What exactly is meant by ‘Every Child Matters’?
The concept of ‘Every Child Matters’ was borne in 2003 when the government published a green paper on the topic following the death of Victoria Climbié, the young girl who was horrifically abused and tortured, and eventually killed by her great aunt and the man with whom they lived.
It prompted an unprecedented debate about services for children, young people and families leading to a wide consultation with people working in children's services, parents, children and young people.
The end result culminated in the ‘Every Child Matters’ approach.
The aim of ‘Every Child Matters’ is for every child, whatever their background or their circumstances, to have the support they need to:
· Be healthy
· Stay safe
· Enjoy and achieve
· Make a positive contribution
· Achieve economic well-being
The key to the success of this approach is the emphasis placed on communication between the organisations involved with providing services to children - from hospitals and schools, to police and voluntary groups. Each sector is required to team up with the others in new ways to share information and work together to protect children and young people from harm and help them achieve what they want in life. Local councils will be assessed regularly on how they are achieving the outcomes above and the assesssment includes detailed discussions with local children and young people.
Most schools will have a member of staff responsible for each outcome above and they will lead the practical application of the approach in schools alongside the headteacher.
What are schools doing to meet their requirements?
The Every Child Matters agenda filtered down to schools in 2004 (as part of the Children Act 2004) and most schools will have an appointed ‘Every Child Matters’ Co-ordinator.
Schools are inspected on the contribution they make to pupils’ well being under the outcomes listed above and the value added services that they offer (particulary extended activies such as breakfast clubs or after school clubs). Schools must ensure that they are following the statutory DfES guidance on how to safeguard children from abuse and neglect and work closely with local LEAs in the development of children’s trusts (Trusts will work together with local partners from public, private, voluntary and community sectors to assess local needs, agree priorities and commission locla services to meet these priorities).
What does Teaching Personnel do to meet their requirements?
Ensuring staff recruited to work with children and young people are safe and suitable for the position.
As a holder of the DfES Quality Mark, Teaching Personnel are compliant with all DfES guidelines with regards to the recruitment for staff to work in schools. In addition to this, we follow REC and CRB guidance to ensure our vetting processes are of the highest standard. All our candidates are vetted thoroughly before working and continual audits and quality review processes ensure this standard is maintained throughout a candidate’s time with us.
Ensuring staff are aware of the ‘Every Child Matters’ approach and the key role they play in its success
Both of these points are addressed in our teacher forum entitled ‘Every Child Matters: An Introduction’. The forum includes an overview of the approach and practical applications of the process including identifying signs of abuse and neglect and how to report this to the correct staff.
For more detailed information on the approach and the many facets involved, please visit www.everychildmatters.gov.uk