Saturday, May 30, 2009

Home Education Review Poorly Timed

We always said that the Home Education Review, which was announced on 19th January had come at a strange time, what with ContactPoint yet to go live, and the new Guidance on Identifying Children Missing an Education only issued also in January, but with no time to come into effect or to assess for its effectiveness.

The timing looks even stranger when we add in the fact that the DCSF have commissioned a Research Initiative:

"designed to support the Government’s programme of reform to improve early recognition and cost effective intervention to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The broad aim is to strengthen the evidence base to underpin policy and practice in three key areas highlighted by the Laming Inquiry, namely:
· Recognition of abuse, particularly neglect and emotional abuse, which have received less research attention than physical and sexual abuse (See Ward et al, 2004).
· Impact of interventions on outcomes for children, including supportive and rehabilitative efforts
· Inter-agency working involving collaboration between statutory services in health, education and social services with particular attention to the impact of new structural arrangements designed to promote multi-agency/multi-disciplinary collaboration.

Child abuse and neglect are societal problems that cut across medical, educational, social service and legal disciplines. The initiative is designed to support both policy and practice, cross-cutting disciplinary and agency practice."

Potentially highly relevant results from this process appear, in many of the studies, to be as yet unavailable.

Whilst I can't reliably guess at the motivations of the DCSF for the timing of the review, (though concern about being seen to do something, however inefficiently does top the list), it is at least pretty clear that the DCSF have put the cart before horse.


moley said...

Oh I don't know!

Being rather cynical I'd say it has been timed perfectly to coincide with the trial of Khyra Ishaq's mother and step-father.

Maire said...

it is a shame the DFSC aren't obliged to justify themselves!

Anonymous said...

The research appears to be flawed in advance. If it is 'designed to support the Government's programme...' and, they say elsewhere, '...designed to support both policy and practice...', then it is not genuine research. It means it is quite possibly just a means of justifying policy after the event. Of course, this could be a mistake in understanding.

But if the research IS designed to 'support', it isn't really putting the cart before the horse, it is more like fixing its broken legs.