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Issue 16 – November 2009 All the latest on children and young people’s services in Luton View from the top Driving in to work through what has proved to be a stunning autumn, gave me pause for thought – are we in for a calm and reflective period as we approach the New Year? I think not. This time last year I commented on an unseasonable cold snap that accurately foretold a grim winter. My sense now is that the next 12 months will see relentless pressure on the public sector, in terms of both delivery and expectations. That said, in Luton we have an impressive record of rising to that challenge. So, it seems like the right time to focus on successes. I‟d like to start with the Progressing Integration Project (PIP) and accommodation. When we started to make more changes to the department, I realised that as part of creating a new Children and Learning team, we would need to move people around. Restructuring can be hugely stressful in itself, but when you combine that with changing individuals‟ workspaces, you increase the risks. In spite of these challenges, I and my DMT colleagues have been very impressed by the commitment and professionalism of all those (especially Rachel Doyle and Nick Lewis) who have worked so hard to make the transition as smooth as possible, with your support. I‟m now temporarily situated on the first floor of Unity House, along with William Clapp, and am pleased with the changes that we have already made to the building. I would welcome your views – what do you think of it so far? Most importantly, we are on track to comfortably meet our revised „go live‟ deadline of 1 January 2010, and are looking at bringing this forward to before Christmas, with a fair wind. I‟ve also visited Wesley House and Victoria Street and have been impressed by the standard of accommodation there too, and by the way everyone is adapting to their new surroundings. It‟s national conference season, which means I‟ve had more time than usual to reflect on the world outside Luton, and compare our experiences with colleagues from elsewhere. You‟d be amazed how many people approach me to ask about initiatives we‟re running, or just to comment on the improvements we‟re making. I think Luton is unusual – we don‟t believe in „Emperor‟s new clothes‟. We do a lot less „show and tell‟ than others, and we are proud of getting the basics right, as well as the projects that break new ground. As this year‟s results show, this is reflected in continuing improvements in educational outcomes – we are definitely narrowing the gap. There aren‟t many local authorities that can boast two „outstanding‟ Pupil Referral Unit Ofsted inspections in a row! On 12 November we are up for two Building Schools for the Future (BSF) awards, the Community School Award and the Building Beyond Schools Award. This is a reflection of a very successful BSF programme, delivered on time and on target, and of the vision behind our ground breaking Marsh Farm Children‟s Centre for Excellence on the Lea Manor site. As I keep repeating, we‟ve got a lot to be proud of, and we just don‟t say it enough. Back on the day job, my main concern at the moment, as you would expect, is next year‟s budget. There are tough decisions to be taken now, but the challenge in future years is even greater. Although politicians from all parties have said they support early intervention, and the proven benefits it brings, there are no guarantees we can keep on providing it at the current level. Gloomy forecasts for reductions of between 15 and 30 per cent mean an end to „salami slicing‟ and there can be no „sacred cows‟, other than a determination to protect, as far as possible, the front line. Initiatives like „Total Place‟, which looks at how much we are spending in a particular area (across the statutory and voluntary sectors) in order to prevent duplication and promote efficiency and innovation, will 1 become more and more important. There‟s no doubt that in the long term, this initiative will present us with some great opportunities for improvement. The overall theme is „Dependence to Self-reliance‟ and we‟re working with Central Bedfordshire Council on two specific areas, Access to Benefits and Integrated Offender Management. Click here to find out more about the project. Financial challenges of this scale will require radical solutions, as well as a great deal of honesty and transparency, something both Children and Learning and the council as a whole are completely signed up to. I‟ll do my best to make sure that rumours don‟t muddy the waters, that you all get the information you need, and that you get a chance to have your say. not replace them, it will form part of Luton‟s overarching safeguarding performance management framework. “Both the council and NHS Luton have a vital role to play in safeguarding children and young people, which includes setting standards for others,” says Paula Doherty, Children‟s Joint Commissioning Manager. “So it is essential that when we commission services, we know our providers have the same stringent processes in place that we have in our own organisations.” Click here to see a full copy of the new Commissioners Policy: Safeguarding Children Debbie Jones Corporate Director, Children and Learning. Children and Learning employees rewarded for excellence For the fifth consecutive year, Children and Learning employees have