1.3: FUNCTIONS OF EXTERNAL AGENCIES
I have a responsibility to help the children in my care achieve the 5 outcomes of the UK Government Initiative Every Child Matters (ECM) – Be Healthy, Stay Safe, Enjoy & Achieve, Make a positive contribution and Achieve economic wellbeing. It is important that I contact and utilise other professionals to help achieve these outcomes. This is where multi-agency and integrated working comes in. By working together with different sectors, professionals and agencies I can help improve the outcomes for children in their developent and learning, which is a requirement of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).
There may be times when I am not the only setting a child attends and this can sometimes cause the child some confusion and possibly upset at the transitions between settings. If everyone involved in the child’s care can share key information about the child such as their likes and dislikes, developmental stages it means that the child will have more consistency and feel more included and provided for at each setting. When a child in my setting is due to start at another setting, for example pre-school or reception. I try when possible, with permission of the parents to arrange for myself to take to child and visit the new setting.
As an Early Years setting I have external agencies that I could be involved with: A local education authority (LEA) is a local authority in England and Wales that has responsibility for education within its jurisdiction. Since the Children Act 2004 each local education authority is also a children’s services authority and responsibility for both functions is held by the director of children’s services.
Local education authorities have some responsibility for all state schools in their area. * They are responsible for distribution and monitoring of funding for the schools * They are responsible for co-ordination of admissions, including allocation of the number of places available at each school * They are the direct employers of all staff in community and VC schools * They have a responsibility for the educational achievement of looked-after children, i.e. children in their care * They have attendance and advisory rights in relation to the employment of teachers, and in relation to the dismissal of any staff * They are the despondent owners of school land and premises in community schools.
Until recently, local education authorities were responsible for the funding of students in higher education (for example undergraduate courses and PGCE) whose permanent address is in their area, regardless of the place of study. Based on an assessment of individual circumstances they offer grants or access to student loans through the Student Loans Company.
Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED) – is the non-ministerial government department of Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Schools In England. They inspect provision of care in the setting. They ensure all practitioners are up to date on training, that they are providing a healthy and safe environment for children and following the EYFS. Ofsted provide support and advice for staff and the setting itself. Social services – are organizations that assist people in need.
There are many different types of services that they perform. The main functions of social services include assisting people with issues in their everyday lives such as dealing with their relationships and solving personal and family problems. Some social services also assist clients who face a disability or a life-threatening disease or a social problem such as inadequate housing, unemployment or substance abuse.
The Early Years and Childcare Service has responsibility for ensuring that high quality early years, childcare and children centre provision is available and accessible to all families with young children. The Advisers provide advice on all areas of work, for example, Ofsted registration and inspection requirements, sustainability and business advice and provision development. They help parents to find local chilcare and deal with childcare cost. Behavioural Support Service (BEST) – A behaviour support service is part of the LA and works in partnership with schools, within a framework of inclusion, to help them promote positive behaviour, and to provide effective support to pupils, parents and schools where behaviour may be a concern.
Playwork is a highly skilled profession that enriches and enhances children’s play. It takes place where adults support children’s play but it is not driven by prescribed education or care outcomes. Playworker jobs with children can be found in a range of settings, including: * Adventure playgrounds
* Play centres
* After school clubs
* Holiday play-schemes
* Mobile play-schemes operating from buses and vans.
Play rangers work with children in parks and open spaces and, in some areas, play workers can be found in schools.
Youth justice system in England and Wales comprises the organs and processes that are used to prosecute, convict and punish persons under 18 years of age who commit criminal offences. The principal aim of the youth justice system is to prevent offending by children and young persons.
Police – In cases of emergency the police will provide help and support. They will be contacted if a problem arose such as child missing, breaking an entry, suspicious persons and they may also be a point of contact if there is a suspected case of abuse or violence.
Further education (FE) covers the types of education which go beyond what has been achieved in compulsory education, but which are not at degree level (Higher Education). Typically, further education includes A levels, AS levels and vocational qualifications.
The government aims to make sure that further education provides the skilled workforce employers need and helps individuals reach their full potential. To improve quality and efficiency in FE and skills training, the government is: * introducing a new funding system based on student loans: it’s for people aged 24+, studying at levels 3 and 4, or for advanced and higher apprenticeships * freeing colleges from central government control
* improving apprenticeships
* making FE teacher training more professional
* providing better careers advice
* introducing a new traineeships programme to support young people, aged 16 to 24, to develop skills for employment, including apprenticeships.
Youth work is community support activity aimed at older children and adolescents. It helps young people learn about themselves, others and society, through informal educational activities which combine enjoyment, challenge and learning.
Youth workers, work typically with young people aged between 11 and 25. Their work seeks to promote young people’s personal and social development and enable them to have a voice, influence and place in their communities and society as a whole. Local authorities, of which there are some 150 in England, are responsible for ensuring that youth work is provided in their area.
