Children & Young People Bulletin: April 2023

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Children & Young People Bulletin

April 2023

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Social Workers in Schools  

The What Works Centre for Early Intervention and Children’s Social Care has published its evaluation of the Social Workers in Schools trial, one of the largest randomised control trials in children’s social work in England. This embedded social workers in schools to undertake statutory social work with children and families with the aim of safely reducing the need for children to receive children’s social care services. While the trial was well received by social workers, school staff and students, the evaluation found that it did not impact on children’s social care outcomes and was not cost-effective. A briefing on the implications of the trial for policy and practice has also been published. 

Safeguarding children with disabilities and complex health needs

The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel has published its Phase 2 report on safeguarding children with disabilities and complex health needs in residential settings. This builds on Phase 1 which looked at the experiences of children and young adults who suffered significant neglect, abuse and harm when placed in three residential special schools in Doncaster operated by the Hesley Group.

The Phase 2 report sets out systemic issues arising from the Phase 1 report, four strategic priority areas for improvement and recommendations for changes to police and practice to improve the safety, support and outcomes for children with disabilities and complex health needs.

As outlined in our response, these findings are an urgent call to action for the entire sector, with clear opportunities to act on the Panel’s recommendations through planned reforms to children’s social care and SEND if these are adequately funded. We also emphasised the vital role of partners in supporting children with SEND and the need for councils to have powers to hold local partners to account for this.

Early years – integrated reviews

A support document on developing integrated reviews has been developed. This is intended to support practitioners with their practice when undertaking the early years foundation stage (EYFS) Progress check at age 2 and the Healthy Child Programme. Early years providers, local authorities, and health visiting services are encouraged to work together to combine the Healthy Child Programme review and the EYFS Progress check at age two. This is known as an ‘integrated review’.

Early years – childminders

The Department for Education have updated the early education and childcare statutory guidance for local authorities to support local authorities on making decisions on funding providers registered at an ‘ineffective’ childminder agency to deliver the free early education and childcare entitlements. The change is in paragraph A3.13.

Early years foundation stage profile return guide

The early years foundation stage profile return guide explains how local authorities should submit early years foundation stage profile data for 2023 to DfE. Changes to the guide for the 2023 early years foundation stage profile collection include: the dates for the 2023 return, information regarding postcodes and the use of code A.

Early Years Educator Level 3 criteria review

The Government has responded to a consultation which asked for views about the suitability of the proposed revisions to the Early Years Educator Level 3 qualifications criteria and any cost implications of changing the criteria on businesses. From September 2024, the new criteria will come into effect, meaning awarding organisations and training providers will need to adapt their existing Level 3 (and above) qualifications and courses to be approved to the new criteria. Existing Level 3 practitioners will not be expected to complete any top-up or additional qualifications to remain qualified at Level 3. They will continue to hold approved qualifications.

Early moments matter

UNICEF UK and The University of Cambridge PEDAL Centre’s have launched ‘Understanding and supporting mental health in infancy and early childhood – a toolkit' to support local action in the UK. This aims to help partners from different services and professions to develop a deeper, shared understanding of mental health in infancy and early childhood, and the factors that influence it. Support service leaders, commissioners and other decision makers and policy teams to develop whole-system responses to ensure babies and young children are mentally healthy now, and are supported to develop the skills they need to continue to be mentally healthy throughout their lives. The intention is to provide resources, signposting, and conversation guides to support constructive local discussions, decisions and action about the needs of babies and young children in their area, and what more might be done to respond to these needs (including through strategy development across mental health, maternity, early years or Family Hubs & Start for Life).

A Better Start

The National Lottery programme ‘A Better Start’ (ABS) has produced its seventh insight report to share findings from its five A Better Start partnerships based in Blackpool, Bradford, Lambeth, Nottingham and Southend. This programme insight shares the learning on how ABS partnerships have supported infant and early childhood development within their work, from the beginning of the programme, and through the challenging times of the past few years.

Healthy Start scheme uptake map

Latest NHS data shows only 64 per cent of eligible families are receiving Healthy Start payments, which help pregnant parents and families with young children buy fruit, vegetables, milk, first infant formula and vitamins. New analysis by the charity Sustain estimates that the 207,000 households not signed up are missing out on £68 million - a huge loss to families struggling to cover the rising cost of living. What is the percentage uptake of Healthy Start in your local area? A Healthy Start map showing uptake levels across England for March 2023 is available to use.

UKHSA COVID-19 vaccination advice

On 6 April 2023 the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to babies and children aged six months to four years who are in a clinical risk group (as defined in the Green Book).

