ECM schedule: 2009
Today my plan is to list - and comment on, if there's time - the very lengthy plans for ECM in 2009. I will at the very least try to identify any statutory elements, and any elements that might directly impact on elective home education. I think this needs setting out anyway, to make it clear in my own mind if nothing else, but I'm also hoping that studying the 2009 plans might make the present situation easier to understand.
So I'm working again from the dreaded 234-page long doorstopper of a pdf: The Children’s Plan One Year On: a progress report
Here's the pretty picture[link] from the front cover, to cheer us on our way:
See? They do care about the kiddies, so there's nothing to worry about. Ahem.
Here goes: [My comments in grey]
"Our priorities for 2009 are to:
- enshrine in law our commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020, and publish a route map for achieving this; They've done this already, and I blogged about it here. I don't think it's any coincidence that this point is at the top of the list.
- extend our offer of a free childcare place to more 2-year-olds, making sure more children benefit from early learning; Uptake of this generous 'offer' will presumably be made compulsory in due course, particularly for any non-working parents in receipt of Child Tax Credits.
- introduce new ways to support parents at times when their relationships come under strain, and give more support to children when family relationships break down;
- publish a new child health strategy, Healthy Lives, Brighter Futures, to improve children’s health services and set out plans to expand Family Nurse Partnerships;
- take forward the recommendations of the CAMHS review, and increase the number of areas in which mental health services for young people are provided through schools to 55 new areas, as part of our plan to make this nationally available by 2011;
- continue to invest in creating exciting spaces and activities that children and young people want to get involved with, with plans to deliver 500 new playgrounds by April 2009;
- further expand the number of short breaks for disabled children and their families, including those with the most acute needs.
- respond to Lord Laming’s report to strengthen the arrangements for safeguarding children; This report was apprently due for publication in February, but I can't find it.
- establish a new taskforce to strengthen and reform the social work profession, because social workers play a vital role in keeping some of our most vulnerable children safe; Yes, I'd be a bit worried if I was a social worker: seems like every Tom, Dick and Harry is going to be made an 'expert' in child welfare concerns.
- respond to the independent review of the impact of the commercial world on children’s wellbeing which will report in the spring; That should be interesting..
- require schools to record all incidents of bullying. They don't do this already??
- work with schools to help more parents get involved in their child’s learning, for example by ensuring that all new teachers are trained to work with parents; This is something else I was amazed teachers didn't already do. It reminds me of the time I walked into my stepson's class at the end of a school day in 1989, to find out why he'd been given detention. The teacher walked away and refused to talk to me! And they wonder why we home educate..
- Sir Jim Rose will make his final recommendations on the primary curriculum to create fresh momentum in raising standards in primary schools, strengthening subject knowledge alongside improved skills and understanding for children;
- schools will begin to offer one-to-one tuition on a national basis for children aged 7 to 14 and more young people will benefit from personal tutors; Yes, but how much? Not as much as home educated children get.
- begin to invest an additional £31 million to demonstrate best practice in improving outcomes for children with special educational needs, raising schools’ expectations and aspirations for these children;
- take forward John Bercow’s recommendations on improving speech, language and communication provision, backed by an additional £12 million. Here [opens pdf] is the Bercow report, and I think this [opens pdf] is the response to it. I'll read them both if and when I get chance.
- publish a strategy to help all primary schools to improve and ensure no child is left behind;
- National Challenge advisers will work with headteachers to improve standards in their schools, backed by £400 million;
- the new Masters in Teaching and Learning will be available to teachers in National Challenge schools to improve their professional skills and subject knowledge;
- set out next steps on achieving our vision for schools to deliver a 21st century service, with greater co-location of services and greater partnership between schools and other services – with a new School Report Card to help parents understand how their local schools are performing and a Schools White Paper in the spring. This is what I was blogging about on Saturday.
- introduce five more Diplomas and a national apprenticeships service to double the number of Apprenticeships, so even more young people can make learning choices that will take them on to future success. This is presumably part of the 'outlawing NEETs' programme, and the 'compulsory education until 19' one too, no doubt.
- publish, for the first time, guidelines on young people’s alcohol consumption, helping parents to help their children make sensible decisions about the amount they drink. "Helping parents to help their children make sensible decisions"?? That's hilarious!
- extend the Family Intervention Project into more areas, to work with the most challenging families where children and young people are at risk of poor outcomes; This is the part that worries me the most, after the anti-poverty thing. Two definitions to nail down: 'Family Intervention Project' and 'at risk of poor outcomes'. I think I'll work on doing that tomorrow, unless something more urgent crops up.
- ensure more youth facilities are open on Friday and Saturday nights.
- legislate to strengthen Children’s Trusts in every local area to ensure that all local services – including schools, health services and the police – work together to improve outcomes for children and young people."
I'm going to have to print it all out to read it properly and understand it well enough to make comments, because it's a jumble of html here for me. And it doesn't help that Blogger translates all the DCSF bullet points as "zz"! Quite. OK, I'm going to insert my own comments to the above in grey text.
The first and the last points are the only ones that directly mention legislation, so we will have to assume that the rest will add to the mountain of Public Service Agreements, each of which is a confusion mixture of statutory requirements ("MUST"), regulation ("SHOULD") and voluntary guidance ("MAY"), otherwise known as tiers one, two and three.
I plan to be back tomorrow with more on the Family Intervention Project and hopefully, which children are 'at risk of poor outcomes' - just in case it's ours.