Brilliant Learning

Alex Purssey: What do you do when new neighbours move in?

Everybody needs good neighbours…From Jason and Kylie down under to Hendrix and Handel in London’s West End, although they were separated by a few centuries!

Now Wandsworth has its own glittering new global superstar neighbour moving in next door to a number of our Battersea schools. So, what should you do when you know a new neighbour is coming – arrange a playdate? Offer to help unpack or move boxes, or take around some milk and sugar?  These goodwill gestures would not quite be enough when the new neighbour is the technology giant Apple! Apple are opening six floors of office space in one of London’s most iconic buildings, Battersea Power Station next year, and housing over 1400 employees…so what did we in Wandsworth, do to welcome the new neighbour?

Wandsworth City Learning Centre celebrated its Apple Regional Training Centre status and partnered with St Marys RC and Sacred Heart primary schools to devise an exciting digital project to greet their new arriving neighbour by demonstrating their skills and engagement of using iPads in the classroom. Apple were thrilled and shared their excitement in moving to Battersea by offering to support the schools further, including providing class sets of new devices, innovative day trips out for the students to the flagship Regents Street store to work with the Apple Creative Pro’s and an in-person visit to their school by some of Apple’s most senior VIPs ‘from California.

While the students were engrossed in a stimulating and special coding session with the CLC Apple Distinguished Educators, Lisa P Jackson, the former Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, appointed by President Barack Obama, and now Apple’s very own Vice President of Environment Policy and Social Initiatives, came into the classroom to work with the awe-struck students. Lisa is Apple’s CEO, Tim Cooks’ second in command. Lisa was accompanied by Alisha Johnson Wilder, Director of Apple’s $100m Racial Equity & Justice initiative. The inspirational Apple employees, delighted by the children’s work, were joined by MP Marsha de Cordova and Councillor Stock who enthusiastically participated with the learners and then freely discussed environmental issues, sustainability and future opportunities for the children and the schools. Senior Leaders from both schools and Wandsworth’s Assistant Director Michael Hallick then examined exciting plans for further development and opportunities to collaborate with Apple. Everyone enthusiastically deliberated on how the opportunities could disseminate into and support more Wandsworth schools over time. Executive Head teacher Jared Brading took time to passionately explain the needs of the Battersea community and Apple agreed the call for continued support into the area would be a real benefit to everyone.

The Apple City Learning Centre Battersea project is proving to be a real success with the involvement of many key figures and Apple forging great links and devising energising ideas to support the local community which can then be expanded upon to support the whole of Wandsworth, something all parties are very keen on providing. Teachers and students are striving ahead with their digital literacy and coding skills to ensure Apple’s future workforce is homegrown in Wandsworth. It pays to be neighbourly, and this fantastic project clearly evidences that when one neighbour helps another, we strengthen our communities.

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Intelligent Operations

Agnieszka Wojcik: Importance of H&S Training in Schools

Employers are legally required to provide information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of their employees and safeguard the pupils. Agnieszka Wojcik 

When is H&S training required? 

H&S training is required upon:

  • Induction – Provided for new employees to help them to settle into the new workplace environment and activities. 
  • Exposure to new or increased risks
  • Existing skills may have become rusty or outdated
  • When current training requires refreshing 

How will your employees and school benefit from H&S Training?

Providing health & safety information and training will help you to:

  • Meet your legal duty to protect the health & safety of your employees.
  • Contribute towards making your employees competent in health & safety;
  • Ensure you or your employees are not injured or made ill by the work they do;
  • Develop a positive health & safety culture, where safe & healthy working becomes second nature to everyone;
  • Find out how you could manage health and safety better;
  • Can help your school avoid the implications that accidents and ill health cause;
  • Can help you avoid the financial costs of accidents & occupational ill health.

H&S training methods available 

  • There are many school health and safety training options available, including:
  • Classroom Offsite
  • On-site at the school (school)
  • Online 
  • Blended Learning 

In school, the following training are examples of H&S training needed (the list is not exhaustive) 

Staff whose work involves a greater element of risk will need extra or specific training.

A record of H&S training should be kept up to date, with details of who in your school has completed which training course, which staff are trained sufficiently and whether their certificates are still current.

