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Every Child Matters is a Government approach aimed to ensure all children, regardless of their circumstances or background have the support they need to: be healthy; stay safe; enjoy and achieve; make a positive contribution; and achieve economic well-being. This essay will explore the background of the framework, its aims and other relevant policies and legislation. I will then reflect on how ECM has affected my Local Authority and the school where I will be training. Finally I will then reflect on how ECM will inform my planning and teaching, and what it will mean to me as a professional in the classroom and in developing my practice.
In 2003 the Government released the original Every Child Matters: Green paper, it was a response to the Joint Chief Inspectors report on the findings of Lord Laming's (Victoria Climbie's death) public enquiry. It highlighted many failings from services to communicate and intervene. It set out proposals on how to address the issues of concern that had been identified and suggested measures that were needed to improve and reform childcare
The Green Paper identified four areas of action:
Support for parents and carers
Effective protection and early intervention
Accountability and poor integration
Reform of the workforce
The aim was to not only protect children but also to enable children to improve and fulfil their lives. The Green Paper built upon the foundations of Sure Start, aiming to eradicate child poverty and raising school standards.
The success of the Green Paper led to the paper being transformed in to Every Child Matters: The Next Steps. Alongside this and with the support of the Houses of Parliament, the 1998 Children's Act was reformed and adapted into The Children's Act 2004. This Act aimed to encourage. It also aimed to ensure that LA's (Local Authorities) were given more flexibility when implementing their provision.
One result of this act was the development of Local Safeguarding Children's Boards. These boards aimed to co-ordinate between all LA's in a local area in order to safeguard children. The Act also resulted in the formation of the Every Child Matters Framework
Every Child Matters: Change for Children, became a national framework. The title Every Child Matters was used to amalgamate all of the documents, that aimed to organise and deliver services that ensured every child and young person became an active member of society. There was also the aim of preventions as opposed to just dealing with the consequences. For this to work the framework suggested multi-agency collaboration from all those working with children and young people. Through this collaboration of services it would hopefully allow children and young people to achieve the five outcomes of the The Children Act 2004 (Section 10). Section 10 requires public services to ensure all children and young people are:
-Protected from neglect and harm
-Have the right to education, training and recreation
- Physical and mental health and emotional well-being
-Contributing to society
-Achieve social and economic well-being
These are summarised as enabling children or young people to: Stay Safe, Be Healthy, Make a Positive Contribution, Enjoy and Achieve, and Achieve Economic Well-Being. These five outcomes are referenced to throughout Every Child Matters. To ensure all children and young people progress against these outcomes, policies and practices needed to be developed and implemented.
The framework also focused on trying to ensure every child had provision regardless of their background or circumstances, and to enable children and young people to have a greater say about the issues and problems that affect them collectively and as individuals. This was evident in 2005, when the first Children's Commissioner for England was elected; this gave a voice for children. This was one action aimed to prevent problems rather than dealing with consequences. As well as this the framework was seen as an 'inescapable moral imperative' that it intended to assist a radical reform of services
In 2007 The Children's Plan was published, this aimed to build upon the Every Child Matters framework. The Children's Plan: Building Brighter Future was a ten year plan that aimed to centralise children and young people, and increasing the focus on parental roles and the wider communities. The Plan focused on the Children's Trusts, and believed that this was central to delivering quality, and set high expectations of them to deliver. The Children's Trusts had similar aims to those of the Local Safeguarding Children Boards, they both aimed to collaborate.
The Trusts take the child centred approach and use an integrated strategy of joint planning and commissioning, and pooled budgets. This inter agency co-operation aims to be sustainable by using a shared language and similar processes. Working in this manner means that the trust will hopefully be able to deliver a service that is very child centred, and has no restrictions from professional boundaries or any other existing agencies. Other frameworks, initiatives, acts and policies that have been a result of, or linked to, the Every Child Matters policy include Working Together to Safeguard Children (2006) and The Equality Act (2006).
