Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the government press release on plans for a fundamental shift in children’s social care.
“We welcome Josh MacAlister’s independent review of social care and the initial measures set out by the government in response. Schools and colleges play a crucial role in supporting vulnerable children and in identifying and reporting the signs of abuse and neglect. We are therefore pleased to see plans for local authorities to receive funding for schemes that support vulnerable children to remain engaged in education and strengthen links between social care and education, and we look forward to seeing more detail.
“We hope this funding really is at the level required after a decade or so of government austerity which has resulted in cuts to council support services, and we are hugely concerned to see that there is no mention of additional funding for schools and colleges to support vulnerable children. School and college budgets are under intense pressure because of government underfunding and this makes it more difficult to provide the pastoral and specialist support needed by vulnerable children. The government underestimates both the level of need and the very significant financial pressures facing schools and colleges.
“For there to be the fundamental shift proclaimed by the government it must be properly resourced.”