been nominated by customers, clients, colleagues and managers for their efforts to provide high quality services to Luton residents. Luton Borough Council‟s Celebrating Excellence Awards, first held in 2005, are organised in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire. The idea is to give residents the chance to thank people working in the council‟s Children and Learning department, as well as in Housing and Community Living, who have „gone the extra mile‟. Awards are also made to service users and carers, social work students and sixth form students from Samuel Whitbread Community College, as part of the University‟s „gifted and talented‟ initiative. The winners were announced at a presentation evening in October held at the Chaul End Centre in Luton. Councillor Tom Shaw, Executive Member for Housing Services, Councillor Mahmood Hussain, Executive Member for Adult Social Care, Councillor Tahir Khan, Executive Member for Children‟s Services and Jenny Coles, Head of Integrated Services, gave out the awards, while Bramingham Singing Stars provided the entertainment. The winners from Children and Learning were: Excellence in practice Lynda Walmsley Most supportive and committed manager Kate Burchell New commissioning safeguarding policy launched Luton Borough Council and NHS Luton have introduced a new policy aimed at protecting children and young people in the town. The Commissioner’s Policy: Safeguarding Children has been developed by the council and NHS Luton‟s children‟s joint commissioning team. It sets out a range of specific requirements that must be incorporated into all contracts, service level agreements and service specifications between the council and NHS Luton and their suppliers. This means that when negotiating contracts, officers must make sure all existing and potential providers have their own robust safeguarding and child protection processes in place. Some of the new policy‟s requirements are about ensuring good practice generally, for example suppliers must be able to show they have an equal opportunities policy and a written procedure for handling complaints. However they must also sign up to safeguarding requirements such as carrying out appropriate CRB and ISA Registration checks for all members of staff, and agree to comply with Section 11 of the Children Act (2004). The council and NHS Luton have drawn up the policy in response to guidance from the Department of Health, issued in December 2008, and have consulted widely across their respective organisations. Designed to support existing policies, 2 Continuous professional development and learning Linda Farmer Most improving or achieving team Avenue Centre for Education Quality of administrative support Jack Markham Supporting student or trainee learning and development Educational Psychology service Excellence in addressing inequalities Rona Grabowski Going the extra mile Roszika Mupemhi Improving the lives of people who use services Evelyn and James Hayes (foster carers) Service users, carers, children or young people’s contribution to learning, training or professional development Family Voice Service users, carers, children or young people’s contribution to service development or consultation Abbey Woolgar Most significant contribution to change management in a specified service Denise Poore Director’s Award for Partnership Deborah Craig Honorary Lectureship (awarded by the University of Bedfordshire) Simon Ashley Giving the closing address, Luton Borough Council Chief Executive Kevin Crompton said: “We know we have many hard working and loyal employees who go that extra mile to deliver outstanding customer service. These awards allow local people to formally thank members of staff for their efforts and also give employees the recognition they deserve.” Luton’s young people mark Black History Month Young people in Luton have helped celebrate and raise awareness of African and Caribbean heritage and its influence on British and world history, by taking part in a range of events and activities. Throughout October, schools and youth groups hosted themed assemblies, invited guest speakers, staged special performances and even organised food tastings. Barnfield West Academy held a Black History Month concert, with diverse acts and African and Caribbean style refreshments. At St Martin De Porres Primary, a „community cohesion‟ week saw parents invited into the school to share their culture and experiences, as well as an African drumming event. Meanwhile, Whipperley Infants hosted an assembly with a difference. On 21 October, keyboard player Natty Wailer, who recorded and toured with Bob Marley for nine years, joined Lea Manor Gospel Choir to perform the Marley classic „Could You Be Loved‟. The performance was followed by presentations from pupils on black icons, before parents, guests and children were all treated to some special West Indian food. Natty Wailer then ran a series of drumming and singing workshops throughout the morning, culminating in a performance of another well-known Bob Marley track, „Three Little Birds‟. Councillor Tahir Khan, Luton Borough Council‟s Executive Member for Children‟s Services said: “Black history is part of Luton‟s history and children and parents should be reminded of that. This is an excellent way of celebrating the diversity of our local communities. Information X-change The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has recently published new guidance on information sharing, aimed at everyone who works with children, young people and their families. There‟s a lot of information out there, both locally and nationally, but it can sometimes be hard to know where to look. Now, C&L News brings you Information X-change, a quarterly round up of useful websites and other sources of information for people working in Children and Learning. Click here to view Information X-change or scroll to the bottom of the document. 3 Youth conference focuses on climate change Youngsters across Luton will be looking at global warming from a unique perspective at an event to be held next month. Supported by Luton Borough Council, the Luton Council of Faiths is organising a Youth Conference on Climate Change, taking place at the Town Hall on Saturday 28 November. The conference, which will include workshops, games, a keynote speech, refreshments and a quiz, is aimed at 14 to 18 year olds, and schools and community groups are being invited to send delegates. Ryad Khodabocus from the Luton Council of Faiths said delegates would address predictions of hotter and drier summers, wetter and milder winters, and more frequent extreme weather, as well as considering issues around water preservation. They‟ll also hear United Nations estimates that global st temperatures could rise significantly during the 21 century, and draw up action plans for how they can make a difference personally, and help shape Government policy. Looking forward to the conference, Councillor Don Worlding, Luton Borough Council‟s Executive Member for the Environment said: “Climate change is a matter of interest for all age groups, and the conference will give young people the chance to be further informed and learn how to have a voice in the decision-making process locally, nationally and abroad.” To get a copy of the programme, or register your own or someone else‟s wish to attend the event, contact Ryad Khodabocus on 01582 416964 or 01582 547866, or e-mail: email@example.com will highlight some of the town‟s most capable and talented youngsters. The guest speaker is Janine Irons, MBE, Managing Director of Tomorrow‟s Warriors, a leading organisation in the promotion and provision of high quality jazz education and professional artist development. To find out more about the awards, contact Ricky Markland on 0779 8571080 or Patrick Markland on 0780 3568784. For more on Tomorrow‟s Warriors, go to: www.tomorrowswarriors.org Play for free An innovative play project in Luton is going from strength to strength – great news for parents, carers and kids. The Free to Play initiative gives children with disabilities the chance to have fun, learn and explore, and their carers a much-needed break. The project is run by Friends of Bright Eyes (FOBE), which was set up in 1993 by a mother trying to access support services for her own child. Working with other members of her local community, she organised regular care sessions for young people with disabilities. By doing this, she laid the foundations for what has become a vital support service for many Luton families, as Mary, the mother of two children with special needs explains: “Meeting FOBE has shown me there are people in the community who care,” she says. “The team is always supportive and always hears me out, even when I complain.” FOBE is working closely with the Luton Play Partnership and Luton Borough Council‟s Play Strategy Team as part of efforts to increase play opportunities for children and young people across the town. Funding from the Big Lottery has also enabled the group to recruit more care workers, buy better equipment and provide transport for users, while keeping their services free. FOBE runs three sessions a week: Bright Eyes Boys Club Mondays, 6:00pm to 8:00pm Foxdell Junior School Young Explorers Wednesdays, 6:00pm to 8:00pm Lady Zia Wernher School 4 News in brief Outstanding! African and Caribbean young people from Luton‟s primary and secondary schools, academies and colleges, are being recognised for their outstanding academic, musical and sporting achievements. The fifth annual African Caribbean Pupil Achievers Awards will take place on 7 November at Stopsley Baptist Church. And the event, organised by the African Caribbean Community Development Forum, Coach Chris Carter said: Day Care Saturdays, 9:30am to 2:00pm Dallow Primary School There‟s also a regular Parent Support Group for women only, which meets every Monday from 10:30am to 12 noon at the Luton All Women‟s Centre on Old Bedford Road. To find out more, visit: www.friendsofbrighteyes.co.uk or contact FOBE on 0787 1500 706 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s get together Did you know there‟s a place in Luton that‟s just for young people – a new place to relax, meet friends and try a new activity? The b.1 Café on Upper George Street is an initiative run by Luton Play Partnership and Luton Borough Council‟s Play Strategy team. Funded through the National Lottery, it‟s available to all young people in Luton between the ages of 11 and 19. The café is open from 11am on Saturdays and after school on Mondays and Tuesdays. As well as a great selection of food and drinks, visitors can also have a go at pool, table football and other games. There‟s even a drama and dance studio for the more energetic. From time to time the café organises special events and there‟s a disco