Posted on Monday, 03 June 2013 at 9am
by Lifelong Learning Centre Staff.
Further to my recent blogs looking at my research into children, young people’s and family services and schools (on the Professional Gaze and Learning Journeys), I was privileged recently to interview Baroness Beverley Hughes. Prior to her current role as opposition spokesperson in the House of Lords on matters concerning children’s services and schools, Baroness Hughes was Minister for Children and Families from 2005 to 2009. In this role she led the development of radical policies such as Every Child Matters, Youth Matters and the first National Children’s Plan. She was also responsible for promoting schools to think more broadly about children, young people, families and communities.
In my interview I questioned Baroness Hughes about her time as Minister and the legacy this has left. I also asked her to reflect on policy and its implementation and what were the obstacles and perhaps mistakes made as policy developed.
The broad findings from this (and other similar interviews I have undertaken) reflect the fact that when the last government left power in 2010 the planning was in place to continue to develop a ‘single workforce’ where schools were central to the delivery of local services. However, leaders and frontline staff are now openly discussing “confusion” in the workforce as schools are asked by the Coalition government to return to so-called ‘traditional educational values’ thus creating a fracture in the workforce as previous policies are, in the words of one of my interviewees, “airbrushed away”.
Apart from informing my teaching on our Child and Family Studies programmes, these findings will also be used in my research papers (currently in the process of being published in international journals) about changing contemporary childhood and in a book I am writing which will ask a fundamental question: “what are schools for?”.