All your children are belong to us
Did your child eat five portions of fruit and vegetables yesterday? If not, then maybe your local council should be informed, as this may affect the council's ability to meet its annual performance assessment.
By the end of next month every local authority in England must have in place a Children and Young People's Plan to show how it will achieve the government's prescribed outcomes for children.
To enable local authorities to carry through the strategy, all services to children and families are being reorganised, to centre on “children’s trusts”. These trusts will bring together education, childcare facilities, child mental health services, parenting advice, family support and child protection. The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) says the trusts will enable all children’s service providers to work in multidisciplinary teams and to share information about the children they are dealing with.
It will soon be possible for local authorities to monitor every child’s use of services too, thanks to the introduction of the child database, which will cost £224m to set up and £41m a year to operate.
The government recommends that these trusts should be used to “co-locate” children and family services in “children’s centres” (for those aged 0-5) and “extended schools” (for those aged 5-18). This ties in neatly with the government’s plans for universal childcare. By 2010 local authorities are to have in place a network of 3,500 children’s centres and all primary and secondary schools are expected to be extended schools, offering “wraparound” childcare from 8am- 6pm, along with health and social care, after-school activities, behaviour management, parenting education and job advice for parents.
The government is explicit in its desire to ensure that all childhood experiences are the same. Under the bill, local authorities must not only improve the wellbeing of all children, they must also act to “reduce inequalities” between them. The government does not appear to have considered the possibility of conflict between these duties — better results for some children could lead to a widening of the equality gap.
The clear impact will be to limit the freedom and judgment of schools, teachers, childminders and, above all, parents.
Jill Kirby’s new report, The Nationalisation of Childhood, is available online.
With this desire to have total control over the population I'm surprised that the Government doesn't also suggest natty little uniforms for the children, and I'm sure as part of Citizenship lessons a saluting a portrait of Dear Leader and singing a patriotic song is purely logical....