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Write a briefing paper for the Secretary of State for Education / Shadow Secretary / Education representative from another political party, following one aspect of Early Childhood Education and Care from the recent past, to the present, with recommendations for the future.


1) Consider one aspect of Early Childhood Education and Care (e.g. curriculum, EYFS, assessment, Nursery and Childcare provision, SEN, inclusive education, multi-professional working and integrated services.

2) Students choose the focus for their briefing paper, drawing on ideas and content from this term’s lectures. This should be clearly stated in the subtitle, along with the intended recipient (e.g. Briefing Paper Focus: Inclusion in Mainstream Primary Schools for Shadow Secretary of State for Education).

3) Contextualise the aspect by demonstrating your understanding of the aspect within the recent past and the present. Your briefing paper should include a discussion of current education policies/practices in your chosen strand, and the historical, political and theoretical influences on these policies/practices, and their potential impact on children.

4) Your briefing paper final section should include your recommendations to the minister for future developments, drawing on recognised educational thinkers and theorists, and highlighting the possible impact on children (and families where directly relevant).

Historical background

The purpose of the briefing paper is to evaluate the Multi-agency working and integrated services in the Early Years of Education among the children. The aim of the study is to find out whether this service is effective for educating children. In order to achieve this aim, information have been gathered from various academic sources that include evidences from people working within the early years sectors, including academics, practitioners, some representatives of professional organisations. Multi agency embraces the concept of partnership as a work relationship aimed at achieving a particular objective (Dunne and Finalay 2016). The aim of making partnership is to achieve an integrated outcome for overcoming the barriers and the issues that the children and their families have been facing and hindering their development.

The briefing paper shall address the Shadow Secretary of State for Education. A detailed analysis of the historical background of the working of the multi agencies shall be done. The current state of the multi agencies and the future approaches of the agencies shall be evaluated. On the basis of the findings, a number of recommendations will be made that might help these multi agencies to work better for the children in future.

Multi-agency working aims at Children’s welfare and benefits the under privileged children and their families. Multi agency working brings together practitioners and professionals from various sectors and work together in an integrated manner to support children and their families (Elliott-Johns et al. 2013). Multi agency working is a generic term and its functional areas vary from place to place. These might include a team working for a particular child or family, a panel of experts dealing with needs of children or families based on a particular area or establishment. The multi agency service also works together within a single unit that might be co-located or virtual in nature (Robinson and Payton 2016). Multi agency work could involve any person who wants to work voluntarily or as a team with other members. They can be of any professional backgrounds like doctor, professor, social worker, police or anyone working for the youth.

The aim of these multi-agency workers is to prevent the problems that the children and their families have been facing in the first place. They look into the additional needs of the children that would help them to secure their life and bring improvement in their life. Regular meetings are held among the groups of people involved in the agency (Pugh and Duffy 2013). It has to be understood that the children and the family needs are different. Keeping this perspective into consideration, sometimes the composition of the multi-agency team also differs. Thus, it is important to involve practitioners with their own specialist skills and expertise that would bring own specialist skills, expertise and insight and would be able to help the children and their families’ best as per their abilities (Dunne and Finalay 2016).

Community programs are designed to improve the functioning of the disadvantaged groups of people and their families having poor condition in the society. The role of UK Communities was less known among the population of UK and thus, lesser approach was made towards addressing inequalities in the community (Curnin et al. 2015). Undertaking evidences from the other developed countries like USA, initiations were made in the early stage of life of the under privileged children and their families. The difficulties of working individually lead to the formation of agency. These agencies started designing and implementing such programs that creates appropriate interventions and helped to achieve successful collaboration of partnership between the working professionals and the agencies working for the benefits of the children (Jeyasingham 2017). It was found that the local people of the community also took the initiative and joined the agency as a part of helping the children in the locality.