NHS & Health Services – They provide a comprehensive range of health services, the vast majority of which are free at the point of use to residents of the United Kingdom. They provides us with up to date information about any illnesses and medical outbreaks such as measles etc. NHS services:
* Emergency and urgent care (trauma services, walk-in centres)
* Hospital services (choosing hospitals, giving consent to treatment and aftercare).
* Dental services (advice on how to find a dentist, the costs of dental treatments and where to complain)
* GP services (GP services, how to register and book an appointment)
* Pharmacy services (information about the new medicines service and prescription costs)
* Eye care services (sight tests for children and optical vouchers)
* Sexual health services
* Mental health services
* Social care services.
Health Care Professionals – Where a child has a developmental need, we often work with a range of health professionals such as speech and language therapists (SLT). Their function is to provide information and advice using different methods to help the child overcome or improve a difficulty. The SLT assess and treat speech, language and communication problems in people of all ages to enable them to communicate to the best of their ability. They may also work with people who have eating and swallowing problems.
Speech and language therapist also work closely with teachers and health professionals including doctors, nurses and psychologists. How they can help a child:
In speech-language therapy, an SLT work with a child one-on-one, in a small group, or directly in a classroom to overcome difficulties involved with a specific disorder. Therapists use a variety of strategies, including:
• Language intervention activities
• Articulation therapy
• Oral-motor/feeding and swallowing therapy
The speech therapist should have regular contact with the child, parent and GP to ensure the best possible outcome for the child. We can contact health professionals at any required time or if an issue arises within the setting.
Sport and cultural services designed for children and families – such as libraries, play schemes and play facilities, parks and gardens, sport and leisure centres, events and attractions, museums and arts centres – are directly provided, purchased or grantaided by local authorities, the commercial sector, and by community and voluntary organisations. Staff, volunteers and contractors who provide these services have various degrees of contact with children who use them, and appropriate arrangements need to be in place. Sport and physical activity can make a major contribution to health promotion and disease prevention in areas such as overweight and obesity, diabetes and cardio-vascular diseases.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is responsibility for culture and sport in England, and some aspects of the media throughout the whole UK, such as broadcasting and internet.
1.4: COMMON BARRIERS TO INTEGRATED WORKING
In my role as early years practitioner I will know that teamwork can sometimes be challenging. Multi-agency practice takes place where children spend most of their time and feel familiar – this could be a children’s centre, school, village hall, health centre etc.
But it is important to understand what some of the barriers to effective working might be:
* Lack of understanding of roles and responsibilities – Where people have been clearly trained for a role they may find it odd to be managed by a person with different skills and expertise (which could happen in settings such as children’s centres) * Time constraints – If agencies do not have sufficient time to communicate and share the correct information needed to understand fully. * Multitude of contacts within the working environment and multi-agency teams – There may be confusion as to which agency best meets the needs of the task. * They may behave in a different way in dealing with risks and have different priorities in their work with children.
* Different professional values and ethos – Practitioners have different ways in which they believe a setting should be run, they may not be used to sharing their expertise and knowledge. If there are conflicts between ideas it could be a barrier to working effectively. * Different priorities – Some settings may view different situations or issues with different values and prioritise in a way others may not be familiar with. * Each profession may have their own language – terms they use that only recognised by their profession. * Terms and conditions of employment – They have chosen a specific profession and may feel upset that they have to widen their working practice and find new ways of working.
In order for this to be successful it is important that each profession is respected and the knowledge they have is seen as a valuable asset to any multi-agency work. Professionals will need to have forums so they can share their practice.
Sharing information is vital for early intervention to ensure that children and young people get the services they require. It is essential for safeguarding and protecting the welfare of individuals and for providing effective and efficient services that are co-ordinated around the needs of an individual or family. It is important that practitioners understand when, why and how they should share information so that they can do so confidently and appropriately as part of their day-to-day practice.
When different professionals begin to work together some barriers can appear. In order to remove or minimalize them, settings need a person who coordinate communication and activities. Lead professional is a person who takes responsibility for integrated services and support to children. They act as a point of contact for a child and their family when a range of services are involved and an integrated response is required. In order to improve their cooperation they encourage professionals to take part in joint trainings and joint team meeting. Taking part in that kind of meeting will help them to understand their roles and responsibilities and also improve their integrated working (they can give some suggestions, discuss their concerns etc.).
1.5: REFERRALS BETWEEN AGENCIES
It’s important that referrals are made in order for the child to get the best possible outcomes and by practitioners doing observations and recording evidence this is made possible for the child to be referred to the correct professional, for example; a child with hearing difficulties mat need to be referred to a support service for deaf children or children who have impaired hearing.
