Key Stage 2 performance tests indicate an increase in the proportion of pupils achieving both the expected and higher standards in reading, writing and maths, with the average progress scores in all three subjects remaining significantly above the national average.

There were also some great outcomes for individual students reported on A level results days. In addition, we are pleased to see that following a successful joint initiative between BACME and schools, persistent absenteeism – highlighted as a priority in schools across the borough - has also been reduced.  

These outcomes are joint venture and we thank you all for your vital input into both the academic success and the health and well-being of children and young people in Waltham Forest.

Finally, we are pleased to welcome a number of new Headteachers to the borough, including Jane Benton to the Chingford Academies Trust, Sam Jones to Kelmscott Secondary, Jessica McQuaid to Leytonstone School, Avani Higgins to Connaught School,  Zakia Khatun to Whitehall Primary, Sian Boutalbi to Gwyn Jones Primary, Claire Nairne to Handsworth Primary, Adam Bennett to Stoneydown Park Primary, Jose Alfredo to Salisbury Manor Primary (previously Chingford Hall Primary) and James Hucknall to Walthamstow Primary Academy.

I look forward to working with you all over the forth coming year.

David Kilgallon, Director of Learning and Systems Leadership