Thursday, 25 June 2009

Making Every Child Matters more practical

I have a column in today's Independent, arguing for a more practical focus to Every Child Matters, the government's drive to link education and children's services. Here's an extract:

Six years on, there is a sense that things are not working out. In his recent review of the Baby Peter case in Haringey, Lord Laming said the problem was that his ideas hadn't been introduced fully or fast enough. But head teachers fear that some of Laming's solutions are part of the problem. There may be worthy new "safeguarding" committees and "partnership working", they say, but you can't get hold of a social worker when you need one. The Government has professionals bogged down in "integrated strategy" and "inter-agency governance" but too little attention has been paid to the practical measures that could really make a difference. And heads' support for closer links between schools and welfare services has been turned into frustration as efforts to merge two very different professional approaches – that of the teacher and the social worker – are put into practice.

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