It’s important to identify the need for additional support as early as possible without it the children will not get the help they need at the right time and this could have an affect on the child’s well being. We must get the parents permission for any child to be referred and keep them well informed. Early intervention teams have been set up in England to work with children with additional needs from birth to the end of EYFS. The early year’s intervention team will be part of the multi-agency panel enabling referrals to be made between settings. Early year’s intervention team promote inclusive practice, provides advice support and training in settings, supports transitions into schools, ensures that parents are fully aware of and involved in any referral process and they liaise with parents, carers and multi-agency professional.
Every Child Matters is a programme to deliver improvements to the whole system of children’s services – locally and nationally. It sits alongside the Children’s Act 2004 which provides the legal support to make these changes possible.
Every Child Matters – Making It Happen: Working together for children, young people and families (2008) Making It Happen has been published to support the development and implementation of more effective front-line integrated working practice across the children’s workforce. The aim is to raise awareness of the tools and guidance available and show how the separate initiatives work together to support effective practice for everyone who works with children and young people.
Every Child Matters: Change for Children was published in 2004 following wide consultation with children, parents, young people and those working in children’s services. It sets out a national framework for local change, led by local authorities and their partners. The aim is to provide more effective and accessible services focused around the needs of children, young people and families.
The Common Assessment Framework (CAF) is an assessment tool used by all agencies to achieve planned solutions for individual children and young people. It gives agencies and practitioners a shared language and understanding of children’s needs and shared processes. The CAF saves time and makes sense for practitioners, parents, children and young people using services.
Completing a common assessment should:
* Enable the professional to identify the child’s needs;
* Potentially provide a structure for systematic gathering and recording of information;
* Record evidence of concerns and a base line for measuring progress in addressing them;
* Potentially provide a framework for a referral discussion to Children’s Social Care for an initial or core assessment or to another service for a specialist assessment.
* Completing a common assessment can also provide a standardised written referral proforma to support a telephone referral.
Where there is immediate need for a child protection assessment and response, professionals should contact Children’s Social Care directly and make a referral rather than starting or completing a common assessment.
Aiming high for disabled children: Better support for families (2007)(AHDC) was an investment and transformation programme for services for disabled children and their families in England between 2008 – 2011. AHDC introduced a ‘core offer’ for families with disabled children. The Core Offer is a national statement of expectations setting the standards of services that families with disabled children can expect from their local area. The core offer covers:
AHDC also introduced the disabled children’s services national indicator. Through a national parental satisfaction survey, the indicator measured the experiences of families using services and how these services are delivered according to the five elements of core offer. It was adopted by some local authorities and PCTs as a performance measure on service provision for disabled children.
The Lead Practitioner (LP) is the single point of contact and co-ordination for all those involved in the planned actions to support the child or young person. Through the role of the Lead Practitioner, information sharing is improved. A Lead Practitioner could be any of the people delivering planned actions for the child.
3.1:RECORDING, STORING AND SHARING INFORMATION
The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 2001 describes the importance of the role of the SENCO in all school settings, from pre-school to secondary. | All early education providers, except specialist SEN provision, will need to have an identified member of staff to act as SENCO. This responsibility extends to accredited child-minders whobelong to approved networks where the role can be shared between individual childminders and the network co-ordinator. As a childminder I have a responsibility to be alert to the early signs of need that could lead to later difficulties and responding quickly and appropriately, involving other agencies as necessary. I know that special educational need is definied as: * Physical disability * A greater difficulty in learning than others of the same or similar age
* Emotional or behavioural and social difficulties * Speech and language difficulties If I need support with a child who I feel could have a special educational need I can contact my Special Education Needs Co-ordinator, who can help me understand how the child may be supported to achieve his/her individual learning and developmental potential.The Early Years SENCO should have responsibility for:| •| ensuring liaison with parents/carers and other professionals in respect of children with SEN| •| advising and supporting other practitioners in the setting| •| ensuring that appropriate Individual Education Plans are in place| •| ensuring that relevant background information about individual children with SEN is collected, recorded and updated|
The Code says that in mainstream primary schools the SENCO’s responsibilities may include:| •| overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy| •| co-ordinating provision for children with SEN|
•| liaising with and advising fellow teachers |
•| managing learning support assistants|
•| overseeing the records of all children with SEN|
•| liaising with parents/carers of children with SEN|
•| contributing to the in-service training of staff|
•| liaising with external agencies including the LEA’s support and educational psychology services, health and social services, and voluntary bodies |
The Code says that in mainstream secondary schools the key responsibilities of the SENCO may include:| •| overseeing the day-to-day operation of the school’s SEN policy | •| liaising with and advising fellow teachers |
•| managing the SEN team of teachers and learning support assistants| •| co-ordinating provision for pupils with special educational needs| •| overseeing the records on all pupils with special educational needs| •| liaising with parents/carers of pupils with special educational needs| •| contributing to the in-service training of staff|
•| liaising with external agencies including the LEA’s support and educational psychology services, health and social services and voluntary bodies|
The Code does not go so far as to say how much time needs to be given over to the SENCO’s duties. However, it does recognise that all of the above will be time-consuming. | |