Alan Brookes, headteacher at Fulston Manor School and chair of the East Area Board looks back at the past year and reflects on how KAH's role is changing.
An update from the KAH East Area Board:
As you know, one of the main reasons behind the establishment of KAH and its division into four areas is to provide a clear line of communication from every school directly into the centre of Kent County Council, with chairs sitting on the key central committees alongside, amongst others, the Director of Children’s Services and the Cabinet Member for Education. Given the weather conditions over the past two weeks there have been times when it was a challenge for schools to communicate with their own staff and parents; having lost four days to snow, a fifth to an absence of water and almost a sixth when the heating broke down, my memories of this are still raw! However, if we are to place headteachers at the heart of decision making in the county this is a challenge worth tackling and, whilst this is still a work in progress, I believe that we are moving in the right direction.
Two aspects which the East Kent Board have focused on this year have been out of county looked after children and the issues surrounding high needs funding. I was encouraged to learn that the first of these took up a significant proportion of the recent Ofsted visit to Kent, which does suggest that we have at least been successful in moving this issue up the national agenda. It was also good to hear Matt Dunkley describe the high needs funding discussion when he visited the East Board as “lively” which I believe could also be categorised as “a full and frank exchange of views” and should reassure you that KAH is fulfilling its key role of representing your concerns on important issues. It is very pleasing that Matt is keen to involve us all in finding solutions to this important and challenging problem, though I suspect that answers will be hard to come by.
In order that KAH may be truly effective it is essential that all headteachers are involved. Elections are due to be held shortly for all positions on area boards and I would encourage you either to put yourself forward for one of these roles or, failing that, to participate in the voting process in order to ensure that candidates selected represent your views and are accountable to you. If we leave it to others to decide our destiny for us we run the risk of continuing to be subjected to the model of Govian governance which we all “enjoyed” so much in recent years.
Headteacher, Fulston Manor School