PINS Theme: GIRFEC
Getting it right for every child is often referred to as GIRFEC
At the heart of GIRFEC is the commitment to ensuring that every child and young person is safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included. The commitment underpinning GIRFEC is that no matter where they live or whatever their needs every child and young person can rely on there being a network of support around them to ensure they get the right help at the right time.
GIRFEC will impact significantly on how voluntary and statutory service providers provide services.
NEW - Children and Young People Bill passed by Parliament
Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell has welcomed Parliament’s backing for new laws to provide greater support for children and families. More HERE
NEW - GIRFEC e-learning module now available to all
An interactive e-learning module developed for all children's services workers across Lothian and Borders is now available to anyone who wants to use it to help embed the GIRFEC approach in their local area. It's being hosted by the Improvement Service on their national learning platform, Access2Learning (A2L). More HERE
NEW - Children and Young People Bill: Stage 3 briefings
A number of briefings were produced by Together and other agencies and coalitions ahead of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill Stage 3 Debate. More HERE
NEW - Child poverty in Scotland
In the last decade, child poverty in Scotland has fallen by around twice the level in England. This report explores what we can learn from this and what are the future challenges for poverty in Scotland. Download the pdf HERE
Care extended for looked after young people
New proposals in the Children and Young People Bill provide extended rights for young people in care after their 16th birthday. New plans also extend the right to return to care, up to the age of 21. Representatives from key voluntary organisations will be part of a group considering implementation. More HERE
Information sharing can be a complex and sometimes confusing legal environment for practitioners. Perth and Kinross Council have shared their approach. More HERE
The Sexual Exploitation of Looked After Children in Scotland
Looked after children are a very diverse group and their risk of being sexually exploited can depend on a range of factors. This report of a study commissioned by the Care Inspectorate investigates this important issue. More HERE
Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration publish report and statistics
Although there was a slight reduction in referrals to SCRA this past year there remain concerns about the numbers of young children with Child Protection Orders especially those granted for very young children, especially new-born babies. More HERE
Does money affect children’s outcomes?
Evidence abounds that children in lower-income households do less well than their peers on many outcomes, including in health and education. This Joseph Rowntree Foundation study reviews the evidence. More HERE
The 2nd edition of the magazine published by the Scottish Government GIRFEC team is now online. Download the pdf HERE
Children and young people’s views on child protection systems in Scotland
This review considers the views and experiences of children and young people on child protection systems in Scotland. Download PDF HERE
Children’s Hearings Handbook
This new training resource is primarily about children - the problems they face, the environment in which they live, their needs, their rights and the services that are provided as well as how best to communicate with them and the adults at hearings. Download PDF HERE
National Framework for Child Protection Learning and Development and a National Risk Framework
The Framework is a common set of skills and standards for workers, improving advice and tools available for assessing, managing and minimising risks. In addition the Risk Framework sets out a process for assessing risks of children and young people from harm and abuse, and a set of practical tools to consider key factors in their lives. More HERE
GIRFEC: Where are we now?
This Education Scotland report reviews how well GIRFEC has embedded in the practice of education establishments and services. Findings come from HMI visits to education authorities across Scotland, as well as visits to schools, colleges and pre-school education centres. Download the pdf HERE
A focus on the Doran Review
Known after its Chairperson Peter Doran the so-called ‘Doran Review’ sets out the strategic vision for provision for children and young people with complex additional support needs in Scotland. In each of the drop down sections below we have summarised key elements of the Review for PINS members. Click the arrows to open.
- Capability Scotland’s Corseford School in Renfrewshire
- Capability Scotland’s Stanmore House School, Lanark for children with complex needs
- Donaldson’s School, Linlithgow for children who are deaf/with severe communication difficulties
- Harmeny School in Balerno for children with SEBD
- The Royal Blind School in Edinburgh
- The Scottish Centre for children with Motor Impairments (Craighalbert) in Cumbernauld
- East Park School in Glasgow for children with significant learning difficulties with additional complex needs.
The full title of the Review is: “The Right Help at the Right Time in the Right Place: Strategic Review of Learning Provision for Children and Young People with Complex Additional Support Needs”.
- There are seven grant-aided schools in Scotland which act as national centres and meet the needs of the most disabled children. However, with a focus on mainstreaming provision many have empty places, and Local Authorities have been considering the cost of such provision. With this in mind Peter Doran was asked to review learning provision.
- The Review recognises the need to look at every child as an individual and improve assessment of need across education, health and care. It also recognised the specific needs of children who are ‘looked after’ amongst those using the national centres.
- The report recognises ‘the emotional context of this review’. One parent described her approach like this: “I used to cry, now I fight”. Peter Doran says: “Tears arising from frustration and anger were evident in many of the conversations with parents and carers. Feelings of relief and joy that children and young people's needs were being met were also expressed”.
- The report also identifies the complexity of provision: “32 local authorities and 14 health boards provide services to support children and young people with complex additional support needs. Children and young people can require assistance from a range of professionals based in these bodies as well as from other statutory and voluntary agencies. The sheer complexity of services can be bewildering”.
