Virtual Schoolbag (VSB)

17 Dec 2018
Business managers, bursars and secretaries, governors, headteachers, ict technicians, pastoral care leaders, sencos, teachers and teaching assistants of all schools
18 Dec 2018
December Focus Message


  • Fantastic news about the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) outcomes
  • Young people share their thoughts on mental health on Takeover Day
  • Hastings’ employers open their doors to 500 young people

From the Director of Children’s Services, Stuart Gallimore 

Happy Christmas!

As our thoughts turn to Christmas I just wanted to wish you a very happy one however you choose to celebrate.  On behalf of the management team, I’d like to thank you for your continued hard work and for always being prepared to go the extra mile.

It has been a tough year and no matter how committed and resilient we are, there is a point where we could become disheartened, but I hope that you can take real comfort from knowing that you are making a very real difference to the outcomes for children and young people across the county.

I can’t pretend that 2019 will be any easier but I do know we will continue to focus on working together and supporting each other to do the best we can. So once again can I wish you a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year not forgetting those folk who will be working over that period.

Have a good break when yours arrives.                                                                                                            

Fantastic news about the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) outcomes

The EYFS profile outcomes for children at the end of their reception year in school demonstrates their readiness to move on into Year 1. There are two measures for this:

  • Good Level of Development (GLD) which means children have met the expected standard in the required 12 early learning goals (ELGs); and
  • the Average Point Score (APS) which measures attainment at all 17 ELGs and is an indicator of how many children exceeded the ELGs.

In East Sussex both of these measures have been improving for the past five years. The GLD for 2018 is 76.5% which is above a national average of 71.5%. The East Sussex APS is above the national average of 34.6 at 37.

These results mean that for GLD we are 12th in the country and for APS we are 5th in the country.

This is a fantastic result and is attributable to the hard work of all the practitioners who work with young children aged 0-5 years old throughout out the sector. Thank you to everybody for your commitment to ensuring the very best outcomes for our youngest children.

Young people share their thoughts on mental health on Takeover Day

More than 50 young people from across East Sussex shared their thoughtful, insightful and frank views about mental health and emotional wellbeing on this November’s TakeOver Day.

The group included representatives from the East Sussex Youth Cabinet, Children in Care Council, the LGBT Group, Hastings Youth Council, Peacehaven Youth Mayor, Download, The Able Group, Girls’ Group, and Seaford Youth Forum.

They said schools should receive more support to be able to create a positive environment in which young people can feel safe, enjoy and achieve.

Stuart Gallimore, Director of Children’s Services, said: “They challenged us to be more open, flexible and responsible and to take a whole school approach to mental health. What was most striking was their focus on saying we should involve them more.”

Young people also urged schools to look at the Resilience Framework and the Top Ten Tips, created in partnership with Boing Boing.

Also in attendance were senior decision makers including Cllrs Bob Standley and Sylvia Tidy, cabinet members responsible for children's services at the county council, county council directors and representatives from district and borough councils.

What young people said:

“Use resources that have been created by young people to improve mental health and wellbeing – because we know what we are talking about and we have a way of communicating that engages other young people”

“Schools should focus on how to make the school a safe place of belonging. This is especially important for students who don’t have a safe place anywhere else. They should ask students opinions on how this can be done.

Please listen to children more – they can help you do your job!”

Hastings’ Careers Opportunity Day

Thank you to Hastings’ businesses, local employers, schools and the community for enabling 500 young people to experience a ground-breaking careers day on 26th November.  

 The innovative event, set up by the Hastings Opportunity Area, gave students in years ten and eleven the chance to get an authentic taste of the world of employment by going into the work place.

More than 40 careers workshops were held across Hastings by local and national employers including - Jerwood Gallery, Marshall Tufflex, Hastings Direct, Ashdown Hurry, RSPCA, Hastings Borough Council, The Emergency Services, The White Rock Theatre, NHS and The Armed Services.

Each placement included:

  • a two-hour, hands-on workshop led by an industry professional
  • one-to-ones with professionals to learn about the specifics of their job; and
  • an overview of the range of different jobs in that sector, and the skills, qualifications and next steps to pursue that pathway.

The objective of the day was to provide a holistic and realistic picture of a particular industry, and the career pathways offered. The sectors represented included: music, fashion, art curation, engineering, construction, medical emergencies, emergency service responses, catering, politics, accountancy, business and entrepreneurship, 3D Animation, social media, film making, agriculture, and sports.

The day was the result of a unique collaboration between schools, dozens of employers, professionals and the local community.

What is the Hastings Opportunity Area?

In 2016, Hastings was ranked 282 out of 324 on the Social Mobility Index. Just 8% of all pupils in Hastings progressed to the top third universities, compared to 17% nationally.

As a result the town became one of 12 areas to become an Opportunity Area. Since then an investment of £6m has been made into a wide range of projects around maths, literacy, activities, careers, mental health, attendance and teaching.

Research from the Education and Employers Taskforce shows that a young person who has four or more encounters with an employer is five times less likely to be unemployed or not in education or training and earnings can be up to 16% more during their career.


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

Phone: 01323 466886