Joint Committee On Human Rights Written Evidence

54.  Memorandum from the Reverend Mary Taylor

  With reference to the current government legislation Every Child Matters I am writing to express my deep concerns regarding the move of the children and families identified above. In light of the aims and outcomes identified in the Every Child Matters green paper and outcomes framework I would be remiss in my role as a SENco and a primary school teacher not to share my professional judgments regarding the holistic impact of this move on the children, in addition to the educational ramifications—as outlined on the government's site.

  The Government's aim 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 proposed move of these families poses a stark contradiction to the aims outlined above for a number of reasons which I will present below; as such any consequences that occur as a result of this move will have occurred despite government guidelines and the professional and personal recommendations of those involved in this correspondence.

  Within the Be Healthy section of the outcomes framework the government identifies that inspectors will be looking to see if:

  Action is taken to promote children and young people's physical and mental health

  On a simplistic level the manner of this move is in direct contradiction to the action outlined above. The move itself will cause great disruption to the emotional well being of the families concerned however it also poses significant interruption of current support that children and adults are receiving from health and educational professionals. The move of these families to another authority, which is at a differing level of progress regarding the integration of services to form their Children's trust, means that this support may not be automatically transferred resulting in the whole process of fresh referrals. There are of course financial implications that this will bring due to the number of new professionals involved and this is of course if, as a result of the move, the emotional and physical well being of the families does not change. However, the interruption of support, for the time periods involved are likely to carry with them increased health problems for these families. This will therefore involve further contradiction to the government aim outlined above and result in further financial implications for the agencies and authorities. It is important to note that two of the children concerned with this move have already received involvement from other agencies to enable them to settle in their current school. With this support, they have made progress, the sudden removal of them from their current setting will not only disrupt this level of support and the significant relationships that they have made, but will also result in further disruption for these children that could inevitably lead to a compounding of their needs and difficulties.

  Within the Stay Safe section of the outcomes framework the government identifies that evidence of safe practice will be found where

  Transitions between settings ... are well managed

  My first response to this is to identify that in terms of the education of these children, this move will result in a mismanagement of transition between their school settings. No arrangements have been made for the children involved to visit new schools, no arrangements have been made for the children to meet new staff, and due to the very brief notice that the families have received, no provision has been made to support these children in leaving their current settings, or at the very least, for them to be able to say goodbye. For any child this would be a significant upheaval which would carry with it emotional consequences. When you therefore consider that the children involved with this move have undergone other significant emotional challenges and changes (at best) in their lives I would ask you to consider the grave effect that the mismanagement of this move will have upon these children and their families. Transition between schools and key stages is an area that their current education authority and the professionals that they work with take very seriously. Because of the age of the children involved in this move, a number of the children and families concerned have been in receipt of support for the transition of their children to and within identified settings in this authority. Both adults and children have made significant links with the staff and pupils involved and are a significant way along this process. The proposed move would therefore cause unnecessary disruption to their lives and relationships and further contravene the government proposal that

  "Action is taken to promote children and young people's physical and mental health"

  The current support that these families have received within the Wakefield Children's Trust falls is within the section of the outcomes framework entitled Enjoy and achieve. Here the government identifies that inspectors will be looking to see if

  Parents and carers receive support to enable their children to enjoy and achieve

  The management of this move, indeed the very nature of this move, does nothing to fulfil this and again works in direct contrast to it. I therefore strongly recommend that these children and their families are not removed from Wakefield. These judgments reflect my deep professional concern with regards to the consequences this will have on their education and well being. They are additionally made in light of current government framework and recommendations, recommendations which highlight the responsibilities of all agencies involved with families and children to work together to safeguard and promote the well being of the child.

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