Steps to achieving compliance in H&S training 

  • Review staff H&S training needs upon induction
  • Organize necessary training 
  • Keep an up-to-date record of who has completed H&S training and when
  • Carry out regular reviews and monitoring of dates to book training refreshers
  • Ascertain that training expectations are met by carrying out staff supervision and assessing training after delivery with staff

When to renew H&S training 

As a general guide, unless otherwise stated in the training certificate, refresher training should be undertaken every 3 years.

Our Health & Safety Team provides training that can be tailored to the school needs and delivered on site.

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Brilliant Learning

Susan Morgan-Jones: the FAB Book Award is back!! 

Twelve years of the Fabulous Book Award were recently celebrated in style by Wandsworth Secondary Schools.  With the disappointment of the last minute cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 events behind them, students representing Wandsworth Schools eagerly gathered at the Wandsworth Professional Development Centre in Tooting for the announcement of their 2022 FAB Award Winner.  

The shock closure of schools on 19th March 2020 on the onset of the Covid pandemic had proved to be a real challenge for many libraries who struggled to provide resources for their students, many of whom were confined to home schooling during the nationwide lockdown.  However, the ever resourceful school librarians met that challenge, e-library platforms becoming a much coveted asset as quarantining procedures prohibited library loans and some libraries even had to close. 

…Difficult times for us all. 

As schools reopened in September of that year, the librarians working in somewhat challenging situations sought to return to normality with our usual book clubs and participation in the FAB and Carnegie Awards.  Sadly, more Covid setbacks with more closures late in 2020 and through 2021 meant that we could not run our awards that year, but this made us more determined to go ahead in 2022.  Late in the autumn of 2021 with Wandsworth approval, participating Schools across the borough put forward 21 books for our longlist, which were avidly read and discussed by our FAB Book groups.  Due to national Covid uncertainties and subsequent school restrictive practices, numbers participating were down, yet librarians and students persevered with the shortlist, ever hoping that the FAB event would actually happen. 

…Fingers were crossed! 

The shortlisted books covered a range of subjects including Immigration, The Second World War and Racial Injustice, using both prose and narrative to incredible effect with thought provoking story lines.  We were also very pleased that three of our shortlisted authors were subsequently shortlisted for the National Carnegie Award, a testament to our discerning teenage FAB readers. 

On the day of our FAB Event, we were very glad to have the presence of author Lisa Heathfield, FAB Winner in 2020 who brought her trophy along so that students could share in her happiness at winning with her book ‘I am Not a Number’.  Just before the 2020 lockdown we had already voted her the winner, but with no end event we sent her the trophy and were super happy to see her at our 2022 event, to applaud her in person – Better (2 years) Late than Never! 

Our students had a very hard time deciding on the 2022 winner, all on the shortlist being worthy of carrying away our trophy and everyone gathered at the Wandsworth Professional Development Centre (WPDC) for the announcement, hoping that the book that their school had championed was indeed the winner. The morning was lively with each school introducing authors and participating in a quiz that tested their knowledge of all of the shortlisted books. 

Author Lisa Williamson shortlisted for ‘First Day of my Life’ was present. She gave a spirited and witty talk on her life and her writing process and thanked all present for their love of her books, having been longlisted twice previously for ‘The Art of Being Normal’ (2017) and ‘Paper Avalanche’ (2020). 

Messages of thanks and appreciation were also read out by students from authors who could not be present and Manjeet Mann, Phil Earle and Jewell Parker Rhodes sent in video soundbites, which thrilled the students present. 

Then finally, to thunderous applause for each author, the results were announced and judging by the screaming and clapping that ensued, the winner was a universally popular choice. Every one of the shortlisted books were really winners, such was the closeness of the voting and the authors should be applauded for producing such interesting and varied books that our students actually chose and wanted to read. 

FAB Award 2022 the Results 

Results in Reverse Order:  

  • 7th When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle 
  • 6th First Day of my Life by Lisa Williamson 
  • 5th Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewel Parker Rhodes  
  • 4th The Crossing by Manjeet Mann 
  • 3rd A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik 
  • 2nd Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Lyimide 

1st The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes 

Jennifer Lynn Barnes, who is American based, was sadly not at the ceremony, so the FAB Trophy was sent to her publisher in New York, who reported that she was thrilled and honoured to receive the Award. 