My Local Authority has made many changes and developed many policies. The LA has developed a policy on e-safety, explaining the risks and what can be done to stay safe. They have also developed an Assessment and Response to Children System (ARCS). This explains the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) and how it aims to assess
The LA are also currently undertaking a consultation of the Thurrock's Draft Children and Young People's Plan 2010-2013 (CYPP). This is the revised plan is signed up to by many organisations that provide key services for children and young people in Thurrock (including the Council, the NHS, the Police, schools and colleges and the voluntary sector). It sets out the priorities for the Children's Trust, based on the analysis of the needs of children and young people, and what has been learnt through various consultations and interactions with children, young people, their parents, carers and professionals. These plans have to be prepared by every area in the country and the Department of Children Schools and Families (DFSF) provide guidance to help them do this. These plans will form the main planning document of all Children's Trust agencies, and partner agencies, meaning that whatever is done with children and young people in Thurrock it will contribute to achieving the collective ambitions everybody has for them.
Thurrock Children & Young People's Plan 2007-10, developed many policies such as Each Child, Every Young Person, All Agencies - Our Plan 2007 - 2010. This identified the priorities that were needed and the goals to be set in order for all children and young people in Thurrock to be able to achieve the five outcomes of ECM. It aimed to improve services in Thurrock over the past three years. The plan was delivered through the Children and Young People's Strategic Partnership (CYPSP), which aims to meet the need of children and young people in Thurrock. It sets out 12 goals that they aimed to achieve to be able to meet the ultimate five goals of ECM.
In January of this year 'A Review of School Improvement' was also conducted by Peter Wylie for Thurrock Council. It was a review of how effective school improvement services in Thurrock were, and it went on to propose options for the future whilst keeping in mind the local and national policy priorities.
One such policy: Your child, your schools, our future: building a 21st century schools system aims to create a school system. It is a system that aims to respond to changes in economy and society and enable every child to enjoy growing up, and develop their potential and talent. It also gives them the broad skills they will need for the future.
There are many guidelines, policies and legislation in place to ensure children are protected and achieve wellbeing, and each covers various areas and ensures multiagency collaboration. As a trainee teacher and a qualified teacher I will need to be aware of these because they underpin everything that I do. Within school and within my teaching and planning, the five key principles of the ECM framework must be at the forefront of my mind, they need to be at the heart of every aspect of the school, including.
Within Every Child Matters, at the heart of the curriculum it states that ECM requires teachers to be committed and passionate, and offer. It also states that teaching should include activities that are beyond the school, that involve parents and relate to real life experience. It also suggests. The curriculum is designed with ECM at the centre; the design features address all 5 aspects, such as ensuring children are given the opportunity to learn in many subjects, and in a variety of settings and environments. ECM is at the centre when considering and ensuring opportunities for events such as productions and sports days, and when considering the school's routines. Also when considering any extended hours, offering opportunities before, during and after school, and links with health and social agencies.
Young people's lives are centred around school, and they clearly have an important part to play in supporting children to achieve the five aspects of ECM. Schools need to take into account the needs of all learners when planning. I will now consider how each aspect is/can be promoted in the curriculum.
Schools can promote being healthy and staying safe by having a positive school ethos, which promotes inclusion. It should also follow many policies and procedures, to ensure children stay safe. When working as a Trainee Teacher and a qualified teacher I will need to be aware of all the policies that the school follows and ensure I am kept up to date with these. For example: safeguarding and health and safety policies. Some procedures for this might be: questioning any adults in the school without a name badge; and safety hinges on doors. I will also need to ensure I promote inclusion by methods such as personalisation.
The school in which I am training tries very hard to ensure that children stay healthy. They have gained the Healthy School Award and have recently been given The Sports Unlimited Award. The school now offers a range of after school and lunchtime clubs, and provides healthy snacks for Foundation Stage and KS1 children. The school also brings in coaches to take P.E. lessons, to motivate learners and teach them the sport that they are experts in. Drinking water is provided throughout the day and each child has their own water bottle for them to drink from when in lessons. The school also actively promotes walking or cycling to school, and conducts cycling proficiency for pupils. Over the past year lunchtimes have become more structured with MDA and LSA's taking structured activities. Another good initiative that the school has adopted is the use of peer buddying and mentoring, with each adult in the school mentoring at least one child that is in need. The school also provides opportunities for learners to grow vegetables. As well as having regular assemblies taken by police officers and visits from health workers. The school makes many links between the community with visits to sing at old people's homes and links with reading schemes through the library.
