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Tue, 09 Jul 24 10:00

Review of children in need

Jenny Coles, ADCS Vice President, said:

“We welcome the focus of this report on closing the gap in outcomes for disadvantaged children and young people and their peers and the key role education plays in achieving this. The greatest gift we can give to our children is a good education that enables them to thrive. However, it’s important to recognise the wider context in which children live and the barriers they might face to success. Increasing numbers of children are coming to our attention due to domestic abuse, poor parental mental health and substance misuse, and soon child poverty in this country is expected to exceed five million. If children’s social and emotional needs aren’t met, if their families are struggling to afford basic things, such as food and rent, then how can we expect them to be ready to learn?

“Supporting children in need is a multiagency endeavour; it’s vital that all partners including local authorities, schools, health services and others work together to meet the unique needs of children in a joined up, holistic way. This Review has highlighted good practice by local areas in this space. It would be helpful if this could be mirrored at a national level.

“Many children face challenges in their lives, however if their educational outcomes are good and they are able to make progress at school then that provides a valuable cushion against poorer social outcomes in the long run. In its interim report, the government stated is preparedness to change policy where the evidence shows that is what is needed; the evidence is clear there is not enough money in the system to meet the level of need that exists in our communities. Local authorities are having to cut early help and other services our communities rely on, such as children’s centres, and more directly the removal of the Education Services Grant, is compromising our ability to meet the needs of children and families earlier, before they escalate. Cuts in other public services including schools and the police are impacting on children’s outcomes too. This report contributes to the growing evidence base on how disadvantage affects the future of young people. The most worthwhile action government can take to improve outcomes and life chances for all children, including those in need, is to provide long term, sustainable funding for the education and services they and their families rely on, with a strong focus on prevention.”


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