Welcome back to the autumn term; I really do hope that you and your staff managed to have a break, change of scenery and some down time, following what has been an extremely busy 18 months for our schools, who have been on the frontline for their communities.

I would like to start by congratulating our young people who received their vocational, GCSE and A level results, we were delighted with the results and there were some tremendous personal stories and achievements, we are very proud! I would also like to congratulate and thank the dedicated and committed staff, who worked tirelessly in preparing their students for their mini assessments and gathering the portfolios of work, as evidence to inform the centre assessed grades. This process was complimented by the sterling work of heads of departments who came together in a local approach to applying a set of principles for moderation, which strengthened the process and validity of outcomes.

Over the summer break, our secondary schools hosted summer schools for over a thousand pupils transitioning into Year 7, where they came together to form new friendships. Some students even went outward bounds to Cuffley camp to participate in team work activities and others worked with Ted Baker participating in a range of workshops. Ten primary schools hosted summer camps for their communities including fun activities, music, catch up and sports. Combined with the Summer university programme there has been a comprehensive summer offer for Camden young people which has been inclusive and expansive.

You will have seen the media news around the Afghan crisis and Camden’s has significantly developed over the last week. A large number of Afghan nationals who flew into the UK in the early hours of 27 and 28 August have been staying in one of the Department of Health COVID quarantine hotels in the borough. Those refugees will move on early next week (6-7 September) once their quarantine is complete. Because the Home Office is still mapping out the longer-term resettlement accommodation for Afghan refugees, they will be offering short-term accommodation to all evacuated Afghan refugees, in what they are calling a bridging hotel. The refugees will be able to stay in that bridging hotel until their resettlement accommodation is ready. The Home Office has opened a bridging hotel in Camden, which welcomed several hundred refugees on Thursday 2 September. This includes a number of children. The refugee’s stay in the bridging hotel is temporary, and once their resettlement accommodation is ready, they will move to there. This resettlement accommodation could be anywhere in the country. Camden is preparing an initial 5 properties to house Afghan refugees and are working to secure more. We will keep Heads updated on numbers and provision over next few days.

You will see further down in the bulletin an event for Primary heads who requested last term a session on Early reading and phonics, which is going to be held 22nd September 4-5:30pm. The session will look at phonics but will also consider the key messages contained within ‘The reading framework Teaching the foundations of literacy-July 2021’ published by the DfE. The document is essential reading for all Heads and leaders, where it covers early reading linked to language comprehension, the principles underpinning phonics, children falling behind and the importance of systemic school leadership.

I look forward to seeing many of you over the next month and I am hoping to join as many standards meetings as possible; you will be receiving your confidential school scorecard, which will inform the meeting and the range of important topics that will be discussed.

Jon Abbey

Managing Director of Camden Learning

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