Welcome from Yvette Stanley, Merton's Director of Children's Services
As this is the ‘end of term’ edition of Young Merton Together I wanted to draw your attention to the articles that illustrate the fascinating learning and enjoyment opportunities that schools offer to Merton’s children and young people: ‘Enabling Enterprise’ at Malmesbury Primary; Poplar Primary’s new scooter track; Hillcross Primary’s inspiring ‘music week’; an update from Cricket Green Special School; and Singlegate Primary’s success in the borough’s bowls competition.
And, I am very happy to be able to congratulate Rutlish School on being graded as ‘outstanding’ in their recent Ofsted inspection. The report states that ‘the uncompromising leadership of the headteacher and his senior leaders has created a culture which is highly aspirational’ and that ‘pupils have excellent attitudes to learning and are very proud of their school’ amongst many strengths. In Merton currently 100% of secondary schools are rated as ‘good’ or better by Ofsted.
On the theme of inspections I am sure that most of you know that Ofsted have just completed a four week inspection of our children’s services. This was an opportunity for us to present to the inspectorate, evidence of the effectiveness of our services and arrangements to support children in need of help and protection, and looked after children and care leavers, as well as the work of the Merton Safeguarding Children Board.
Throughout the inspection it was our aim to demonstrate: our commitment to multi-agency partnership working; effective strategy and planning underpinned by performance management and needs analysis; skilled ‘child and family centred’ practice, underpinned by clear policies and procedures and effective oversight; and our culture of using continuous self-evaluation to inform service improvement and professional development priorities.
While the inspection report and the final grading will not be available the end of August, after Ofsted’s internal moderation process, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all staff across Merton’s children’s trust services who directly supported the inspection process, and to those of you who rooted for us from the sidelines.
On the theme of safeguarding this edition includes articles on: An update from Keith Makin, chair of Merton’s MSCB; Resources for schools on tackling FGM; Early Help guide for practitioners; South West London Adoption update; Merton’s information pages on domestic violence; Merton Transforming Families’ Lives; Are you looking after someone else's child?; and Trans inclusion in education.
On the theme of ‘user voice’ you can read about: Merton’s new Children and Families’ Voice Framework; Merton’s Young People’s Participation and Engagement Team; Merton Youth Parliament: a new manifesto and more; Young Advisers to explore policing and youth crime reduction; the Jigsaw 4u annual art exhibition; LGBT+ forum newsletter; an update from; Merton’s success in the Stonewall Equality Index 2017; and A word from our Children in Care Council.
‘Health’ related articles include: Public Health update – Championing Healthy Schools London (HSL) Status; 10-minute shake-ups to start the day a healthy way (from Change4Life); Great Weight Debate Merton Hackathon; and Merton Active plus school holiday activities. And on the theme of economic well-being you can find out about: Merton’s Volunteer Police Cadets; The SMART Choice programme end of year celebration; an extended entitlement (30 hours) of free childcare for 3 and 4-year-olds.
Thanks again to all of you for your enduring commitment to improving the lives of Merton’s children and families, examples of which I am proud to be able to showcase here.