ECS subject benchmark support statement
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ECS subject benchmark support statement

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Staying Safe Consultation Response Form The closing date for this consultation is: 31 October 2007 Your comments must reach us by that date. THIS FORM IS NOT INTERACTIVE. If you wish to respond electronically please use the online or offline response facility available on the Department for Children, Schools and Families e-consultation website (http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations). The information you provide in your response will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations, which allow public access to information held by the Department. This does not necessarily mean that your response can be made available to the public as there are exemptions relating to information provided in confidence and information to which the Data Protection Act 1998 applies. You may request confidentiality by ticking the box provided, but you should note that neither this, nor an automatically-generated e-mail confidentiality statement, will necessarily exclude the public right of access. Please tick if you want us to keep your response confidential. Name Heather Ransom Organisation (if applicable) National Children’s Bureau Address: NCB 8 Wakley Street London EC1V 7QE If your enquiry is related to the policy content of the consultation you can contact the Staying Safe Consultation Team by e-mail: staying.safe@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk. If you have a query relating to the consultation process you can contact the ...

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Staying Safe
Consultation Response Form
The closing date for this consultation is: 31 October 2007 Your comments must reach us by that date.
 
 
THIS FORM IS NOT INTERACTIVE. If you wish to respond electronically please use the online or offline response facility available on the Department for Children, Schools and Families e-consultation website (http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/consultations).  The information you provide in your response will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations, which allow public access to information held by the Department. This does not necessarily mean that your response can be made available to the public as there are exemptions relating to information provided in confidence and information to which the Data Protection Act 1998 applies. You may request confidentiality by ticking the box provided, but you should note that neither this, nor an automatically-generated e-mail confidentiality statement, will necessarily exclude the public right of access.
Please tick if you want us to keep your response confidential.  Name Heather Ransom Organisation (if applicable) National Childrens Bureau Address:NCB  8 Wakley Street London EC1V 7QE  If your enquiry is related to the policy content of the consultation you can contact the Staying Safe Consultation Team by e-mail:.vogkusg.isc.fefd@.gasayinst. If you have a query relating to the consultation process you can contact the Consultation Unit on: Telephone: 01928 794888 Fax: 01928 794 113 e-mail:t@ni.uontitaulnsku.vog.isg.fscdoc 
Which of the following best describes you:
 
Please Specify: The Earl Childhood Forum Forum is a coalition of 51 professional associations, voluntar or anisations and interest rou s, which meets five times a ear. The Forum aims to brin to ether artners in the earl childhood sector to debate issues, celebrate differences and develo consensus to champion quality experiences for all youn children from birth to eight and their families.  The Forums five work themes are: Championing childrens rights and entitlements  Supporting the training, education, and development of early childhood  practitioners and all who work with children Working in partnership  Addressing inequalities and valuing diversity Evaluating practice and ensuring quality    If you work with children or young people, which best describes the organisation you work in:
 
  
Please Specify:
Gener
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General Questions 1 a) How safe do you think children are?
 
Comments:   The consultation document provides evidence that children are safer in the UK than many other OECD countries and that childrens safety has improved in a number of areas.  However it is clear thought that some groups of children are not as safe as others and are more vulnerable to harm. Specific issues impact on black and other ethnic minority children around potential or perceived threats to their safety which range from bullying, racism, increased road traffic accidents. There are also particular issues which apply to gypsy and traveller children and young people such including prejudice, poor traveller site facilities and safe places for traveller and gypsy children. The forum is also concerned about the safety of children of asylum seekers and children seeking asylum and the extent to which these children receive su ort, re ardless of the le alit of their situation. It is important that those factors which make some children vulnerable to harm, and to what kind of harm, must be identified in order to ensure that these childrens lives are made safer.  Despite evidence that childrens safety has improved, there is a general  perception and fear among children, young people and parents that children are vulnerable to strangers, the internet and dangers in general. The Forum recognises the difficulty of the task to balance keeping children safe with enabling them to make decisions for themselves, take risks and explore and enjoy their childhood. Investment in the earl ears to enable oun children to develop protective skills such as strong communication skills, managing risk, understanding of difference is crucial young children staying safe.   1 b) How good are we at giving children and young people the opportunity to explore, understand risks for themselves and to learn the skills vital for their development? 
Comments:  The Early Years Foundation Stage provides a strong foundation for young childrens development and emphasises the importance of learning through play and also the role of play in its own right. If children learn about exploring and managing risk at a young age it will give them more confidence to continue to do this throughout their childhood. It will also help their parents become more confident that play, particularly outdoor play, is a crucial aspect of their childrens learning and development.  However the welfare requirements regarding outdoor space mean that a number of children will have very limited access to the outdoor environment, and particularly an outdoor setting in which they can play freely. This will limit their opportunities to explore, take risks and play freely.  It is clear that we are not good enough at ivin oun children the o ortunit to explore and understand risks when we have welfare regulations which reduce the ability of children to develop protective skills at an early age.    The Forum urges the government to reconsider the welfare requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage to ensure that children have easy and consistent access to outdoor play space at all times throughout their day in early years.    2 If you are a parent, what concerns do you have about your childrens safety and how do you address these? Comments: 
  
3 If you are a child or young person yourself, are the views of children and young people included here the same as yours and those of your friends? Comments: 
  4 a) As a member of the public, do you feel a sense of responsibility for protecting children?
 
