As you're probably aware, Early Years is forever changing and even more so in the past 3 or 4 years. I have outlined below some of the key changes, with links to the related units within the BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Children's Care, Learning and Development.
One of the many changes to the care of children is the requirements for risk assessment identified in the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. Below I've outlined some of the key changes and procedures for childcare settings to adhere to.
Providers must have a structured policy and procedures outlining the assessment of risk:
when and how the risk assessment is carried out
key people who carry out the risk assessment
required records and where they should be kept.
Below is an example of the aspects to be checked in the indoor environment:
|Environment to be checked||Removal/minimise risk||Who||Date||How often|
|Stairs: include a stair gate at the top and bottom of the stairs.||Ensure that it has been correctly installed as per manufacturer's instructions||K.Smith||01.08.13||Morning and afternoon, and as and when|
Legislation outlines that settings must carry out risk assessments when planning to take children on an outing away from the childcare setting. The Statutory Framework defines the outing as when at least one child is taken out of the premises. The following needs to be considered:
- Ratio of adults to children needed for the outing
- Assessment of the risks and hazards that may arise
- Steps taken to remove/minimise risks
- The time of the outing
- The age of the children
- Types of activities that the children will be participating in.
The main change is the recording of risk assessments. It is the setting's responsibility to judge whether a risk assessment needs to be recorded in writing. Upon an Ofsted inspection, inspectors will consider whether the procedures that have been implemented are adequate in the overall safeguarding of children and have ultimately reduced or removed risks.
Criminal Record Checks
Unit 4 - Reflecting on and developing practice for children aged 0-8 (page 51)
The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged into a single public body called the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
I have outlined below some of the main changes from September 2012:
- A person under the age of 16 will no longer be able to apply for a CRB check
- A DBS certificate will be issued and sent directly to the applicant's address to ensure its accuracy
- An update service has been introduced: An individual can apply for an update to their most recent
- disclosure to enable them to apply for a post where a DBS check is required instead of waiting for completed certificate. Therefore, DBS checks become portable.
- DBS checks for volunteers are free of charge.
You can read further information and guidance on the Government Disclosure website.
Working Together to Safeguard Children (2013)
Working Together to Safeguard Children is a legal guide that ensures the child’s need are paramount, and that professionals who are in contact with children and families are alert to their needs, share appropriate information and use their expert judgement to place the needs of the child at the centre of safeguarding. Working Together to Safeguard Children 2013 sets out how organisations and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and how practitioners should conduct the assessment of children.
This guidance replaces the following:
- Working together to safeguard children (2010)
Framework for the assessment of children in need and their families (2000)
- Statutory guidance on making arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children under section 11 of the Children Act (2007).
The guidance aims to move towards a more integrated working relationship between agencies. Some of the key changes that accomplish this are:
- Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) should implement a document that outlines the type of early help that is required
- A social worker has one working day to make a decision as to the response required and acknowledge receipt to the referrer
- A national panel of experts will be appointed to advise the LSCBs
Final reports of Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) will be published on the LSCB's website for a minimum of 12 months.
What is the difference between safeguarding and child protection?
Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children is defined as:
• protecting children from maltreatment
• preventing impairment of children’s health or development
• ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
• taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.
Child protection is a part of safeguarding and promoting welfare. It refers to the activity that is undertaken to protect specific children who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm. (Reference: www.education.gov.uk).
Help Children Achieve More
In 2010, the term ‘Every Child Matters’ was replaced by ‘Help Children Achieve More’. The ‘Helping Children Achieve More’ agenda is the focal point for all children and their families, setting out a distinct direction towards rights and responsibilities. The agenda continues with the five well-defined outcomes which every child should aim to achieve:
1. Being healthy
2. Staying safe
3. Enjoying and achieving
4. Making a positive contribution
5. Secure economic wellbeing.
Helping Children Achieve More aims to involve a number of services in the protection of all children. Groups such as Sure Start support children and families with issues surrounding education, employment and health services. Confronting problematic areas - for example homelessness and youth justice - the agenda continues to concentrate and improve on four main areas:
1. Supporting parents and carers
2. Early intervention and effective protection
3. Accountability and integration – locally, regionally and nationally
4. Workforce reform.
I have included a worksheet on the Early Years Community Forum which will encourage learners to reflect on the importace of Helping Children Achieve More and the wider implications of implementing the outcomes.
Two year progress check
As part of the statutory framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, a child between the age of two and three years should have their progress reviewed by a practitioner with a summary of their development. The review should look at the child’s strengths and areas for development and where concerns are identified, an action plan should be drawn up and appropriate professionals should be made aware (such as SENCOs).
Practitioners should firstly review the prime areas (communication and language, physical development and personal, social and emotional development) and then decide what further key information they feel should be included within the summary. Below are some key points to consider:
- If the child moves setting between the ages of two and three it will be the responsibility of the setting where the child has spent the most time to complete the summary.
- The summary should include strategies and/or activities that would be implemented to address the concerns raised in the progress check.
- The setting should identify areas for development and address concerns where there is a developmental delay and/or disability.
- The setting must meet with the parents/carers of the child and discuss the progress review. Practitioners should encourage parents to share the information with health visitors, schools, doctors etc. where necessary.
- Early years practitioners should discuss with the parents how the summary can be implemented at home for further learning and support.
For further information you can view the government document A know-how guide - The EYFS progress check at two.
I have prepared some teaching resources which are available on the Early Years Community Forum:
- Safeguarding Wordsearch
- Starter/Plenary activities for Unit 5 - Safeguarding Children
- Helping Children Achieve More worksheet
- Reporting procedures factsheet
- Plan for an outing activity sheet
- Strategies for keeping children safe
- Student research of risk
- Student research of risk (Tutor notes)
- Risk Assessment form.
I hope you have found this article useful.
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