- 40% of respondents to the Review process said that education services provided for children with complex additional support needs were doing ‘well’ or ‘very well’. However 20% thought provision was ‘poor’. Local Authority perspectives were sometimes at odds with those of parents.
- A major issue is whether it is the child’s needs which guide assessment, decisions and placements or whether it is their cost. Alongside this issue was a lack of coherent and child centred planning for children. This in turn impacted, the Review heard, on the provision of suitable equipment, services or support; again arguments over who would meet costs often defined what could be achieved.
- Parents had particular concerns about the capacity of some mainstream settings to meet the needs of children with complex needs. The Review also heard about a lack of effective and meaningful preparation for young people which would support their transition from secondary school to post school provision.
- The dedication of professionals is recognised by the Review, but it is also understood that this is not enough and there needs to be attention paid to professional knowledge and skills which inform the quality of care and teaching.
- The majority of respondents to the Review (82%) thought that Scotland should have national provision for complex needs. However the Review recognises that relationships between providers and purchasers (the Local Authorities) are strained and this needs to be addressed. The Review states: “Throughout the review process it was remarkable that providers and purchasers expressed a wish for more cooperation and partnership, improved trust and there was a particular emphasis on sharing expertise and building capacity. A strategic approach to planning and commissioning of services that centred on the best ways of meeting the needs of children and young people was widely supported. There were strong views that successful planning and commissioning processes must involve local authorities and health boards working together and sharing responsibilities”.
- Finally, the Review reports that children and young people with complex additional support needs have, like their peers, the right to express their views but the review indicated highly variable practices in schools and authorities in attempts to elicit and act upon the opinions of each individual. The review found that the children and young people interviewed had the same wishes for friends and family, a good social life and education which would equip them for adult life as well as being enjoyable. Individuals differed in their views of the kind of school they wanted to attend and showed enthusiasm and appreciation for both mainstream and special schools. Getting the right help at the right time in the right place from a sympathetic and respectful adult who understood and did not over protect was the key message.
The vision and principles that should underpin provision for children and young people with complex additional support needs are identified as follows:
- That children and young people, supported by their parents and/or carers, have an easily accessible route to early integrated assessment of, and provision for their complex additional support needs from the earliest stage of development.
- That services offered are responsive to changing needs, lead to the best possible outcomes and are delivered where possible within the home community.
- That there is a presumption of entitlement to the highest quality of services which should be inclusive, efficient, equitable and effective in meeting the assessed needs and promote optimum inclusion in society.
- That local and national provision are complementary and operate with coherence.
- That at all times, positive outcomes for children and young people with complex additional support needs and their families will drive policies.
- That we support the six principles of Curriculum for Excellence, including that all children and young people are entitled to a broad general education which develops their talents and personality, reflecting the ways different learners progress and addresses barriers standing in the way of learning.
- That this entitlement extends to the provision of the health, social care and support necessary to allow them to maximize educational opportunities.
- That the views and experiences of children, young people and their families will be reflected in the review's conclusions
- That all activity will be in line with the principles of Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) and will seek to ensure that children and young people are safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.
- That to be consistent with the principles for the commissioning of national services for children established by the National Residential Child Care Initiative (NRCCI), the review will promote a national sector which is shaped to deliver efficient and effective holistic educational outcomes in a manner which complements local authority provision and reflects Best Value.
- Scottish Government should require all organisations working with children and young people who have complex additional support needs to make public the values which underpin their policies and plans so as to ensure these are reflected in the way in which their staff go about assessing and meeting needs of children and young people with complex additional support needs and their families.
- Education Scotland, working with the GTCS and relevant training providers in universities, further education colleges, voluntary organisations and local authorities should consider how to lead and develop learning communities of expert professionals at local, regional and national levels to advise, support and contribute to the professional learning of teachers and other school staff working with complex additional support needs. Particular consideration should be given to how GLOW can support this development.
- In taking forward the advice of the National Partnership Group (NPG), Scottish Government should consult with the universities local authorities and accredited providers of professional development on how best to provide qualifications and courses for teachers of children and young people across the range of complex additional support needs.
- Within the GIRFEC framework which provides the approach to working with all children and young people further consideration should be given to what specific supports are required for those working with children and young people with complex additional support needs.
- Scottish Government should consider with the GTCS the establishment of a register of teachers with qualifications in meeting complex additional support needs in order to assist national workforce planning and ensure sufficient numbers of specialist staff.
- Local authorities should ensure that sufficient numbers of suitably qualified learning support staff continue to be available to support children and young people with complex additional support needs in their school placements.
- The Scottish Government should consider ways of ensuring that sufficient funding is provided to universities and other agencies in order to maintain their research and development capacities in the education and development of children and young people with complex additional support needs.
- Scottish Government through ENQUIRE should produce a comprehensive map of provision throughout Scotland for children and young people with complex additional support needs