Last Friday Ofsted came to Camden for the annual engagement meeting where Martin Pratt, Anne Turner and myself provided a series of updates on the social care self-evaluation and education performance. I provided updates on school performance across all the Key Stages. There was of course a particular interest from HMI on the performance of phonics and early reading, where the clear message was the expectancy that all primary schools know the framework expectations at the end of KS1 regarding the seven evaluation criteria for phonics. Furthermore, there was a focused conversation on safeguarding and record keeping and ensuring young people are visible, relating to the off rolling and exclusions agenda. Ofsted were also interested in the engagement work with the Somali community around the Youth Safety agenda and the work at the Camden Reintegration Base. Finally, Ofsted did ask for some feedback on the new framework and were keen to enquire what our learning was from the few inspections we have had in Camden over the autumn term. I did acknowledge the greater rigour and emphasis on the curriculum, but did share some concerns I have heard from primary schools about the expectations on leaders during an inspection, around the challenges concerning the deep dives, and how the focus may fall on just one member of staff, who represents a ‘department’.

On Thursday morning, I joined a small group from the St Aloysius RC school community for their end of term Mass. This was a respectful and poignant event, as it marked the closure of the school, which has been in Somers Town since the arrival of Abbe Carron in 1799, when he established a Catholic school. Since the school was founded, over two hundred years ago, thousands of children have been educated and cared for by teachers, staff, the community and the church; the goals were to provide the best possible learning opportunities for the children in Somers Town. We wish all the pupils and the St Aloysius school community the very best as they build on the solid foundations and flourish in the next chapter of their lives.

This is the final bulletin of 2019 and so all that remains is for me to thank you all for your tremendous hard work and support, and wish you a restful and enjoyable Christmas break.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning

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