New priorities set for Children's Plan and early years workforce strategy

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A detailed update on the work of the Children's Plan was published today on its first anniversary, with a report on progress so far and priorities for 2009.


Also launched today (11 December) was a new Children's Workforce Strategy to improve recruitment, training and support for the children's and young people's workforce.

Early years workers and other professionals will receive a summary document of the Children's Plan progress report, which will be sent to every school, every head teacher, every children's centre, every GP and all directors of children's services.

A new interactive website - an online Children's Plan 'village'- was also launched to enable children's professionals and parents to see how the Children's Plan works in their community.

Stressing the need for 'a culture of early intervention and prevention', children's secretary Ed Balls said, 'We've made substantial progress in the last year, but there is still a lot more to do to make sure that children are safe, that their well-being is promoted, that we have proper engagement with parents, that we're really intervening early to spot problems, that agencies are working closely together.' 




As part of the Children's Workforce Strategy, Mr Balls said, 'Alan Johnson and I are now launching a new taskforce to look at improvements in frontline social work practice, which will be clearly informed by events of recent weeks. But that's only one part of the strategy. There's a real emphasis on raising skills and professionalism and support for the early years workforce.'

He also announced a £200m fund to incentivise locating children's services on school sites, with more details due shortly.




There will also be £38m for special educational needs (SEN), including a pilot with schools in ten local authorities.

SEN expert Brian Lamb will lead an investigation into the failure of some local authorities to comply with their SEN duties. The move follows interim results from the Lamb Inquiry into parental confidence in SEN provision, which found that parents feel they have to 'battle' the system to secure high-quality provision for their children.

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