When I am planning and teaching I will need to ensure that I use circle time to explore health and personal issues as well as encourage debate and peer decisions. I could also provide a quiet area within my classroom where children are able to take time out. Opportunities should be given to promote and encourage and to learn to be healthy in many subjects. I will need to be aware of this and apply them in my teaching. A few examples include: allowing for leaner's to be empowered through making their own decisions, encouraging diversity, respecting difference and teaching them about their own identity, and using mathematics to investigate data on diet and health. History could also be used to explore community history and individual identity.
Schools have the responsibility to ensure children are able to enjoy and achieve whilst staying safe when they are at school, through a wide range of policies and procedures. For example rules for how to use equipment safely, safeguarding, carrying out risk assessments, and bullying policies. However the staying safe element of ECM goes much further than the school and it is about.
The school in which I am training provides many opportunities to ensure children are able to stay safe. They provide day and residential trips and set rules around the school based upon the schools Core values. With the increase in the use of the internet, the LA have also developed a policy for E-safety. The school provides mentoring and home work clubs to ensure the learners don't fall behind with work and also provide pupils with the opportunities to discuss any issues they may have. The school also has a council that acts as the student voice and gets learners more involved in the school. The school also encourages confidence for children to speak out, and uses role play, performances and presentations to promote this. The school uses visits from outside professionals, such as community police officers, and before any school trips, a safety check has to be conducted.
There are also many opportunities to promote staying safe in the subjects that are being taught in my school. For example art, and design and technology could be used to promote safe practice and managing risks that may occur. ICT could be used to develop safety, such as questioning information and how to sit correctly at computer, i.e. .posture. When Teaching I need to be aware of how I can incorporate staying safe in my planning and in my classroom. I would also need to use the schools Core Values to assist safety and set class rules with the children. I will also need to take some responsibility in ensuring the school is safe, because it is everybody's responsibility not just the head teachers or senior managers. I could use stories in my class to deal with behaviours such as bullying and challenging stereotypes, resolving conflict and consequences.
Schools need to ensure every child is making a positive contribution by ensuring the environment is created to encourage all to participate. They also give learners a voice, and vary in teaching strategies. The school where I am training has a school council that provides the children with a voice to speak out. In the Every Child Matters, at the heart of the curriculum booklet it states that if the children are aware that they have the opportunity to enrich the lives of others and support and care for them, and ultimately change things for the better, then they are much more likely to be more sociable beyond the school gates.
The school I will be training at provides opportunities across the curriculum to ensure children give a positive contribution. The school council gives the opportunity to make decisions such as what equipment shall be built in the playground. It is important that children are able to make choices that have a true impact. Learners are also given various responsibilities around the school such as being responsible for the library, putting books away or giving them out, watering and looking after the garden, and collecting the register. They also encourage learners to participate in clubs and projects around the school. The school offers various clubs and everybody participates in the Christmas plays, as well as using buddying and mentoring schemes. They make links with the community through projects such as Christmas singing and also use such projects to raise money for charities.
I will need to be aware of these points to ensure that I incorporate them into my classroom, for example by giving children responsibilities. I will also need to be aware of the ways the children can offer a positive contribution in certain subjects, such as promoting group work in English, including listening, speaking and responding to others, or encouraging children to contribute to a performance in music. When I am teaching I will need to ensure I enable and provide children with an opportunity to speak out and tell me the support they need, and provide an environment which is created for all to be able to participate in. I could use various methods to promote positive contribution such as using talk partners, incentives and mentors.
Enjoying and Achieving is promoted in schools by lessons always taking account for different learning styles and abilities, thus ensuring that learners enjoy their learning.
