Just Home: Leading in Colour

We are proud to announce the release of our latest publication, “Just Home”. This briefing is powerfully centred around global majority children in care, their lives, their traumas, their needs, and their life-chances. The stark realities are alarming: black children are over-represented in the care system, wait longer for adoption than white children, and are least likely to achieve the lifetime stability and permanency of a loving family through adoption. “Just Home” serves to challenge these bleak statistics and seeks to inspire enduring policy and practice changes for children. Through our partnership with Adoption East Midlands and its partner local authorities, we have been able to challenge these sobering facts and seek solutions. “Just Home” is our shared story –…

Leading for Longer: New report issues call to action on high turnover of leadership roles in children’s services

A call for action has been issued by The Staff College after a number of concerns have been raised about the high turnover of leadership roles within children’s services.  With tenures of DCSs averaging around three years, it is feared this is having a direct impact on the ability to improve children’s services. At present, the DCS role remains one of the hardest chief officer roles to fill and retain, yet is a critical leadership role responsible for supporting and protecting vulnerable children across the United Kingdom.  Some of the key reasons cited for the high level of position churn include increased workloads, along with a lack of a coherent policy focus on children. In addition, an ‘overload’ of external…

Creating change for the ‘pinball kids’

The rising number of pupils excluded from school and their dire prospects following exclusion are signs of social stress, policy failure and systemic dysfunction.

RSA Pinball Kids – Preventing school exclusions

In the last five years, there has been a 60 percent increase in the number of pupils permanently excluded from England’s schools. By 2017/18, the last school year for which data is available, there were – on average – 42 pupils expelled each school day. In that same academic year, pupils were suspended from school over 410,000 times, missing – on average – two school days at a time. Pupils are most commonly expelled or suspended for ‘persistent disruptive behaviour’ suggesting that there are a group of pupils who consistently bounce up against the boundaries of their school’s rules, norms and expectations. It is this group that former head teacher Tom Sherrington was describing when he used the term “pinball…

Inclusive Inquiry: student-teacher dialogue as a means of promoting inclusion in schools

This paper traces the development of Inclusive Inquiry, a new approach to the promotion of inclusion in schools. It explains how this builds on a programme of research carried out by the authors over a period of 20 years. Central to the approach is dialogue amongst teachers and their students about how to make lessons more inclusive. This involves children becoming researchers who learn how to use research techniques to gather the views of their classmates, as well as observing lessons. The approach was refined as a result of a three-year action research study carried out with a network of eight secondary schools, in three European countries. It was then trialed in 30 primary schools, in five European countries. In…

Fight or flight? How ‘stuck’ schools are overcoming isolation

This evaluation report investigates why some schools that have previously delivered a low standard of education for long periods of time have managed to sustainably improve and others have not. It examines the role of school improvement initiatives and intervention in this process. The report finds that we need a system of deeper inspection and better support to improve education for children in these schools.

European Toolkit for Schools

The European Toolkit for Schools offers concrete ideas for improving collaboration within, between and beyond schools with a view to enabling all children and young people to succeed in school. School leaders, teachers, parents and other people involved in different aspects of school life can find helpful information, examples of measures and resource material to inspire their efforts in providing effective and high-quality early childhood and school education. The aim of the Toolkit is to support the exchange and experience among school practitioners and policy makers. European Toolkit for Schools

The Fix – Debt and Poverty

This is the third series of Radio 4’s programme which tries to solve some of the UK’s most difficult social problems. This year, The Fix spends three episodes looking at one issue: debt. Why is it such an intractable problem in the UK, where 15% of the population have no savings at all? Presenters Matthew Taylor and Cat Drew visit the borough of Barking and Dagenham in east London, where more than one in ten people there owe money to the council. They speak to working people about how debt is affecting their lives, to the council about what they’re doing to try to help, and ask why current solutions don’t go far enough. The Fix – Debt and Poverty

Developing inclusive and equitable education systems

The year 2019 sees the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Special Needs Education. Co-organized by UNESCO and the Ministry of Education and Science of Spain, and held in the city of Salamanca, it led to the Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education, arguably the most significant international document that has ever appeared in the field of special education. In so doing, it endorsed the idea of inclusive education, which was to become a major influence in subsequent years. On the occasion of this Forum, UNESCO will capitalize on its unique convening power to give new impetus to inclusion in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, by addressing questions such as: How…

Schools without walls

“Exploring the schools that extend their impact beyond the school gates by working with the local community. This RSA-ECIS (Educational Collaborative for International Schools) report includes the stories of 11 schools in the UK, USA, Italy, and Israel that are committed to community partnerships. Schools Without Walls shows how these school’s collaborations with local charities and voluntary organisations, professional bodies, arts and cultural organisations, colleges and universities, and businesses benefits students and the wider community.”  

Community Collaboration. A councillor’s guide

Engaging people in the decisions that affect their lives is an essential feature of local democracy. This goes far beyond town hall meetings and opinion surveys: we must recognise that communities often hold the answers to their own problems and allow them an equal voice at the table. For the purposes of this report, we call this concept ‘Community Collaboration’.>In partnership with Local Trust, LGiU has undertaken a year-long project to define and promote Community Collaboration and uncover the best examples of it in practice. We have been asking how councillors can actively support communities to lead their own projects by facilitating conversations, using their network and influence, and advocating within their local authority. This report showcases the best examples…

Safeguarding and Keeping Children Safe in Turbulent Times

Leadership Academy 2: Safeguarding and Keeping Children Safe in Turbulent Times, 11th February 2016 This second thematic seminar of the 2016 programme explored the changing context for children’s social work within which a shrinking resource base is accompanied by a new government vision and new accreditation arrangements for social workers. It drew upon innovative and contrasting examples from 2 LAs with very different contexts, where establishing a shared set of values and sense of moral purpose across and beyond the organisation had provided a solid foundation from which to secure real improvement. The seminar also provided an opportunity to share learning from recent OfSTED inspections and examine how the sector might develop further its approach to improvement through peer support…

Working Together to Safeguard Children

“The Government will shortly be publishing radically revised statutory guidance for consultation… A new inspection framework also comes into operation in May. These fundamental changes will make a significant contribution to helping the system re-orientate itself… This is the time when local services and professionals need to seize the opportunity to move towards a child-centred system.” [Munro Review progress report, DfE, April 2012] This paper looks at the task facing DCSs, who carry much of the responsibility for reorientation of the system in line with the Munro review findings which have been very largely adopted by the Government, and have given rise to the changes referred to in the quotation above. Working Together to Safeguard Children

Intervention or prevention? The leadership response to performance risk

This report deals with the very particular challenges that are faced by senior and middle leaders in local authorities that have been judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and are considered by the DfE to be in need of intervention. It draws heavily on two presentations, one by Colin Hilton (Director, Sector Led Improvement) and the other by John Harris (Children’s Improvement Adviser), at a joint VSC/CIB seminar attended by DCSs and senior colleagues from a representative sample of authorities that are, or have been, in difficulties. Both the ‘signatures of risk’ and the ‘improvement and learning journey’ are drawn from the work of the CIB on sector led improvement. Other views included in the report are those of the participants at…