Busy preparing for the new Peterborough term

Jonathan Lewis, service director for Education for PCC and CCC EMN-180519-081013009
Jonathan Lewis, service director for Education for PCC and CCC EMN-180519-081013009

The month of August is, of course, entirely taken up with the school summer holidays, so I don’t have as much news from schools to update you on as usual. writes Jonathan Lewis, Peterborough City Council director of education.

That’s not to say that the work of the council’s education team comes to a standstill at this time of year though.

There is much going on in preparation for the next academic year, such as finalising arrangements for children about to start school for the first time and those getting ready for their first day at high school in year 7.

August also sees GCSE and A-Level students receiving their exam results, so I would like to wish everyone involved the very best of luck.

This can be a highly stressful time, particularly for students who are unsure of their next steps – progressing into further education, going off to university or entering the world of work.

The Youth Access Hub, based at 49 Lincoln Road, offers independent help and support for 16 to 19-year-olds to help guide them through these tough decisions.

They can assist young people searching for jobs, wanting to improve their interview skills and boosting their CVs. They can also give advice on things like applying for benefits and housing.

The hub is open Monday to Wednesday between 1pm - 4.30pm. Pop in or give them a call on 01733 864500.

One local initiative that is successfully helping young people to develop career paths is the Greater Peterborough UTC. This University Technical College was opened in 2016 and focuses on providing training opportunities for young people aged between 14 and 19 who are interested in careers in engineering.

Pupils can join the UTC from year nine onwards and enjoy learning in the state-of-the-art facility, whilst continuing with their mainstream education at the same time.

UTCs are a new educational approach and are designed to help young people at a key age in their lives when they are developing interests and career aspirations.

So if you’ve got an interest in any aspect of the engineering industry, the UTC is a great option. Find out more on its website www.gputc.com

Earlier this summer we announced that a public consultation would get under way over the proposal to open Hampton Waters Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided School.

The consultation is scheduled to start on September 2 and will be run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia (RCDEA) through their website www.rcdea.org.uk/vaschools/

This follows a bid made for the school by the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia and although the proposal is still at an early stage, it is hoped the school could be open by 2022. We’ve said all along that we want to consult with residents before any final decision is made, so please don’t miss the chance to have your say.

Last week the Department for Education launched a competition to find the best educational apps for pre-school children as part of a drive to encourage disadvantaged parents to kick start children’s early language and literacy at home.

This follows plans by the DfE to provide free apps to disadvantaged families in 12 pilot areas – one of which is Peterborough.

Families in these areas will get free access to a choice of two of ‘the highest-quality apps’ focused on early language, literacy and communication.

These are designed to help parents think about how to use screen time constructively and provide meaningful learning activities for their children before they start school.

This is fantastic news. We want to help parents make confident, informed choices about the resources they use, so they can inspire a love of learning in their children from an early age.

During the final week of the summer term, we asked schools across the city to share the activities and achievements on social media using the hashtag #pbroroschools.

We had a fantastic response from over 20 schools across the city, highlighting the incredible amount of good work that they do.

The final week of summer term is always a special occasion and I was delighted that so many schools took the time to share their 
activities with us.