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11 Jun 2018
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14 Jun 2018
Focus Message - June 2018

From the Director of Children’s Services, Stuart Gallimore

  • A consultation on East Sussex Music has been launched
  • Survey shows children and young people are making better healthcare choices
  • Early Years News
  • Your Youth Cabinet rep: don’t miss out! Register NOW
  • Welcome to two new colleagues: Judy Perraton and Mandy Lewis

East Sussex Music consultation now launched

A consultation on the proposal to close the small group and individual instrumental teaching part of East Sussex Music has now been launched and will be open until 27th July.

The final decision will be made in September 2018 but no changes will be made until September 2019.

Children and young people making better lifestyle choices

The number of young people, smoking, drinking or taking cannabis has decreased according to a new survey by the 2017 East Sussex Health Related Behaviour Survey.

The percentage of 14 and 15-year-olds who said they had a cigarette in the last week, drank alcohol in the last week or had ever taken cannabis, decreased from 22%, 46% and 29% respectively in 2004 to 9%, 36% and 19% in 2017.

These are just some of the findings of the survey which was completed by 3,089 Year 10 pupils (14 and 15-year-olds) and 3,260 Year 6 pupils (10 and 11-year-olds) in East Sussex primary, secondary and special schools. The survey was commissioned by East Sussex Public Health and undertaken by schools with the support of the Schools Health Education Unit. Individual schools will have already received survey results for their own pupils, the complete findings for East Sussex and districts or boroughs are now available in easy-to-read four-page summaries.

The findings can help schools, council staff and wider partners to better understand the current health and wellbeing needs and assets of children and young people, including responses to robust and validated questions on a range of topics such as smoking, drugs, relationships and sex, diet, exercise, emotional wellbeing and safety.

How could our survey findings help you in your work?

  1. Gain an improved appreciation of current behaviours, lifestyles and aspirations reported by children and young people in East Sussex 
  2. Use the findings to inform planning and delivery of services/activities for, and with, young people
  3. Update your plans with the latest local health and wellbeing information reported.

Stuart Gallimore, Director of Children’s Services said: “It’s very important to hear directly from young people to understand how best we can all work together to support them. East Sussex County Council, the NHS, and the voluntary and community sector can make use of these findings to tailor their support and guidance for schools”.

Early Years News


  • Conference on two-year-olds highlights success of partnership working

An East Sussex conference which highlighted how successful partnership working across the country has helped to promote intervention strategies for two-year-olds and their families, attracted more than 300 delegates to Hastings’ White Rock Theatre in March.

In addition to practical workshops on interventions and a keynote speech by Professor Lord Robert Winston, the conference also learned how teams have worked together to join up the mandatory development check of the Healthy Child Programme and the Early Years Foundation Stage for two year olds.

  • Project to improve interaction with babies starts to make an impact

A project designed to raise the importance of practice within baby rooms in childcare settings has been developed by two professionals in the Early Years Improvement Team.

Inspired by research carried out at Canterbury Christ Church University, Laura Piper and Verity Green have focussed their work on the ways that practitioners can interact with babies in nurseries, pre-schools and school-based nurseries.   Feedback from phase one of the project reveals that the work has already had a significant impact with work on phase 2 now underway.

  • A creative approach could help parents improve their children’s literacy

Parents in Hastings and Rother are being encouraged to think about their children’s literacy in a new and creative way, thanks to the team’s work with the National Children’s Bureau.

‘Making it REAL’ is based on research carried out at Sheffield University and is about raising early achievement in literacy. The approach includes the use of story tellers, a dance artist, e-library service and venues including the De La War Pavilion and Hastings’ museum.

Those taking part participated in creative activities and discovered local opportunities for reading, singing, art, drama and talking about literacy. Initial feedback shows that parents have gained confidence when thinking about how to encourage their children’s literacy, that library membership with children has increased and parents are more enthusiastic about taking part in a range of literacy activities.

  • Early Years Hubs for Excellence build networks of support

The work of the Hubs has moved a long way in the last year with some now focussing on working cross-hub to ensure that every hub within the EIP can access both good practice sessions and training - such as communication, outdoor, music, storytelling, maths, and the Early Years Pupil Premium.

All hubs are working on a transition project too. At recent central Hub meetings various hubs have shared their good ideas, so some people are now looking beyond their EIP group to see what is on offer. Hubs are really beginning to build up networks of support, which is having a positive impact on relationships between EY providers and schools.

What’s next?

    • continuation of the work of the Making It REAL Creative by working with parent volunteers to influence other parents in the use of literacy and cultural venues in Hastings and Rother
    • phase 2 of the Interacting with Babies project; continuing to engage more childcare settings to reflect on their practice
    • development of a programme of training to look at the link between physical development, expressive arts and design and writing. Work with a story teller and a dancer are planned for both preschools and reception teachers.
    • continuation of the development of the Early Years Hubs for Excellence to support all of those working in the early years and create a joined up approach; and a look at the development of a project around ‘transition’ with Neil Farmer who successfully delivered a project based on ‘boys learning’ with reception classes in 2018.

Your Youth Cabinet rep: don’t miss out - register NOW!

Most schools have signed up to be part of a new East Sussex Youth Cabinet, which can have representation from ALL schools from November 2018. However, we are still waiting for a few schools to return their registration. Please sign and return your form.


Welcome: New Mental and Emotional Wellbeing Adviser appointed

Judy Perraton has been appointed to the new role of Schools and Colleges Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Adviser.   She will be working with teams in Education, Social Care and Health to help schools develop a whole school approach to mental health and emotional wellbeing. Judy has worked in a range of roles including mediating, teaching and supporting children, young people and families, most recently at COPES Family Outreach at Action in rural Sussex. The new role is funded for two years by the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Transformation Board and based within the ISEND department at ESCC.

Welcome: New Head of Virtual School appointed

Mandy Lewis has been recruited to head up ESCC’s Virtual School for Looked After Children based in Dunbar Drive.  She will take up her post in September.

Mandy has a wealth of experience of working with the most vulnerable students in school. Formerly, she was Assistant Head at Peacehaven Community College and was also seconded to the ISEND team for a few days each week to lead on a strand of the High Needs Block Review. As Assistant Head she was the designated teacher for LAC, responsible for SEND provision and manager of a special facility for students with communication difficulties. Mandy has also worked in West Sussex managing a learning support team.  

Catherine Denyer
Catherine Denyer
Project Officer: (Strategic Planning & Commissioning/Place Planning)

Phone: 01323 466886