The Department for Education has finally published its consultation report on the government’s proposals to reform the legislation for licensing children to take part in entertainment performance activities.
The existing legal framework was designed to ensure that adequate arrangements are made to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children & young people when they perform for the public. However, most of the framework was developed back in the 1960’s and many aspects of this now appear outdated and have been widely recognised as either unnecessary or no longer fit for purpose. The key intention of the consultation proposals was to re-clarify responsibilities and to remove some perceived areas of ‘bureaucracy’ which were claimed to be unfairly restricting or preventing children in different areas from taking part in some performance activities.
The report summarises the views expressed by the different sectors who took part in the consultation exercise, e.g. local authorities, casting agencies, film and broadcast (TV and Radio) producers, the parents of child performers, trade associations, theatrical and opera societies, etc
Overall, the responses to the consultation were very mixed, even though most people across all sectors agreed that there is a need to up-date the current licensing & inspection system – but disappointingly (although not unsurprising) there were very different views about how to achieve this whilst still ensuring the participating children’s safety; and so further consideration is required and no new measures are being included under the government’s current Children and Families Bill. This sadly means that local authority licensing officers will have to continue adhering to the existing overly bureaucratic, intensive and outdated procedures.
You can find the report on the DfE’s website at ‘DfE Consultation report on proposed changes to child performance legislation’
A mother from Cornwall has been jailed for 20 weeks after continuing to fail to ensure her three ‘truanting’ children regularly attended school. The court heard that the woman’s children – aged 5, 14 and six years old – all continued to miss school despite their mother being successfully prosecuted by the Local Authority on four previous occasions. The woman was given an eight week sentence by the local Magistrates in Truro; plus she will also now need to serve an outstanding 12 week sentence that was previously suspended.
The following two National Council posts are currently vacant and we are seeking your nominations for both:
The attached nominations forms provide explanations of the roles and purposes of both positions, together with details on how to submit your nominations. On behalf of National Council can I stress that it is vitally important we are able to fill these vacancies as soon as possible; although it is probably now even more important that we are able to recruit new people to join National Council. It goes without saying that these are very challenging times for us all and this could be your opportunity to make a real difference to both your profession and your workplace - irrespective of your age or relative experience. The deadline for receiving nominations is 31st January and please don't be reticent in stepping forward! Should there be more than one nomination for each post, a ballot will be organised.
This years AGM will take place at our next conference event which is being held on the above date. Further details of the conference venue and speakers will be sent to you as soon as it is available. The event is likely to take place in Birmingham once more, as this has proved to a very popular & relatively easily accessible destination for all our members across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. As paid-up members you are now invited to propose motions and rule changes for the AGM. The deadline for National Council receiving these is 1st April 2013. Please see the attached papers detailing how to construct your motion or rule change and where to send them. In recent years, we have endeavoured to encourage members to submit motions to help set out NASWE's priorities & activities for the forthcoming year - so please take the time to consider drafting anything which you think we should be addressing with either the government, DfE or national training providers. National Council needs to hear from you!
Wishing you all the best for 2013
Consultation on children's mental health e-portal - Invitation to attend specialists discussion group in Manchester on Monday 21 January @ 2.30-4.30pm More...
Please find attached the Federation of Education Welfare Professionals (NASWE & AEWM) first joint response to the Government’s recent but relatively short public consultation (issued on 1st November and closed on 13th December) on proposals to condense all their existing advice, guidance and policies on the legal framework for promoting children’s regular school attendance into a single reference document for use by governing bodes, Headteachers, school staff, Local Authority officers and the police. Once you start reading our response, you will quickly gather that both Associations’ National Council’s were less than impressed with the Department’s proposed draft document and have consequently voiced our concerns around a number of important issues which require further clarification! download response
...and can we also take the opportunity to wish you all a ‘Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Welcome back to the new school year and hope you all managed to enjoy a relaxing summer holiday period which allowed you to recharge your batteries in preparation for the undoubted challenges that our services will continue to face over the next twelve months.
Throughout the summer NASWE representatives have continued to engage with the DfE on your behalf over a range of pressing issues, including the Government's new policy agenda for Alternative Provision and a number of major proposed changes to the Pupil Registration (England) Regulations.
To help you manage the difficult times and our increasing casework pressures, you will find the following new documents located on the website:
Hope you find this information useful and if you or another NASWE colleague who hasn't received an email message, then can you please email email@example.com with your current contact details, as it probably means that the info’ we have on record is now out of date.
Many thanks and best wishes for the Autumn Term 2012.
