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Wednesday, 28 April 2021 07:57

Further Change at the Top in KCC Education

The following article is based on a contribution from a serving Kent headteacher.

Who’s the Boss? may have been a sitcom from the eighties but, at the moment, we could be forgiven for trying to work out what is happening within Kent Education Leadership. 

Headteachers used to the nature and level of support provided by David Adams whilst he was AEO for the south of Kent were, on the whole I believe, pleased to see him take up the position of Interim Director of Education when Keith Abbott moved on. However, they now have to learn the ways of a permanent post holder in the form of Christine McInnes. Christine, formerly Tower Hamlets Director of Education and Partnerships, with a background in Special Education, formally introduced herself last week along with Mark Walker, ‘recently’ appointed Director of SEND in the first of their joint newsletters.

The joint communication underlines the artifice of creating two jobs out of their single predecessor’s role after he was ‘made redundant’, following various problems explored previously on this website. Both Directors are accountable to Matt Dunkley, Corporate Director, Children, Young People & Education and will enable him to give more time to Child Social Services, his particular interest.  

The newsletter certainly appears to signal a commitment to communicating with school leaders and ensuring that they are kept abreast of the issues and strategy that will no doubt develop as we find our way beyond the current Covid situation. 

Certainly, Mark, having served the Kent team for almost twenty years, will be well aware of historical SEND issues and strategies. These include details of the damning 2019 Ofsted Inspection which identified major weaknesses within the service and might have called for an outsider to tackle the issues. The appointment of Christine McInnes further strengthens the SEND influence in the Department. 

“But what of our David,” I hear you ask, “has he returned to the south after failing to secure the permanent post?” Alas, not. David Adams appears to have been shuffled sideways,  taking on a new, important, but temporary role within Kent, leading up an initiative called Reconnect. The programme will run until the end of August 2022 and will be available to all children and young adults, from the age of 2 to 19 (or 24 if they have SEND), reconnecting them with aspects of their lives that they have sacrificed due to the pandemic; health and happiness; learning missed; family, friends and community; sport, activities and the outdoors; and economic wellbeing. 

Undoubtedly a commendable undertaking and one that we wish to see our communities get behind. Find out more here. Reconnect: Kent children and young people - Kent County CouncilIn the meantime, Celia Buxton continues to lead educational improvement in the south of the county as Interim. 

So, a little more information in answer to our initial question, ‘Who’s the boss?’. Readers, should you wish to satiate your thirst for more information, I heartily recommend you research a little further but, as always, don’t assume that everything Google tells you is correct. 

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 April 2021 14:59

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