Youth Justice Board

The Youth Justice Board has refreshed its annual business plan for 2023 to 2024 which sets out its new sense of purpose. This includes strengthened oversight, developing business intelligence and insights and operationalising case management guidance. This is supported by 10 new key performance indicators which went live for data collection from April 2023.

Hewitt Review into Integrated Care Partnerships

The final report from the Hewitt Review into integrated care systems (ICSs) has suggested an increased focus on prevention, enhancing place-based working, a focus on workforce and ensuring that every ICS, ICP integrated care strategy and the ICB joint forward plan should include a clear articulation of the needs of children and young people within their population, and how those needs will be met through collaboration across the system.

NCSC cyber security video for young people

On 3 May, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) will launch CyberFlix – an interactive video, aimed at 11-14 year olds – to support secondary schools and youth groups to teach this age group about cyber security. CyberFlix highlights some of the most common cyber scams a pre-teen and teenage internet user may come across and is supported by practitioner-led resources to expand on the video’s themes. More information will be available on the Cyberflix webpage once launched.

Prevention in Health and Social Care Inquiry

The Health and Social Care Committee has announced ten themes to be examined in its major new inquiry into preventing ill-health. The subjects, ranging from early years and childhood to alcohol and gambling, were chosen after MPs received more than 600 submissions from researchers and organisations involved in preventative healthcare.

Call for evidence: Youth vaping

The Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) has launched a call for evidence seeking information on a range of themes about children and vaping (using an e-cigarette) to inform evidence-based policy decisions. The Government is holding this call for evidence to identify opportunities to reduce the number of children (people aged under 18) accessing and using vape products, while ensuring they are still easily available as a quit aid for adult smokers. The consultation closes on 6 June 2023.

Allergy Awareness Week: 24 – 30 April 2023

Allergies are an increasingly common health issue affecting millions of people worldwide. From mild reactions to severe anaphylaxis, allergies can range from a minor inconvenience to a life-threatening condition. That’s why Allergy Awareness Week 2023 (founded by Allergy UK), scheduled to start 24 April, is looking to raise awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with allergies and educate people about how they can help.

Partners working with schools and education settings may find an interview with Professor Adam Fox, a paediatric allergist at Guy’s and St Thomas's Hospital and current chair of the National Allergy Strategy Group (NASG) and past president of the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) useful to watch and/or read. In the interview all things allergy, anaphylaxis, and adrenaline – especially in relation to school settings are discussed.


Progress on children and young people’s mental health policy in England
Thursday 18 May 2023 | Online

A range of policies have been announced regarding children’s mental health in England over the past decade. However, the scale of children’s mental health needs remains of real concern to councils, schools, families and young people themselves. The Centre for Mental Health and the Children and Young People Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC) has been commissioned by the LGA to produce a report exploring these policy approaches, announcements and steps taken to tackle the rising demand in children’s mental health services. This webinar will explore the outcomes of this report. 

Supporting a great school food culture
Tuesday 23 May | Online

Councils across England recognise the importance of supporting schools to embed a great school food culture. The provision of school food improves behaviour and attainment and improves children’s health. Free school meals (FSM) are an essential lifeline for many families. A thriving school food system also supports local jobs, local food producers and suppliers. This webinar will set out why councils should take a system-based, holistic approach to embed a cycle of continual school food improvement. It will offer practical advice on training and support for schools and caterers to improve quality and take-up, and how to implement a supportive monitoring process. It will cover free school meals auto-enrolment and funding extensions. 

North West Cultural Education Summit
Thursday 25 May | The Edge Conference, Riveredge, Wigan

Hosted by the LGA, Curious Minds and Wigan Council, this summit will be an opportunity to discuss the findings and recommendations of the Commission on Culture and Local Government and to consider how local government can collaborate with education providers and the cultural sector to support a national Cultural Education Plan, with involvement from DCMS and DfE.  

Public Health: Why isn’t Government policy more preventive?
Thursday 11 May | Online

Why are public health aims – such as to prevent rather than cure – easy to support in theory but difficult to deliver in practice? This webinar identifies three explanations: if prevention means everything, maybe it means nothing; prevention is out of step with government business; and, it requires major investment while promising uncertain rewards.

National Children and Adult Services Conference 2023
29 November – 1 December | Bournemouth 

The National Children and Adult Services Conference is a must-attend event for councillors, directors, senior officers, policy makers, service managers and those with responsibilities for children and adult services in the statutory, voluntary and private sector. Join us to hear about and respond to the very latest thinking on key policy and improvement agendas in social care, children’s services, education, health and related fields. We are now taking bids to run workshop sessions at the conference. Workshops provide a vital opportunity for attendees to explore current issues, discuss new and future developments, and hear examples of innovation and good practice. 

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