After the results, much celebratory cake was eaten, books were bought, selfies with authors were taken and the multicoloured balloons that graced the occasion found themselves bobbing back to schools across the borough.  

We all agreed it was such a happy day. The sun was shining and our FAB Award was well and truly back…. 

Teenage fiction goes from Strength to Strength!……Roll on year 13 of our Ever So Popular FAB Award! 

Happy Reading Everyone…. 

Special Mentions Go to:  

The magnificent team at the WPDC who under the guidance of Catherine Green, rose to the occasion and worked so hard to make the day so special. We truly could not achieve any of this year on year without you. Thank You All. 

Cheryl John for the truly FABulous cakes, which is so much a part of our FAB Award. 

Bronnie and Bob Mayo of Bookwagon, who had experienced some difficulties getting to us on the day, but who still managed to arrive in time with smiles, total professionalism…and lots and lots of books.. 

…To all of the Librarians…FAB Year 12 was such a gamble but we did it everyone!! 

…and to the students, who read, debated and voted on the books. The FAB Award is truly Their Own Book Award. The authors always say it is so very special because it is the students who read their books, it is the students that they write for and that is means so much when their books are voted onto the FAB Long and Shortlist 

 ….High Praise indeed! 

Susan Morgan-Jones, LRC Manager at Ashcroft Academy and FAB Event Co-ordinator. 

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Brilliant Learning

Keisha Bellingy: Value of Work Experience

Work experience is an opportunity for a young person to experience the world of work first hand. Up until that point they may have heard about the world of work from family, friends or on television but they get to see it for themselves and experience the good and bad side of working. 

I once worked with a year 10 student who had always wanted to be a hairdresser. I placed her in a hairdresser, and she called me on the second day to tell me that she wanted to leave. She had not expected to be on her feet all day and thought that she could start styling straightaway. They were in for a shock when they realised that this was not the case. Despite me warning them about the realities of hairdressing they thought that it would a different experience for them. I encouraged her to remain on the placement for the rest of the week and when she came back to school, she told me that she no longer wanted to be a hairdresser. In my eyes this was a successful placement because even though the student no longer wanted to be a hairdresser, the placement had taken them one step closer to deciding their future career option. Without work experience, this student may have chosen to pursue hairdressing in the future and only then realised that it was not for them

These are the further benefits of work experience:

  • Helps students to understand employer expectations
  • Students can add the experience to their CV
  • Students develop their employability skills
  • Students may get a part time job because of their placement

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Brilliant Learning

 Wanda Gajewski: Click With Care

Subject: Information and Communication Technology

Topic: E-Safety

Age Group: Upper KS2

Synopsis: Most children are familiar with basic internet safety rules. However, these are simply not enough to keep them safe online. This fantastic pack features all the resources which you could need to raise the awareness among KS2 pupils about online risks, safety and behaviour. It will provide interesting topics for discussions about being online and e-safety. Pupils will learn how to use internet comfortably, safely and responsibly and consider the hazards and risks in their activities online, writes Wanda Gajewski from our Brilliant Learning, Learning Resources Service.

Exploring the topic of e-safety has the potential to inspire your pupils’ ambitions to become the computer engineers and inventors of the future.

Wanda Gajewski
Wandsworth LRS

Librarian’s view:

There are also more than 800,000km of underwater cables carrying Internet data across seas and oceans.

All through history humans have invented things. We create new ideas and technology to help us in our everyday lives. These inventions often lead to huge changes. When William Caxton brought the printing press to England in 1475, he changed the lives of thousands of people, putting reading and education within their reach for the first time. When Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web over 500 years later, he changed the world all over again.

The digital world offers many benefits for children, helping children to learn virtually, entertaining children and helping friends to stay connected. However, the internet brings significant challenges when it comes to how to keep children safe online.

All evidence indicates that children who are taught how to use the internet safely and correctly gain valuable skills and are more successful at everything they do. It is also critical that constructive online habits are established by the age of 10 or 11 to help prevent sexting, bullying and hurt online.

