It has been a busy week connecting with the community on a number of levels, where I have attended and facilitated various events and round table discussions. The tragic deaths of young people in Camden, over the last couple of weeks has once again reminded everyone in our community of the importance of coming together, systemically, as members of the community to contribute to the promotion of the safety of young people. We all have a role to play and a responsibility in contributing to the agenda, where we are so well led and supported by our politicians, members, community leaders, schools and impressive young people. I met two of our young Deputy MPs on Thursday night at the Youth Safety Taskforce-one year on event, where Jessie Wernick and Asma Maloumi spoke passionately and articulately about the challenges that young people face and how we collectively need to come together. Asma has produced a hard-hitting video message, through spoken word (poetry) where she shares her thoughts on knife crime. Asma’s powerful video is well worth watching, reflecting and sharing.

On Thursday, Gill Morris and I met with ten parents from the community, to listen to their views and perspective on Relationships and Sex Education, helping us to understand their viewpoint and how we might work together to implement an agreed approach. It was another opportunity to work with our community, especially on the back of a torrid few weeks, where engagement and opportunity to consider problem solving together was valued highly.

One of the common themes at the various meetings I have attended this week, is that of pupil exclusion and that link to obvious inequality and vulnerability to greater exposure to the exploitation by gangs and potential pathway into crime and violence. If you listen to Asma’s video message, she powerfully describes the feelings of a young person who is excluded from school as moving from a position of ‘sparks flying to fire raging’.

As I have mentioned there is an increased focus on exclusions and exclusion data, both at a local and at national level with:

  • The rise in serious youth violence and the concerns and press coverage linking this to exclusions
  • The Timpson Report which raises the importance of school and Local Authorities having a shared understanding of the characteristics of the children who are excluded providing an opportunity to analyse and understand local trends to identify patterns, gaps in provision and use the data effectively to meet the needs of all children
  • The Council setting up a scrutiny panel to look at Camden exclusion data and local patterns, trends and intervention.

Camden Learning are now commissioned to manage the inclusion team and going forward we want to capture our live exclusion data, to give us an overview of which children are not in school and any shared characteristics, patterns and trends of those children. This will enable us to more helpfully use the data to inform current and future practice and provision; we can only do this with support from yourselves.

With this in mind, we have tweaked our Camden Exclusion Notification Form (see attached). The revised form has already been sent directly to staff in your school who provide exclusion data, but it would be helpful if you could ensure they have received the form and impress upon your teams the importance of accurate and timely returns. Thanks for your support with this.

Reminder that there is a secondary breakfast leadership meeting on Tuesday 24th September, from 8am-9am at 5PS, room 11.11. See you there.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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