Comments: 
  4 b) How can we build this sense of responsibility in local communities?
Comments:  One of the fundamental ways of building trust and responsibilities in communities is to ensure that they are fully involved in shaping and delivering services and their communit environment. There are structures to enable the involvement of the community. However there are many groups whose voices are not heard. Re orts BTEG, 2007, CRE 2007 conclude that black and other minority ethnic led organisations are not fully engaged in Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs).  An effective partnership requires a clear equalities strategy that sets out its vision, a commitment to challenging discrimination and championing equality issues across the statutory and VCS sectors a framework for strengthening the engagement and participation of VCS working with black and other minority ethnic and faith communities including resource allocation, a policy on targeted services, details of policies and procedures relating to equality impact assessments and monitoring and evaluation. The race equality duty applies to local authorities, and although a partnership is not itself bound by the race equality duty, local authorities are responsible for making sure that any of their functions or policies that are relevant to the duty, and are being carried out through the partnership, meet the duty. The Office of the Deputy Prime minister gives detailed guidance for monitoring partnerships success in engaging black and other minority ethnic communities and in delivering  services that meet the needs of multi-ethnic communities – written for the neighbourhood renewal agenda, but certainly transferable to other sectors.  The Childcare Act sets out clear duties to ensure that ALL parents and prospective parents access early childhood services, and crucially are involved in the shaping and delivery of services. If all Childrens Centres effectively reach out to the whole community this will help the development of relationships and partnerships which will enable all parts of the community to share in the responsibility to help children stay safe.    5 If you work with children and young people, do you know what your role is in keeping children safe?
 
Comments:  The Forum does not work directly with children and young people but all its member or anisations have a ver clear ethos around their role in hel in kee children safe.  The best way for children to be kept safe is to enable them to be resilient and experience risk and not protect them from everything. A greater understanding of children, their development and how to identify their needs must be an essential part of everyones training.  The Childcare Act is very clear on ensuring staff working with children are appropriately checked. The Act emphasises the nature of early intervention and the importance of identifying those young children and their families who need support much earlier. Childrens Centres should play a major role in helping keeping children safe. However there are concerns that professionals from social care are less involved in childrens centre development than originally hoped for and that in fact there are few social workers working with and/or from within childrens centres.  Listening to children is a new duty in the Childcare Act. This is a critical area for development. Children need safe environments where they are listened to, where they can explore differences and can express their fears. Practitioners  need more training and higher level of skills in order to employ effective strategies for listening to children. All early years settings must ensure that there is a listening culture (adult to adult; adult to child; child to child) to enable children to explore their relationships and differences within their community and to feel confident enough to express fears and anxieties. There is also recent research which indicates that children who expressed aspirations at age ten achieved more highly later on their lives, the ability to express aspirations and ideals may be a protective factor for children. A listening culture can promote children to develop hopes and aspirations.   6 Have we got the right balance between keeping children safe and also allowing them the freedom to develop?
 
Comments:   The Forum believes that without a strengthening of the Early Years Foundation Stage and the effective delivery of the duties in the Childcare Act (particularly the duty to listen to children) we cannot achieve the right balance between keeping children safe and allowing children the freedom to take risks and develop protective skills.  The Forum believes that a play based curriculum which helps children develop protective skills should be continued throughout primary phase of schooling and that the Early Years Foundation Stage should be continued into Key Stage 1. In Wales the Foundation Phase is being introduced and there is now an opportunity to further assess this development in relation to improving the development of childrens skills in exploring and risk taking. The review of EYFS should consider how the lessons from Wales could be applied.   Furthermore why does the Childcare Act duty to listen to children end on 31st August after their fifth birthday – is there any reason why this should be extended to ensure the listening culture is embedded within schools?   7 a) Are the roles and responsibilities set out in Chapter 2 correct?
 
Comments: 
  7 b) What should the role of central Government be, and what is the responsibility of local organisations and communities?
Comments:  We need to reduce the tar et culture of national and local overnment. Youn children, arents and ractitioners feel overwhelmed b the tar et culture and it has reduced the ability of practitioners to make professional judgements about the needs of children in their care.  Target setting has been used to drive up the quality of services but the Forum believes that a quality improvement approach can achieve higher quality services. Quality improvement s stems involve all staff, children and arents in striving to reach a shared goal. The process is crucial to reflecting on outcomes and in evaluating the efficacy of services. By engaging in quality improvement processes, rather than relying on targets, national and local overnment would draw in local communit rou s and would enable the whole  community was involved in the continuous quality improvement cycle.   8 How can local and central Government do more to protect all children by reaching out to minority communities and those speaking minority languages? Comments:  See 4(b) above There are concerns that the reduction in funding for ESOL groups will reduce the support to parents with English as an additional language which will impact on their ability to work and to support their child at school.  
  9 Are the areas we have identified for new action right? What other areas could be considered and what more could we do?