On behalf of NASWE National Council
Telephone: 01253 859866
‘For every Child a Chance’
At a meeting of elected representatives from NASWE and the AEWM held in Birmingham on 29th June 2012 it was agreed to establish a ‘Federation of Education Welfare Professionals’ to enable our two associations to collaborate together in order to advance the interests of education welfare and allied professionals through joint activity over the coming months, following the spirit of the successful joint conference already held on 27th April.
This new federation will seek to ensure that a unified EWS voice is clearly heard at meetings with the DfE and other national bodies, and by managers and practitioners in local services across the United Kingdom, through appropriate joint delegations and events.
To achieve this, the executive committees of each association will now co-ordinate their schedules to secure co-located meetings and related joint planning discussions and initiatives. This will reflect the separate and equal status of the two associations at this stage, identifying detailed activities through joint agreement, and also facilitate further dialogue with the open objective of achieving a single unified association representing EWS managers and practitioners as soon as practicable.
NASWE and the AEWM both represent well established and significant professional traditions, and the Federation of Education Welfare Professionals will establish an even stronger national voice and influence to meet the challenge of the new era of change.
29th June 2012
A copy you can download Federation of Education Welfare Professionals Details (23Kb).
Charlie Taylor, the Government’s Expert Adviser on Behaviour, has just published his much anticipated review on ‘Improving attendance at school’. As you may already be aware, as part of the review process, NASWE national council members took part in a number of key consultation meetings with Mr Taylor, officials from the DfE, and on one occasion also directly with the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.
In a speech given on 1 September 2011, Mr Gove had talked about the “missing million” children who are absent from school for more than three weeks a year. He also referred to the “educational underclass” of children who for various reasons sit outside of mainstream education and described how many of them have simply not spent enough time in school to achieve academic success. The Secretary of State then subsequently asked Charlie Taylor, the government’s expert adviser on behaviour, to undertake a new review into the problem of truancy and to come up with recommendations for improving the school attendance of these particularly vulnerable children. You can now download the Taylor report and the Secretary of State for Education’s response by clicking on the link below. We have also highlighted what NASWE believes to be the reports key recommendations, along with our initial brief comments:
Reports emanating from the DfE suggest that the Government is going to use Charlie Taylor's much anticipated review of school discipline & attendance to introduce a number of new proposals for tackling truancy and under-performing schools with high absence rates, and that these will include removing Headteachers' current discretionary powers to approve up to 10 days off school for family holidays in term-time.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has been alarmed at the number of lost school days which pupils miss due to Headteachers' authorising leave of absence for going on family holidays during term-time. Of the 4.5 million pupil days which are missed each school year, only illness exceeds holidays in term-time as the explanation given for children's absences - and around 75% of these are recorded as authorised. As a consequence, parents & carers will also now face much tougher legal sanctions if they continue to take their children out of school for holidays.
NASWE believes that the distinction between authorised and unauthorised absences will also be abolished by Mr Gove - something we have repeatedly lobbied for over recent years, once it became evident that many schools were inappropriately authorising pupils' absences in order to avoid confrontations with difficult parents and / or misrepresent their true performance around tackling truancy and improving attendance.
Other measures likely to be introduced will see schools with higher than average overall absence rates lose points in the Government's new league tables, and it is hoped that such schools will also be prevented from obtaining Academy status - which is again something that NASWE has strongly advocated for during recent meetings with both Charlie Taylor and Mr Gove.
It is expected that the new measures will be formally announced by early March at the latest, and officials hope they will help address some of the concerns around the under-achievement of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, as there's strong evidence to show that it's children from poorer areas who struggle the most to catch-up on missed school-work.
If you wish to know more or would like to hear directly from Charlie Taylor, the Government's Behaviour & Discipline 'Tzar' who led this important key review, then you should book your place on NASWE's annual conference training day that's being held in Birmingham on Friday 27th April - Charlie and his colleague Greg Midcalf, manager of the DfE's safeguarding & attendance team, will both be speaking at the event and answering questions from delegates. Further details can be found on the Events page of the website.
Wendesday 7th December: NASWE has received official notification from the DfE’s School Attendance and Safety Team (part of the Behaviour & Attendance in Schools Division) that - as we always suspected - independent private providers cannot prosecute section 444 offences for schools or Academies. The DfE’s lawyers have now confirmed that only Local Authority employees can exercise this power, as statutory enforcement duties cannot be delegated by a LA to a third party or an agent, irrespective of their professional history or qualifications.
Regrettably there are insufficient funds to continue with the activity fund at the moment.
NASWE national council is exploring ways to rectify this situation by seeking alternative funding streams.
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