Every Child Matters is both a noble and powerful aim. It can, if it becomes a true collaboration between all the agencies (Schools,Social Services, Health Agencies, Charities, Youth, Community and the Police in particular) it can perhaps help to prevent the desperate consequences of muddled responsibilities that emerge periodically from tragic cases of child neglect. It can also support the greater achievements and welfare of all children. The substantial challenge lies in leading a large number of organisations to a point where the benefits of collaboration can be realised. It is surely right that schools are the focus for the ‘how’ and ‘why’, and although every child matters, we need to focus on success for the most needy. As Bernstein famously reflected ‘ Education cannot compensate for society’ – it may well have been true 40 years ago, we may, with our advanced welfare experience, just be able to create something different today. However, with the shrinkage of many Childrens Services, it may be up to leading schools and local clusters to take the initiative, an initiative that has the potential to deliver substantial benefits.
The logic of Maslow’s thinking http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs is surely that we cannot aim to educate in isolation of the other parameters for learning which relate to basic needs. Addressing the relevant factors is clearly a shared task for parents, schools, agencies and government.
P.S. It looks as if the Every Child Matters agenda has been cut off at the knees. This could just be the worst case of a false economy anywhere in the current maelstrom of cuts. Schools are one of the most efficient institutions in society and the comparitively low level of funds needed to provide an expert, sympathetic, targetted and locally co-ordinated approach, would have stretched a long way towards delivery of a preventative and supportive impact on child, young person and family welfare. Please read later blogs on Chord Centres as a further development of ideas on this subject.