coming up in November. To find out more, go to: www.lcet.org or contact Richard on 01582 877220. “The boys are very proud of their achievements and are now keen to develop their rugby skills further. With a little more training and understanding of the game, I‟m sure quite a few of them could have a very big future. We also have to take our hats off to Stopsley, who had some fantastic players and were extremely well organised.” Walk this way Luton Borough Council has used Walk to School Week 2009 to launch a competition to design a poster to promote next year‟s event. The 2009 initiative took place between 19 and 23 October. As part of the celebrations, the council invited all primary, junior and infant school pupils in the town to come up with a design on the theme of „Walking To School In Autumn – What We Can See.‟ Entries are divided into two age groups, Years One and Two and Years Three and Four, and close on 6 November. The winning posters will spearhead next year‟s Walk to School Week in May 2010. Around half of children don‟t currently walk to school regularly, with 41 per cent being driven, despite the fact that the average distance to primary schools is around one mile. By encouraging families to ditch the car and go to school on foot, Walk to School Week aims to prove it‟s not just PE lessons that are needed to give kids a healthy start in life – it‟s how active they are in their daily life that really matters. Says Councillor Don Worlding, the council‟s Executive Member for the Environment: School news Denbigh team shows real promise A newly formed Year Nine rugby team that‟s had just five training sessions has achieved impressive results in a local competition. The team, from Denbigh High School, a specialist sports college, won four out of its five games at the Luton town rugby tournament, which was held at Luton Rugby Club on 6 October. The boys beat Icknield, Challney High, Lea Manor and Barnfield schools on their way to the final against Stopsley. Their winning streak came to an end there, however, with Stopsley emerging as champions and Denbigh the proud runners-up. “Walking to school regularly is a fantastic way to help reach the recommended 60 minutes of activity to benefit a child‟s health. Teachers often report that pupils who walk to school are more attentive in class. And by walking to school and back every day, the average child will already be spending more time being physically active than is provided for in the national curriculum.” Famous face joins Challney High School A world famous drummer is taking a break from touring the world with some of the biggest names in the pop industry to help students at a Luton school explore and develop their musical potential. For the past twenty years, Carlos Hercules has worked with Belinda Carlisle, Marti Pellow, Jimmy Cliffe, the Eurythmics and Lulu. He‟s been Beverly 5 Knight‟s drummer of choice for more than a decade, and has just completed 100 tour dates with George Michael. Carlos has also worked with some of the world‟s hottest acts, including American idol winner Kelly Clarkson and Westlife. For the next academic year, he‟ll be alternating drumming for The Waterboys, Beverly Knight and George Michael with running performance and song writing workshops at Challney High School for Boys. The workshops will culminate in a final performance with Carlos and some of his fellow session artists at the end of the school year. For more information on Carlos Hercules go to: www.carloshercules.com 6 Information X-change Information source www.luton.gov.uk/contactpoint What’s there? General information on the ContactPoint initiative and what‟s happening in Luton. Also links to leaflets and booklets and the DCSF guidance on information sharing. Every Child Matters (ECM) website, with background information and specific guidance on ECM and what‟s involved. Specific area of the ECM website covering information sharing. E-mail address for Luton‟s ContactPoint team – for general information on the project and answers to your questions. Interactive e-learning site with sections on safeguarding children, information sharing and working with children and families. The site‟s designed to support classroombased training. Children and Young People‟s Partnership website, with information from a range of agencies and organisations working with children and young people in Luton. A wide range of news, information and resources for everyone working in education and learning in Luton. Website of the Children‟s Workforce Development Council, which advises organisations working with children and young people. www.dcsf.gov.uk/ecm www.dcsf.gov.uk/ecm/informationsharing email@example.com www.kwango.com/lutonsclogin Login: ltnsccafis Password: luton01 www.cypp.luton.gov.uk www.learning.luton.gov.uk www.cwdcouncil.org.uk www.youth.luton.gov.uk firstname.lastname@example.org Helping young people in Luton get advice, find things to do, and have their say. E-mail address to register for a free multiagency induction workshop. A chance to meet people from other disciplines and backgrounds working with children and young people in Luton. If you would like to add to the Information X-change, send the details to Gavin Sandmann at: email@example.com or Nicola Andrews at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we‟ll do our best to include them. 7
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