Initiation of multi-agency working

‘Every Child Matters’, the initiative made by the government aimed at improving children’s life opportunities and that Youth Matters, extended the initiation to include the children and also those aged between 13 and 19 years to address poverty, health issues, low aspirations and absences from school (Stanley and Humphreys 2014). These steps were taken to support the youth by a number of organizations through an integrated working approach. Later, this approach was further cultivated and betterment of the family also became one of the major criterion to be fulfilled by these organizations. Thus, various agencies took the initiative to work together and provide service to the needy at the right time and at the right place. This was when individual response was converted into a multi agency platform (Jasper et al. 2016). The effectiveness and development of these agencies were felt and they were found to work for the local community to identify the barriers that were hindering the work of the children for development in the community where they live.

It has been found that a great progress have already been made in working as a multi agency working. It is indeed an effective way of supporting children and young people who are in need of some additional help that is required for the improvement in their life outcomes. There are a number of ways that have been found to serve as a multi working agency (Rasheed 2016). However, three most distinct models of multi agency working can be suggested for practical application. These are Multi agency panel, Multi agency team and the integrated service. It has to be considered that not all the models fit exactly with each other and there are some differences on each ground. An analysis of these models can be made in this section of the study.

  1. Multi agency panel:

In this form of panel, the practitioners remain employed with their respective agencies. The members agreed to meet as a panel member whenever meeting are called. This way the members can discuss about the children and young people who are in requirement of additional needs (David 2013).

Characteristics of multi agency panel:

  • There remains a co-ordinator or the chair person of the panel. The job of this person happens to be full time, but it is optional to the person (Nutbrown and Clough 2014).
  • The representatives of the panel have a good mixture from different practitioners like education, health, social care and even from the judiciary
  • The meetings are generally organised by the managers of the panel. However, it has also been found that in some situations the panel is also supported by major key workers as well (Dunne and Finalay 2016)
  • In this form of panel, the members are focuses individually to support the child, young people and their families.
  • The members share their information with each other in order to work it out properly.

Benefits and opportunities

Challenges

There is no need for human resource or recruitment because the practitioners are self employed in their respective home agencies.

The meeting might not be frequent and thus, the decision would not be focused and the contribution of each in the outcome would not be fruitful.

As practitioners involve with their will, they remain involve in the overall activities. This also opens up for training and development opportunities in the panel (Feller eta l. 2016).

It has been evident that the members of the panel tend to identify their home agency well rather than their role in a multi agency panel.

As the practitioners work together, they can share their ideas and experience. This would automatically improve the working style and would bring better results.

All the members of the panel might not be given the equal time or opportunity to lead the professional responsibilities, especially if the function is carried on in their home agencies.

When the members work together as a panel, they can elect their head representative depending on the role and activity they share with others.

The members have to keep a trace of the activities of the panel and thus, it might require significantly more amount of time (Allen and Cowdery 2014).

  1. Multi agency team:

 In a multi agency team, the practitioners are recruited into the team. There remains a formal arrangement of the members involved in the team. The team leader is generally responsible for managing the team. However, the members are often found to maintain link with the home agencies as well by the means of supervision and training. Some of the well known multi agency teams are, Youth Offending Teams, behaviour and education support team and sure start multi disciplinary teams (Campbell et al. 2014). These teams have been found to participate in wide range of children and youth programs.

Characteristics:

  • Multi agency team has a dedicated leader responsible for taking care of the overall activities of the agency
  • Like multi agency panel, this team is also formed by the combination of a good mix of practitioners like health representative, youth justice, youth work staff and others
  • The members although recruited but they think themselves as a team member and not as a recruited person and each member can discuss all kinds of administrative issues (Morrison 2013).
  • This team not only involve with the children and young people but they are found to involve with small communities including work for school
  • Some staffs are found to work from their home agency but the members are likely to share their base with the agency

Benefits and opportunities

Challenges

Good sense of team spirit has been identified in this panel

Recruiting members is a great challenge for the panel.

Co-workers are found to share their experiences with others that allows spreading of skills and knowledge

Time and enough resources are required to set up and build the team and for its development

Communication is easier and the panel also welcomes others to join it

When teams do not work together it poise greater challenge to others in terms of communication and dealing with problems (Wortham and Hardin 2015)

Since the panel focuses on the school activities as well, there remains better chances of interventions in the Early year settings

It is important to keep good relationship with the schools and other education forums

  1. Integrated services:

The role and responsibility of the integrated services is to act as a service hub for the community to bring together a range of services under a single roof. The aim of the integrated service is to work in a multi agency platform to provide service and support to the children and families.