Birth of the World Wide Web (WWW)

Tim Berners-Lee was born in 1955, when the world was a very different to the one that your pupils know today. People didn’t have computers or game consoles in their homes. Tim loved science and maths, so after leaving school he went to Oxford University to study physics, the science that looks at natural matter and energy.

Tim wrote some computer programs that helped him take information from one computer and put it on to another one. He wondered if all the computers could be linked together so that information could be shared quickly and easily. However, he knew that the computers could not give us all the information that we wanted, but they could help by making the information easier to find. They could even give us the information at the touch of a button.

Tim had to build a framework  that would connect all the world’s computers together. He decided to call the framework World Wide Web. In 1991, he launched the world’s first website – It was a giant stepping stone towards reaching the internet that we have today. Tim Berners-Lee’s idea was so brilliant that it spread around the world quickly. Today it’s hard to imagine a world without it.

Staying Safe Online

The world of computers is often called the digital world. Children sometimes think that the digital world and the real are separate. But they will learn that the digital world and real life are connected. Just like in real life the main danger on the digital world comes from people who are dishonest.

Children will develop their knowledge on how computers and the Internet work together.

Almost all computers use the internet. The internet is a network of computers that covers the whole world. It allows computers to communicate with each other. Children who have a computer, tablet or phone can connect to the internet and socialise with friends, watch videos and play games. They need to be sensible and careful to keep themselves safe when they download and upload information.

Your digital footprint

Your pupils may be surprised by the idea that almost everything they do on a computer adds to their digital footprint. The digital footprint is made up of information about how someone behaves online. It might include what they have searched for on the internet, pages they have visited and even their location. The pupils will learn that someone’s digital footprint makes it possible to build up a picture of what kind of person they are. It shows things they are interested in, how many friends they have and the area where they live. Therefore, children need to be careful what they say online.

Personal spaces

Children will learn that a person’s online identity is not the same as a digital footprint. An online identity contains all kinds of information. Often it is based on popular social networking sites, which allow users to set up a profile.

Children will learn that in order to open their pages to post updates, photos and messages they will have to log in. The most important way of keeping information safe is by using a password. The password should be a mix of letters and numbers. The strong password is a nonsense word that will still be easy to remember. But if someone else guesses or finds their password, they can pretend to be them. This is called identity theft.

Click with care
The internet is used by people with widely varying interest. Children will come across materials that are not suitable for young people. Some adult material is sexual, and some of that is pornography. If children feel upset by materials that are not suitable for them, they should close the page and move on. However, they must notify the teacher or parent/carer. If children use a search engine to look for information, they need to read the little block of text about the pages found before clicking on the link.

And don’t be fooled! Facts on websites are not always true or up-to-date, so always be careful when you are searching for information.


Your pupils will learn that there are bullies online, just as there are bullies in the real world. Online bullying is called cyberbullying. Although it doesn’t cause physical harm, it is very upsetting because it can happen at any time – even when the children are at home.

Cyberbullying takes many forms. It can be nasty messages sent by phone or e-mail. It can include being abusive or ridiculing someone on a social networking site, perhaps by posting embarrassing photos or videos of them. Deliberately not letting someone join a game or chat is cyberbullying as well.

Children must remember to log out of their account when they finish using a shared computer.

Classroom activities

Classroom activities reinforcing the topic of E-safety

There are several great sites that explore the subject of staying safe online through games and videos, including:

Project Resources

To help your classroom click with care, use books such as:

Let’s Read and Talk about Internet Safety by Anne Rooney

Keeping Safe Online
by Anne Rooney

Computer Networks
by Clive Gifford

Understanding Computer Safety
by Paul Mason

Chicken Clicking
by Jeanne Willis

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Empowering Professionals

Diana Stovell: Prevention is Better than Cure

Occupational Health encourages you to make good lifestyle choices to improve your health profile and to help prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer

  • Move More, Sit Less– Get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week. That could mean 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Do muscle-strengthening activities 2 days a week.
  • Eat Health Foods– Try healthy food choices like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products

Tip: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables

  • Choose Your Drinks Wisely– Substitute water for sugary or alcoholic drinks to reduce calories and stay safe

Prevention is Better than Cure

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Empowering Professionals

Selina McClure: How to diversify your school governing board

“We need more governors who look like me”

Those are the words of Rochelle Clarke – a young governor at a church school in east London. She spoke in a recent BBC news article about her experience of being a governor and her work to make boards more inclusive.  

