Virtual Schoolbag (VSB)

13 Feb 2019
Business managers, bursars and secretaries, governors, headteachers, pastoral care leaders, sencos, teachers and teaching assistants of all schools
February's Focus Message from the Director of Children’s Services

February's Focus Message from the Director of Children’s Services, Stuart Gallimore, includes:

  • Success for 4th Annual Safeguarding Conference
  • Launch of East Sussex Quality Mark for Inclusion (ESQMI)
  • Thanks for supporting the new Youth Cabinet
  • February is LGBT history month

Success for  4th Annual Safeguarding Conference

I was delighted to be able to open the highly successful 4th Annual Schools’ Safeguarding Conference, held at Bede’s School in Upper Dicker. The event was fully booked with more than 100 delegates attending.  Headteachers and Designated Safeguarding Leads provided  excellent feedback with positive comments on the relevance of the agenda and the quality of the workshops, including a workshop on “Toxic Trio” and safeguarding children with SEND.  Delegates also enjoyed watching an innovative theatre production about online safety ‘Click’ which is being shown in 40 East Sussex primary schools in March.  A big thank you to Bede’s for hosting the conference this year.

The East Sussex Quality Mark for Inclusion (ESQMI)

The launch of the East Quality Mark for Inclusion is designed to provide feedback which can directly inform school improvement.  The new tool will ensure that families are met with a consistently high quality offer for their child with SEND, regardless of their post code.

ESQMI was developed with school partners following a year-long review of High Needs Funding which identified the need in East Sussex for a core standards framework to help schools plan their SEND provision.

The ESQMI consists of a set of expected criteria that all East Sussex schools must have as part of their offer for children with SEND. A companion, Guidance for Developing Inclusive Practice, expands on the essential criteria. Next month we will undertake a QA health check of all schools in relation to the expected standard threshold for inclusion.

The tool will assist the identification of areas where the school could improve the quality of inclusion through factors such as high exclusion and poor attendance rates for SEN and/or vulnerable groups, and concern around progress and/or attainment data. Where required ISEND will offer support to schools so that they can retain the new mark.

The tool can also help to acknowledge and reward schools who are doing well for all their pupils including those who are disadvantaged and those with SEND. Schools will have the opportunity to apply for resource to develop an already enhanced area of provision, thereby becoming an excellence hub for SEND.

Danehill Primary School’s SENCo, Debbie Rowland said: "Initially, I thought that the ESQMI would be time consuming, however, it only took a short time to complete. The actions from the statements that were a 'no' have given me useful development points for SEN in my school."


New East Sussex Youth Cabinet

Thank you to school staff and pupils for taking part in the East Sussex Youth Cabinet election and helping to make it a success.

I am delighted to say that 21 secondary schools in East Sussex participated and each has a Youth Cabinet representative. This is due to hard work by school staff that ensured pupils were fully involved in the process, by candidates who put the time and energy into standing for the election, and by pupils for voting. 

We look forward to working with the new representatives in their campaigns, which are based on the Mark Your Mark national ballot of youth issues. Seventeen East Sussex schools took part, with 12,168 votes being cast. The top three issues were

  • end knife crime
  • improve mental health; and
  • reduce homelessness.

A  poster has already been forwarded to schools, so please display the poster so students can see who is representing them.

Democracy Awards

To recognize schools engagement in the Youth Cabinet election process, we were delighted to announce this year’s Democracy Awards:


Gold Award

  • Claverham Community College
  • Chailey School
  • Hastings Academy

 Silver Award

  • Willingdon Community School
  • St Richard's Catholic College
  • Seaford Youth Forum
  • Heathfield Community College
  • Kings Academy Ringmer
  • Seaford Head School

 Bronze award

  • Ratton School
  • Priory School
  • ARK Helenswood Academy
  • Uckfield (UCTC)
  • St Mary's Horam School
  • College Central
  • Frewen College
  • Cavendish School
  • St Leonard's Academy
  • Hailsham Community College
  • Peacehaven Community School
  • Michael Hall School

It is fantastic to see such a commitment to youth voice in East Sussex. Congratulations!

February is LGBT History Month

This month marks a celebration of the lives and achievements of lesbian, bisexual and trans people from our past and present who may sometimes be forgotten.

LGBT history month provides:

  • a focus on difference and diversity as part of schools' work on the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils
  • an opportunity to promote British values of respect and tolerance; and
  • an opportunity to meet duties under the Equality Act of fostering good relations.

For full details see the website. You can download resources and make purchases including badges and history posters.

You can also take advantage of:

Trans toolkit for schools

See the County Council’s Trans inclusion toolkit

Trans eLearning

Take a look at the Trans eLearning module – its suitable for all and provides a general overview of trans awareness. It explains some key terms and definitions and also addresses some commonly held misconceptions. The module is part of the ESCC equalities, diversity and inclusion learning pathway aimed at raising awareness for everyone.

Live training

A session for school staff  ‘Equalities: Working with Transgender and Gender Questioning Children and Young People for Schools’ is being offered on 1st March. The course is led by Allsorts, a Brighton-based organisation which supports young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* or unsure (LGBTU) of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This course will provide an insight into the lives of trans* and gender questioning children and young people and help participants support young trans* people develop a strong sense of identity. The course will share practical ways to make schools more inclusive by exploring trans identities, terminology and challenging transphobia. Make a booking through the portal.

Stuart Gallimore
Elaine Weddle
Marketing Communications Account Manager

Phone: 01323 463714