Different models of multi-agency working

Characteristics:

  • This service aimed at providing a range of services to share a common location and a common philosophy and agreed upon a particular principle to serve the children and their families (James and Prout 2015)
  • There remains a cohesive and comprehensive attachment among the community. The integrated service and the management structure facilitate the working of the integrated service
  • The members are committed to each other in the partnership and the services are delivered at the early stage of education
  • Service level agreement can precisely set a relationship between the home agency and the multi agency service

Benefits and opportunities

Challenges

There remains the opportunities of addressing the issues related to children in terms of their education or health

The members are required to develop fresh thinking on the new concepts required for the development of community

The panel focuses on improving the educational standard

Bringing a range of partners to accomplish the work of building good education forum requires collaborative leadership approach (Lamb et al. 2014)

The co-workers provide joint training and open up opportunities for others. The communication also remain strong among the members

Developing a sense of joint approach apart from the home agency happen to be challenging to some members

The members can link their work with their home agency as well.

The members and the staffs appointed work at a different levels of pay

The problems and issues highlighted that initiated the formation of multi agency working can be considered as an inter-related problems with other issues like poverty, unemployment and children’s life opportunities. However, there were initiatives made to improve the conditions of the labourers and the workers. For instance, New Labour law was formulated to fight against the increasing odds taking place in the community. Thus, the approach of multi-agency working created questions on its needs and value in the community. However, in the view point of Adamson and Brennan (2014), that in order to combat against the increasing inequality in the society, a uniform approach has to be taken and thus, the need of partnership were felt. This would create policies for various arenas with cross cutting outcome like social inclusion. The problems that the children, youth and the families were facing were combined and inter-linked to each other and thus, the multi-agency approach is indeed the right thing to join up the solution (Dunne and Finalay 2016).

The attempt of developing a multi agency platform would be challenging and the work would be complex. The concept of working in a collaborative manner was not new but a combination approach was made before as well. Working collectively is looked as a rhetoric approach to fight against ambiguity or complex situation. In fact, despite certain political interest in the formation of partnership, there should be certain unspoken assumptions that are needed to achieve more. In fact, James and Prout (2015) pointed out that agencies work together for a number of reasons. The positive impact of working together lead meeting the specific needs of the group and that they would be able to achieve the goals collectively. However, at times it happens that the partnership takes a form of forced partnership and that does not achieve that level of success as it had aimed to.

The multi agencies have been working towards achieving common aim for better education, improvement in health, youth justice, social care and youth work. The community members have been voluntarily and to some extent involuntarily been asked to participate to work together around a preventive agenda. Working a multi-agency reduces the risk factors to a large extent that would directly contribute to improve the poorer condition of children and young people (Morrison 2013). The coming years shall offer better configuration to meet the needs of the children and their families in the convenient communities in a more streamlined way.

There are numerous examples of the UK government policies that aim to put children and their families at the centre of care. These agencies have been delivering services as well. The unusual death of a number of children had aroused the concern related to the safety and care of children and their families as well (James and Prout 2015). Keeping this instance into consideration, children trust and agencies need to be developed that would focus on the social, education and health service of the children. The service has helped many children in providing them early education and also helped to improve their socio-economic condition by helping them in every possible way. The agencies also work with disabled children and help them to live a life that they could barely dream of. The agencies can be easily given the credit if bringing a better life for the under privileged children and their families (Dunne and Finalay 2016). These agencies often come up with certain programs that help them to take care of the children and provide them the necessary things needed to lead a satisfied life.

In order to improve the service of the multi agency working, certain recommendations can be made.

  1. Web based multi agency service:as it has been evident that the team face certain difficulties in managing their time or meeting with other members of the team, it is better to develop a web based agency service where the members could be able to communicate with each other easily. Any members of the team would be able to share his or her opinion or experience with others. The advancement of technology and various medium of communication have widened the horizon for the web based multi agency service.
  2. Better leadership in forming the agencies:It is also recommended that not only depending on the members of the multi agency team, it is expected that the agency would have the support of a better leader who shall be responsible for the overall activities of the agency. The members can be recruited as well in the team apart from self involvement. This way, high level people can be involved in the practice that would definitely help to improve the situation where the under privileged children and their families are.  
  3. More research and development:It has also been evident that no prominent research is carried on to mark betterment of the situation. It has to be understood that for a developed nation keeping the children and the young people in a good state is utterly important. Therefore, it is important conduct proper research on the development criteria that would eventually help the nation to develop.