At Smart School Services, our Children’s Services Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) group have pledged to increase the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic governors, and those with disabilities, on school boards in the London Borough of Wandsworth.  We need our governing boards to be representative of the communities that they are in. 

A board that begins to think about real diversity is one that is prepared to ask itself difficult questions and to challenge itself—and therefore come up with more thoughtful and original answers—and one that opens itself up to better decision making. It is critical to ensure that you have a diverse group of people around the table to have the most effective governing board. When recruiting a new governor, don’t just think about the skill set that you need, but also the representation of your school communities on your board.

Diversity is a reality that can be created by pulling together individuals from a broad spectrum of differences

Sharon Warmington, Director of the National Black Governors Network, spoke recently to over 50 Wandsworth governors and Heads on “How to diversify your governing board”.  She inspired the governors with practical tips on how to increase diversity.  Some of her tips (and more) are listed below. 

  • Complete a Succession Plan and consider diversity
  • Train your board on the importance of diversity
  • Add a link governor role to champion diversity on the board
  • Make the selection criteria transparent 
  • If your local community does not have the diversity that you need – look more widely
  • Don’t rely on personal contacts – this can often lead to more of the same
  • Actively seek out diverse networks within the professions or skill set you require – look on LinkedIn for Black, disabled, Asian, minority ethnic backgrounds, younger groups within relevant sectors. 
  • Look at your student alumni to recruit younger governors to your board
  • Contact Faith and Community Leaders
  • Give value to background and experiences as well as skill sets

If you need any support increasing diversity on your board, please book a Head to Head meeting to discuss how we can help.


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Intelligent Operations

Sarah Dennis: Creating a safe work environment

The UK Health and Safety Legislation outlines basic requirements for creating a safe work environment and actions to be taken to reduce to risks to staff, pupils, contractors and visitors.

What should be in place?

Every workplace should provide welfare facilities and a working environment that’s healthy and safe for everyone in the workplace, including those with disabilities.

The workplace must have:

  • welfare facilities – the right number of toilets and washbasins, drinking water and having somewhere to rest and eat meals
  • a healthy working environment – a clean workplace with a reasonable working temperature, good ventilation, suitable lighting and the right amount of space and seating
  • a safe workplace – well-maintained equipment, with no obstructions in floors and traffic routes, and windows that can be easily opened and cleaned
  • fire safety measures – each building should have suitable fire safety precautions and a clear emergency evacuation procedure for all occupants including those with disabilities

What to do if there is a problem? 

If the right facilities are not provided in your workplace, staff should raise this with their manager or staff representative. If appropriate action is not taken you should contact Smart School Services by booking a Head to Head meeting.

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Brilliant Learning

Wanda Gajewski: Hands on History

Subject: Cross curricular

Topic: Learning from objects

Age Group: Whole school


Why use artefacts (objects) in the classroom? Artefacts can be used in a wide variety of ways to enrich your teaching – they may be easier to understand in 3D or appeal to the senses and generally excite children’s interest.  What’s better to remember the parts of the body than by removing them from a model torso? How much easier is it to bring other cultures alive with dramatic, evocative icons and (if appropriate) religious artefacts?

This post from Wanda Gajewski, focuses on ways teachers can use objects for effective classroom teaching. Pupils will develop a wide range of deductive and analytical skills when handling objects and children with learning or language difficulties can participate fully in handling sessions.  It will enhance both your teaching and your pupils’ learning and thus provide inspiration and pleasure for all.

Librarian’s view:

Don’t we all just detest those country houses or museums which make it plain to us that we shouldn’t be touching anything? Of course, some objects should be kept behind barriers, but we like touching objects. Even replicas may inspire your children more than discussion or the written word.

