Welcome from Yvette Stanley, Merton's Director of Children's Services
I am very pleased to be able to open this edition of Young Merton Together with the result of the Ofsted inspection of our children's services that took place during June, one of the best results in the country.
Ofsted found that our children's services are 'Good' overall, with the Adoption service, and leadership and management rated as 'Outstanding'. Our Merton Safeguarding Children Board was also rated as 'Outstanding'; just one of five in the country.
The report also highlighted many areas of good practice in Merton including our support to unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people; Effective CAMHS support in children's social care and the Virtual School for Looked After Children. It also noted some innovations which are in development including Family Drug and Alcohol Courts (FDAC), and the 'edge of care' service.
During the last week of the inspection we were visited by Robert Goodwill MP the Minister of State for Children and Families. His letter of thanks to the Leader of Merton Council after the visit, and after the publication of the Ofsted report in August, highlighted that 'the services vulnerable children receive in Merton are often impressive and in some cases outstanding'.
The very positive inspection outcome is a testament to colleagues in the council and those working in organisations across Merton's Children's Trust. I would very much like to extend my thanks to all of you for your commitment and contribution to making Merton the very best place in which to live, learn and grow.
In addition to Ofsted related good news stories, this month's edition is packed with examples of the great work that continues to go on across the borough, showing that while we are celebrating our success, there is certainly no evidence of 'resting on one's laurels', and that our commitment to continuous improvement prevails.
Our school exam results have continued to rise this year for Key Stage 4: A strong performance by pupils in GCSEs and Key Stage 5: Summer's A' level results in Merton above national average. Additional stories from schools include updates from the secondary phase: Ursuline, Wimbledon College, Ricard's Lodge, St Mark's Academy, and Cricket Green Special School; and the primary phase: Benedict, and Malmesbury. These illustrate how schools continue to go the extra mile to support their pupils and provide incredible opportunities for them to enjoy and achieve.
On the theme of health you can read about: Changing minds about teenage mental health; All Together United Against Bullying; Join us at our next Child and Adolescent Mental Health Network Meeting; Ask About Asthma campaign; Health Matters website for community health; and an update from Merton Public Health.
On the theme of user voice this edition includes: Merton Youth Parliament preparing for the Police Think Tank; Empowering families to transform their lives; Kids First Forum for parents of children with SEN or disabilities; and an update on the Merton Volunteer Police Cadets.
We also have information about a number of events that are coming up in October including National Adoption Week, and Merton Foster Carers' Association - Black History Month Celebrations.
It just remains for me to highlight that we have now launched our new Child, Young Person and Family Well-Being Model (MWBM) 2017, which comes with a refreshed graphic of the model, and a restatement of our Children's Trust ambitions and values. This information will be followed up by tools and training to support the model during the 2017/18 academic year. This will ensure greater understanding across the network, of our children's social care systemic approach and utilisation of 'Signs of Safety' as a tool for arising risk and vulnerability, and improving communications and direct work with families.
I wish you well for the coming months, and look forward to introducing the next edition in late November.
Warm wishes, Yvette.