Tuesday night’s Camden Music Festival was an absolutely spectacular event, a headline read; ‘Camden pupils keep the beat going’ and whatever was going on around us, the show most certainly did go on. It was a wonderful occasion and the array of talent on show was overwhelming, with plenty of awe and wonder to soak up. If anyone is struggling for the definition of pupils thriving, they need look no further to the 2000 musicians and singers who put on a show to remember. I would like to thank the wonderful Deborah Rees and her staff for their hard work in getting everyone to such a high standard of performance and Gillian Tillbrook for organising a truly awesome event at the Royal Albert Hall. I am already looking forward to the event in the spring of 2022!

The Chancellor’s budget on Thursday was dominated by the coronavirus and many were anticipating there might be some further relief on the SEND pressures, but the education part of the budget was somewhat underwhelming. The plans for a further £780 million next year were cited and all but three Local Authorities (who applied) were given permission to move funding from other budgets to support the high needs block. Last month the DfE set out its plans to carry out an extensive review of the role of Teaching Schools (TS) and of existing system leader designations and have been testing and learning (since last May) the phase of new Teaching School Hubs (TSH) with the intention to roll-out nationally in 2020/21. This potentially has implications for us locally and across London. However, an optimistic line in the budget did suggest that the government will provide “an additional £7 million to support a total of 11 maths schools in England, covering every region”. This is on top of £18 million funding for maths schools announced in 2017. I am not sure how this funding will be distributed, but it would be great if a Camden school(s) could bid for the funding and become a designated maths school.

All being well, next Tuesday evening I will be attending the Camden Youth Achievement Awards at Camden House. This fantastic event is an opportunity to acknowledge, celebrate and give recognition to young people in our borough who have made significant progress in their own lives, achieved something substantial or have made considerable contributions to other people or their community. If you are attending, I look forward to seeing you there.

Finally, I appreciate that schools are being bombarded with questions about coronavirus and the various implications. There is a Camden Emergency Public Health Response Team, where Gill Morris and I represent the schools. We will provide any updates necessary and as we go to print, questions are being asked about the education trips abroad. The new guidance following the Cobra meeting, advises against overseas trips for under 18s, whereas trips for over 18s can continue. Guidance states that travel insurance may cover non-refundable cancellation costs, but heads should check their policy.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director, Camden Learning


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