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New Head of Services for Children appointed 15 June 2009

THE Department of Education is pleased to announce that Sally Brookes has been appointed Head of Services for Children with effect from 1st September.

The post has been created as the Department works with the Departments of Home Affairs and Health and Social Security to more closely integrate services for children.

Mrs Brookes will move from Ballakermeen High School, where she has been Assistant Headteacher since 2002, to take up the new, key management role within the Department of Education. Sally Brookes

She will report to the Deputy Director of Education and will have a pivotal role in raising standards in services for children and families.

The announcement of her appointment comes on the eve of the publication of the first ever Children’s Plan this week and ahead of the creation of an expanded Department for Education and Children.

Mrs Brookes qualified from the University of London with a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics and taught in schools in London and Bradford before joining the senior management team at Salt Grammar School in Shipley as Assistant Headteacher and completing a Masters degree in Education Management. On the Isle of Man, she has spent seven years on the leadership team at Ballakermeen High School, overseeing the large special educational needs team and completing the National Professional Qualification for Headship while also becoming involved in the wider community to improve outcomes for children and young people.

Mrs Brookes said:

‘Although I am sad to be leaving Ballakermeen, I am looking forward to the exciting challenges of this new role, where I will be working with an excellent team of people in a variety of fields. Our job is to ensure that, from the very beginning of their lives, we put in place everything that the children need, so that they can be the best that they can be, for the sake of our future society. We need to ensure that we work closely with all agencies involved to ensure that we utilise children’s services in a planned, cohesive and sustainable way for the benefit of the children and young people of the Isle of Man.’

Stuart Dobson, Deputy Director of Education, said there was a strong field of candidates for the post. He said of Mrs Brookes’ appointment:

‘We are delighted that Sally will be joining us in September to take up this new and important post, which will help us to make the best of our work on children and families with other Departments and efficiently and effectively manage some of our services for children.’

Mrs Brookes is married to Chris, who works in the Learning Resource Centre at Ballakermeen High School, and has a son, Tom, aged 17, who is studying in the sixth form there. Her interests include going to the gym, swimming, reading fiction and watching sport. She is a lifelong Leeds United supporter.

Further information on the role:

The Head of Services for Children will:

• lead the Department’s response to issues regarding the safety of children • spearhead Department initiatives to raise standards in services delivered to children and families

• produce an annual operational plan for services for children and present a monthly progress report to the Department

• ensure the identification, monitoring and tracking of looked after and vulnerable children and devise strategies to improve their attendance and achievement at school

• direct, co-ordinate and liaise with a range of teams including the Educational Psychology Service, the Pre-School Assessment Centre, the Sensory Support Service, Education Liaison Officers, the Special Needs administration support team and looked after children/Safeguarding Unit initiatives.

Background information

The 2006 report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Care of Young People included the recommendation that the Isle of Man Government improved the co-ordination of services it provided for children.

In May 2007, a Council of Ministers’ report on the progress made on implementing the Commission’s 132 recommendations agreed that the role of the Minister for Education would be extended to that of Minister for Education and Children. The report received Tynwald’s support.

In December 2007, the Council of Ministers agreed a draft implementation plan for the integration of children’s services, which tasked the Departments of Education, Home Affairs and Health and Social Security with working together to bring about change.

Last September saw the publication of The Isle of Man Children’s Services: An Update, which set out a framework for how the Isle of Man Government and voluntary agencies will work more closely together to ensure children and young people attain the five priority outcomes set out in the Chief Minister’s Strategy for Children and Young People 2005-2010: Staying safe, being healthy, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and prospering.

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