Traditionally teaching has evolved around books and reading. However, the value of using real objects has been realised even within the National Curriculum. The History Curriculum requires pupils to use a range of information sources including artefacts. An object can be used for information or as a creative stimulus. Sometimes handling objects is a form of active learning that engages pupils in a way that other methods may be unable to match.

Artefacts are an ideal way to introduce a new topic or new area within any subject. They give hands-on experience and are a wonderful way of exciting children’s interest and engaging them in questioning, thus helping them to develop critical thinking skills for themselves. The questions can lead on to investigation and research as the children discover some of their own answers. For best effect, the artefacts should be presented singly or perhaps two at a time at most. The more active the presentation, the better it will be remembered, and the more questions will be asked.

Artefacts should be chosen with thought and introduced with proper planning. Think carefully how to introduce items as some may invoke laughter or perhaps distaste. For example, some children may find a made-up starched turban strange, others may dislike the bright colours typical of many images of Hindu deities.

Handling objects is a fantastic experience for pupils and it can also help them develop skills such as handling, observing, comparing, deducting and evaluating. A good way to develop close observation is to start with a familiar object. It might be a piece of classroom furniture, such as a chair. Children will be guided by you through the observation and deduction stages and finally they conclude that the chair is made of wood.

Investigate a Mystery Object

One good way of encouraging observation and deduction is to provide pupils with a mystery object. It is not always easy to find something which no pupil will have no seen before. Some objects from the Roman or Victorian period will usually suffice. Holding the objects in their hands helps the pupils to concentrate and reach conclusions based on the evidence.

The idea of sharing a mystery object is for the students to take away the knowledge about what it is called. This exercise helps pupils focus on thinking carefully and reaching conclusions based on their deduction. For the purpose of this post the names of the mystery objects are revealed.

Metal Strigil

In Roman times this unusual artefact was used after a hot bath to remove cleansing oils by scraping the skin.

Victorian Warming Pan

The warming pan was used in beds to warm them, and also to try to remove some of the damp. The pan was filled with hot charcoal or ashes and pushed into the bed.

Bring Ancient Civilizations into a Classroom

Sarcophagus and Mummy

Ancient Rome

Stone Age Flint Tools

Mayan God of Maize

Science and Geography

Chinese Utensils

African Wooden Shakers

Peruvian Musicians

Japanese Warrior

Bolivian Chullo Hat

Giant Compass

Basic Rock Set

Horseshoe Magnet Set

Religious Education

Nativity Scene

The Qur’an Set



How did it go?

Feedback from schools has been very positive:

‘’Thank you so much for all the artefacts for his term. The prehistoric artefacts were brilliant – the kids got so much out of handling them!’’

‘’We had a very successful lesson looking at some of the Roman artefacts and trying to guess what they were, before doing research to find out.’’

Teachers from two Wandsworth primary schools

Artefact collections are available to borrow as part of subscriptions to our Learning Resources Service. To find out about what is available for your school, book a Head to Head today.

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Brilliant Learning

Gwen Sinnott: Return to Statutory Assessments

We are gearing ourselves up for the summer assessment period, with Primary Statutory assessments back on the table and Secondary exam season results back in the public domain, we have much to do.

Hang on a minute… but what about all the other stuff we have started doing?!

Powered up with Power BI

Part of our growth has been in developing our expertise building tools to help support easy access to intelligence for schools. We have used Microsoft Power BI to pull data sets together and generate interactive dashboards on several intelligence themes. We are planning to embed some of these into the Research & Evaluation Unit website so you can easily find comparative and historic data about your school for specific needs.

Bringing it together

We are so looking forward to pulling the new assessment data together to bring you new presentations of school’s performance alongside established reports, more guidance and training and offer more bespoke solutions where you want them. We are looking forward to seeing comparative progress across Key Stages once we finally have a formula for this using new assessment measures, but we are like that! Join us this year to celebrate the hard work you have put into safeguarding and guiding the learning of children and young people.

Joining up

We have had a busy year developing and connecting more robustly with other teams in Childrens Services, meaning we have a more holistic (data) picture of cross service needs and outcomes. For example, the social care list for schools has been a real step forward for supporting vulnerable pupils.

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