To ensure they enjoy and achieve, I may need to refer a child that may need more specialist help, research any needs they may have, differentiate and personalise my lessons, and celebrate achievements. If children are enjoying learning and have good supportive relationships, they are more likely to achieve. Every child has a talent, and it is the responsibility of the school to uncover these talents and ensure that all young people view themselves as a success and can live a fulfilling life.
This means that the curriculum needs to be full of challenges and surprises. Children need to be able to build upon their own aptitudes as well as being able to enjoy what they are learning, and should be given opportunities to take on responsibility, whilst always considering each child's individual needs. The school that I am training at offers the pupils many opportunities to achieve and enjoy across the curriculum. The school gives each year group a topic every term, this allows children to see links between subjects, and provides them with opportunities to deeply explore issues. The school provides many trips from adventurous activities to historical sites, and provides opportunities for children to participate in the community through activities and projects. The school also provides many opportunities for children to demonstrate their skills through concerts, plays, and sports, and uses an achievement wall to praise children that achieve and/or participate, as well as having achievement assemblies once a week. In the achievement assemblies many awards are given: sporting awards; awards for effort; knowledge and reading; or anything else that is considered an achievement. The school also provides catch-up lessons and additional support through lunchtime and afterschool.
I need to ensure that I see the school as a learning community and that I see myself as a lead learner. I will need to ensure that I provide opportunities for children to explore deeply and widely. When I am planning I will try and ensure to incorporate the children's interest into lessons, and I will also need to ensure I arrange trips to help them to enjoy and achieve. I will need to try and use experts and organisations when teaching, and reach out and use parents where possible. I will also need to fully participate throughout the school to ensure I assist in allowing children to enjoy and achieve.
There are many opportunities in lessons where I can plan to ensure children enjoy and achieve. In PSHE I could provide practical learning activities that relate to real life. I could also use real life situations in mathematics or use investigation games and strategies. I will need to be able to incorporate and ensure the children 'enjoying and achieving' is at the heart of my teaching and planning. I must understand that it isn't about just teaching the lesson; it is about them understanding, enjoying and learning from the lesson.
Economic wellbeing is about contextualising learning by relating it to the real world, and learners see the value of their learning. It also helps learners to create a. This means that children can achieve a great sense of satisfaction from being responsible for their own future.
The school where I will be training uses many opportunities in the curriculum to help children to achieve economic wellbeing. The school provides learning opportunities for children to fundraise, in school or in an outside school setting. The school also encourages children to take on jobs in school such as taking responsibility for the school library or collecting the register. The school also provides leadership opportunities for pupils, such as becoming mentors or part of the school council. The school also actively promotes and embraces cultural difference and diversity. I could help children to achieve economic wellbeing by making them responsible for their dinner money and make it their responsibility to work out any change. I must ensure I encourage children to take on responsibilities in the school and in the class.
There are many opportunities for learners to achieve economic wellbeing in subjects. For example I could use English to develop communication skills, and expressing views and ideas effectively. Learners could also develop their skills in obtaining information, analysing it, and evaluating it in science. P.E. could be used to teach children to work both as an individual and as part of team.
When considering my personal development, my priority is to learn how to plan correctly, ensuring I use various learning environments and take into account the different children's contexts. I will need to sit down with my School Based Trainer and maybe the class's last teacher, and consider each child's context. I will then be able to use this to personalise and differentiate planning. It will also inform me of the children's interests, this will help me to plan for their interests and ensure they enjoy the lessons.
ECM has greatly affected education and the way teachers teach. It has impacted many areas from, planning, safety, and dealing with behaviour. It has played a major part in radically reforming many children and young people's services and lives. It is important however to not only praise the policy but also to criticise the policy in order for it to be developed and improved. This can be seen in the development from the Green Paper. At every stage the original policy aims were evaluated and then reset. For ECM to fully achieve its aims it is important that there needs to be multi-disciplinary work, and that teams and colleagues need to continuously reflect and evaluate. The overall effect of Every Child Matters and been massive, and I'm sure that the results will continue to be seen for many years to come.