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Termly Notification to Schools: Summer Term 2009

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The termly notification newsletter is designed to keep schools and their governing bodies fully informed of forthcoming consultations and documents sent to schools. This will help schools to forward plan and manage their workload.

Ministers Forward Look

Dear Colleague

You will notice that this termly notification includes a letter from Chris Tweedale, the new Director of Children, Young People and School Effectiveness group within the Department of Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills, (DCELLS).  I look forward to working with Chris to drive forward our school effectiveness agenda.  Chris’s experience and knowledge make him a welcome addition to the team.

There are many important consultations and guidance documents due this term, and I’d like to draw attention in particular to the Welsh Medium Education Consultation which is launched on the 13 May.  The Assembly Government has made a clear commitment in the One Wales Agreement and Iaith Pawb to promote a bilingual Wales.  Education is central to this commitment and Welsh-medium education has seen a tremendous growth recently, with many parents opting for early immersion.  The foundation phase provides a significant impetus in allowing children to learn and use Welsh from the age of three.  It is important that this Welsh-medium education can be continued throughout a child’s education into further education, higher education and lifelong learning.  Our education system should also be flexible enough for those parents and pupils who wish to take advantage of a Welsh medium education at any stage.  The strategy will look at the issue of measuring the demand from parents for Welsh-medium education and will ensure a proactive and strategic approach to planning places in Welsh-medium education.
 
The Assembly Government’s new guidance document Access to education and support for pupils with medical needs is due to be distributed to schools this May.  It will be accompanied by additional guidance, produced in collaboration with a number of voluntary organisations, offering best practice in supporting children with a range of common conditions.  In addition, I’m pleased to endorse a booklet which will be launched this Summer ‘Children with diabetes at school – what all staff need to know’ produced by Diabetes UK.  The publication has been part funded by the Welsh Assembly Government to raise awareness of diabetes in schools throughout Wales.  With diabetes amongst children and young people on the rise, I hope this guidance is useful in increasing understanding.   However, it should not replace the individual plan for each child, necessary to manage their condition effectively.  Further copies of the booklet and poster are available on request from Diabetes UK Cymru on 029 2066 8276 or wales@diabetes.org.uk

I have previously written about changes to the current vetting and barring scheme.  Information regarding the phasing in of the new scheme is now available.  Additional safeguards come into effect in October 2009 and from July 2010, those starting new roles working with children will be able to register with the new vetting and barring scheme.  Details of the changes can be found on the Social Care pages of the Welsh Assembly Government website.  Visit www.wales.gov.uk/health and follow the links.  If you register with the ISA website - www.isa-gov.org.uk, you will receive regular updates.  Information roadshows are planned for later this year which will give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.  Details will be posted on the website.

Swine flu is headline news at the moment.  We are continuing to monitor the situation closely and have robust procedures in place. A link to the guidance for schools on pandemic flu is available on the Welsh Assembly Government website. A link to the guidance for schools on pandemic flu is available on the Welsh Assembly Government website.  www.wales.gov.uk/learningproviders. We are working with colleagues here in Wales and at Whitehall to ensure that this will be kept relevant and up to date but the general advice to remember help prevent the spread of any virus is:

  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing,
  • use a tissue when possible,
  • dispose of dirty tissues promptly and carefully,
  • maintain good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to face or to other people,
  • clean hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product,
  • help your children to follow this advice.

I hope that many schools will get involved in VQ Day – an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of millions of vocational learners across Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom.  VQ Day 2009 will take place on June 24th. It will be the second annual event to celebrate vocational achievement in Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government is working with fforwm and the National Training Federation for Wales to raise the profile of vocational qualifications and ensure those who achieve vocational success are recognised. VQ day 2009 will showcase several vocational skills in a special event at the Senedd, Cardiff Bay.  Schools can download bilingual leaflets and posters to help promote VQ day from the Welsh Assembly Government website.  Visit the learning providers section at www.wales.gov.uk/learningproviders

I wish everyone a successful Summer term.

Jane Hutt
Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills