Monday, 26 April 2010

I moved on to the Blenheim Centre...

It was really encouraging to see colleagues from so many great teams and talk to them about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead as we build outstanding children's services here in Leeds.

I talked to colleagues from the Parent Partnership Service who wonderfully and sensitively support and empower parents and carers of children with special educational needs. The Parent Partnership service offers impartial advice, information and guidance on Special Educational Needs and exclusion policy and procedure to parents, carers, schools and professionals both statutory and voluntary. The team includes a Choice Adviser who offers advice, information and guidance on schools, how to preference a school and the admissions appeals process, and a Parent Champion who works with schools who have had notice to improve or are in an ofsted catagory in order to support communication and consultation with parents and carers. This service is one of the jewels of Education Leeds reaching those parents and carers it can often be hard to reach and who often feel let down by the system.

I talked to colleagues from our Pupil Planning Team who have done brilliant work with children and young people on the edge of exclusion The Pupil Planning Team works in partnership with schools, governors, pupils, parents/carers, Education Leeds colleagues, Area Management Boards (AMBs), other agencies - statutory and voluntary and all other stakeholders. The team works to reduce or eliminate exclusions, supporting and challenging all stakeholders regarding exclusion matters. The team endeavours to ensure that vulnerable and challenging pupils are re-included into full time, appropriate education provision, whether that be within their local Community School or as part of individualised programmes & pathways, via agreed re-inclusion plans. This team is another of the real successes of Eduication Leeds reaching and supporting some of our most challenging and vulnerable young people and their parents and carers.

I also talked to colleagues from our Educational Psychology Team which provides outstanding support for children and young people in schools. They identify issues and work to support children and young people to ensure that they succeed in their learning, inclusion and education. The team have enriched and enhanced our school improvement and inclusion strategies through the development of the Inclusion Chartermark, their work in the early years, on behaviour and social and emotional aspects of learning.

It was wonderful to spend some time with these talented colleagues who are making such a difference here in Leeds and will provide some of the fundamental building blocks for the new children's services arrangements we are building together.

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