KCC has welcomed the Department for Education’s new pledges to provide the right support to children and young people in the right place and at the right time so they can achieve their potential.
The Opportunity for All White Paper promises a range of support for the education system post covid, building on existing best practice in schools. KCC is already working on a ground-breaking project with the Education Endowment Fund and looks forward to extending this further than the existing 200 plus schools.
The Government has also launched a national consultation on their vision for Special Education Needs and Disabilities. KCC particularly welcomes the introduction of new standards in the quality of support given to children across education, health and care.
The council says the school system is widely recognised as being in urgent need of reform and the proposals to move to a more unified system is timely.
Shellina Prendergast, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “We are committed to making Kent a county that works for all children and we welcome reforms which help us work together to deliver outstanding outcomes for children, especially the most vulnerable.
“Locally we have made some progress on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, but we know that our provision for SEND children needs to improve further. I strongly encourage parents and professionals to make their views known and to respond to this important consultation.
“The evidence shows that pupils benefit from schools and trusts working collaboratively. We warmly welcome the government’s commitment to creating families of schools which builds on what is best in the maintained and academy systems.
“We are keen to work with the sector and the DfE to co-design the detail over the coming months to ensure schools can retain their ethos and accountability to the local community.”
Matt Dunkley, the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education, said: “Kent County Council very much welcomes the government’s ambitious reform agenda and the commitment to a stronger, fairer school system.
“We support the focus on helping each child meet their potential with the right support at the right time. We agree that putting evidence at the heart of school improvement activity is vital. We know this approach works as we have started to see the benefits from our jointly-funded project with the Education Endowment Fund that is embedding evidence-informed practice in over a third of our schools and academies so far.
“We look forward to Local Authorities now having new opportunities to work with schools and academies to build further on this.
“Streamlining of the current fragmented school system is well overdue and we appreciate the proposals to match Local Authorities’ responsibilities as system leaders with the appropriate powers to meet those responsibilities.
“The creation of a unified school system that works for all children, enables schools to benefit from collaboration whilst maintaining their own identity, autonomy and accountability to their local community is the ambition, and the prize at stake here.”