Monday, March 02, 2009

ECM schedule: 2009

On Friday I struggled again to nail down exactly the entire statutory element of the ECM framework [opens pdf], though I think I'm edging closer to the answer.

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:

Children's plan one year on

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.


Blogger Pete said...

"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; "

Soooo, how about not forcing both parents out to work for a start then? Ah, of course, as long as you're middle class and up, you can afford to have one parent at home... so it's only the poor who are feckless enough to need both parents out of the house as long as possible, with their children in the holding centres...

9:50 am, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

Yep. Well, it's pretty feckless of them to be poor, isn't it? *Rolls eyes*

11:19 am, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:06 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Allie said...

Elaine, when you say:
"Too many parents are happy to have their responsibilities taken over by the state after all they are too knackered and have no real bond with their child who treats them with suspicion and mistrust"

I can't help but suggest that (maybe?) you are making the kind of sweeping generalisations that we object to so much when they are made about home educators? I know plenty of parents who use schools and a whole range of state services but who love their children dearly and have 'real bonds' with them.

1:57 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

*Too many* isn't saying *all* so just as well you qualified the suggestion with a maybe.

5:37 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Allie said...

Well, sorry, but I still think that it is not advisable to make those kind of claims about other parents and not back them with evidence. What does "too many" mean? Who are these people? How do you know about them? Are you sure you judge correctly their relationships?

When claims about home educators (as a group) are made with no evidence to back them up, we all (rightly) complain. Personally, I think there is a great deal to be lost if parents who do not home educate take the message from us that we think we care more about our children, or have better bonds with them, than those who use schools and other state services. It is not school using parents who are attacking us. In fact, we may have potential allies there.

5:49 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Gill said...

I take your point Allie. As parents, we should all be on the same side, because all of our families are under threat from the changes, IMO.

I don't think Elaine would dispute that: she was perhaps just expressing an understandably desperate feeling of exasperation wrt what it will take to persuade parents en masse to say "Enough".

5:55 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

Of course when spring bank is over and the kiddies return to school and bring home the letters informing their parents that the dentist will be pulling teeth on wednesday and a social worker who has chatted to their child will be calling to discuss the neglect that led to dental decay and that the cahms team has spoken to the older child and decided that the diet of beans on toast is impacting on their mental health .....well maybe they will wake up... but I doubt it ... In the gov led future there will be... too many parents are happy to have their responsibilities taken over by the state after all they are too knackered and have no real bond with their child who treats them with suspicion and mistrust... after spending 10hrs a day 48wks a year having to depend on age related peers and adults shared at a 30 to 1 ratio to know what family life is.
I wasn't going to bother qualifying my statement as I find the risk posed to home ed at the moment to be worthier of my time that I have spare but I couldnt sit back and watch somebody pull my well intentioned words apart and set them up in such a context. Could I suggest you just a publicly go and comment on Vijay Patel's slanderous attack on home ed and abuse of Victoria's memory? you come across very well.

7:44 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger cosmic seed said...

Actually Allie, I have experienced plenty of school using parents attacking me and my family. And I'll tell you why they've done it too - because they don't want their children asking them if they can be home educated too. This has happened, it still happens, and I think that Elaine has had plenty of experience of parents like the ones she talks of. I don't think that we will get anywhere setting ourselves against school using parents, but by the same tokn, I know I am not alone in being sick to the back teeth of having to just smile politely and bite my tongue whilst too many other parents feel they can atack our way of life with impunity. Perhaps the place in which you live is not generally representative of all areas of the country in this regard.

7:56 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Allie said...

Elaine, I'm sorry if you feel that what I wrote was offensive, or that I was misrepresenting you. In all honesty, the bit you have added that says "In the gov led future there will be" totally changes the tone of your comment. It then becomes a picture of a dread future. As it was written initially I genuinely read it as a condemnation of parents right here and now.

When it comes to other parents "attacking me" for home educating then I have, of course, had people question my motives and my choices in a very rude manner. But, then, I've had that about my choice to be a parent anyway. I have also had people being very defensive about their own choices - as if our choice to home ed was a judgement of them. But I do also know lots of families who would defend our right to home educate even though they choose to use schools. People can also move on this issue. My own mum (ex-teacher) found our choice to home ed difficult at first. She told me recently "J and I (her partner - another ex-teacher) are always telling people about how good it (home education) is. We'd march with placards in the street for you." Then she filled in a review response. This is someone who comes from a socialist background and worked in the public sector all her life. Seeing what home ed is about has changed her mind. If she felt attacked as a parent who used schools and taught in schools she would not have made that journey.

I'm not suggesting we all grin and bear the fact that people misunderstand us. I'm really not known for that ;-) But I do think that in condemning govt plans we shouldn't make the mistake of casting other people as their mere dupes.

10:22 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:43 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Elaine said...

I am not angry at other parents I am livid that communities have been dismantled, that the powers that be can not see merits in history , cannot see that small is beautiful .Gov have dismantled the communities and are now starting on the families. Gov will not look back and see how those small village schools were succesful , they cannot see that family and community bonds were what kept children safe.
Gov are searching for eutopia but if they stopped to think logic would tell them that eutopia must be small.

11:46 pm, March 02, 2009  
Blogger Allie said...

Yes, I reckon that utopia would be small too. But I guess I probably read history differently to you because I don't think that there was a time when "family and community bonds were what kept children safe". I mean, sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't. Sometimes they were what killed children and sometimes they still are. Sometimes that dire outcome is what happens when the state intervenes.

I think that communities were hugely transformed at the time of the industrial revolution. It was in post-industrial London that my own grandmother found herself in the care of Barnardos. That was an institution that grew up before any state provision. I'd argue that what created the need for it was unfettered capitalism - not a govt masterplan to dismantle communities.

I don't know what the answers are. I think they lie in an alliance of people who respect children as real people - no-one's property. Those people might be found in a number of places. I think that history is all about struggles between and among different groups. There is always struggle, always resistance, even against what looks like an unassailable opponent.

12:09 am, March 03, 2009  
Blogger Maire said...

Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.These may include interactions that are beyond the child’s developmental capability

Only read this far but have to comment. This is and excellent description and a vivid picture of what dyslexic and other differently wired children experience in schools

6:26 pm, March 03, 2009  

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