Conclusion:

A detailed discussion has been conducted on the formation and the work of multi agency service. It has been found that the members of these agencies work as a team and look forward towards the betterment and development of children and their families. UK government has focused on the needs of these children and have been found to come up with certain policies that would eventually help to improve the condition of the children. An analysis of the different models of the multi agency working as been done and their benefits and challenges have been discussed. As it has been observed that the members of the team at certain point of time find it difficult to communicate or relate their work with each other, certain recommendations have been made that would make the working easier and the development process shall excel.

References: 

Adamson, E. and Brennan, D., 2014. Social investment or private profit? Diverging notions of ‘investment’in early childhood education and care. International Journal of Early Childhood, 46(1), pp.47-61. 

Allen, E.K. and Cowdery, G.E., 2014. The exceptional child: Inclusion in early childhood education. Nelson Education. 

Campbell, F., Conti, G., Heckman, J.J., Moon, S.H., Pinto, R., Pungello, E. and Pan, Y., 2014. Early childhood investments substantially boost adult health. Science, 343(6178), pp.1478-1485. 

Curnin, S., Owen, C., Paton, D., Trist, C. and Parsons, D., 2015. Role Clarity, Swift Trust and Multi?Agency Coordination. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 23(1), pp.29-35. 

David, T., 2013. Working Together for Young Children: multi-professionalism in action. Routledge.

Dunne, J.F. and Finalay, F., 2016. G625 Multi-agency safeguarding hub–a new way of working. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 101(Suppl 1), pp.A369-A370. 

Elliott-Johns, S.E., Wideman, R., Black, G.L., Cantalini-Williams, M. and Guibert, J., 2013. Developing multi-agency partnerships for early learning: seven keys to success. Editorial Staff, p.149. 

Feller, A., Grindal, T., Miratrix, L.W. and Page, L.C., 2016. Compared to what? Variation in the impacts of early childhood education by alternative care-type settings. 

James, A. and Prout, A. eds., 2015. Constructing and reconstructing childhood: Contemporary issues in the sociological study of childhood. Routledge. 

Jasper, R., Wilberforce, M., Verbeek, H. and Challis, D.J., 2016. Multi-agency working and implications for care managers. Journal of Integrated Care, 24(2), pp.56-66. 

Jeyasingham, D., 2017. Soft, small, malleable, and slow: Corporeal form and movement in social workers' and police officers' talk about practice in a Multi?Agency Safeguarding Hub. Child & Family Social Work. 

Lamb, M.E., Sternberg, K.J., Hwang, C.P. and Broberg, A.G., 2014. Child care in context: Cross-cultural perspectives. Psychology Press. 

Morrison, G.S., 2013. Fundamentals of early childhood education. Pearson Higher Ed. 

NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 2016. Child-care structure→ process→ outcome: Direct and indirect effects of child-care quality on young children's development. Psychological Science. 

Nutbrown, C. and Clough, P., 2014. Early childhood education: History, philosophy and experience. Sage. 

Pugh, G. and Duffy, B. eds., 2013. Contemporary issues in the early years. Sage. 

Rasheed, H., 2016. How has GIRFEC Affected Multi-Agency Working in the Assessment Process?. Asian Journal of Humanity, Art and Literature, 3(3), pp.191-194. 

Robinson, A. and Payton, J., 2016. Independent Advocacy and Multi-Agency Responses to Domestic Violence. In Domestic Violence (pp. 249-271). Palgrave Macmillan UK. 

Stanley, N. and Humphreys, C., 2014. Multi-agency risk assessment and management for children and families experiencing domestic violence. Children and youth services review, 47, pp.78-85. 

Wortham, S.C. and Hardin, B.J., 2015. Assessment in early childhood education. Pearson. 

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