In 2003 the Government published a Green Paper called Every Child Matters. This was published alongside the formal response to the report into the death of Victoria C, the young girl who was horrifically abused and tortured, and eventually killed by her great aunt and the man with whom they lived.
The Green Paper built on existing plans to strengthen preventative services by focusing on four key themes:
The Green Paper prompted an unprecedented debate about services for children, children and families. There was a wide consultation with people working in children's services, and with parents, children and children.
Following the consultation, the Government published Every child matters: The next steps, and passed the Children Act 2004, providing the legislative spine for developing more effective and accessible services focused around the needs of children, children and families.
The Every Child Matters (ECM) Green Paper identified the five outcomes that are most important to children and children:
The five outcomes are universal ambitions for every child and young person, whatever their background or circumstances. Improving outcomes for all children and children underpins all of the development and work within Children's Trusts.
The outcomes are mutually reinforcing. For example:
Children learn and thrive when they are healthy, safe and engaged; and the evidence shows clearly that educational achievement is the most effective route out of poverty.
Improving outcomes also involves narrowing the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers. The Government is focusing particularly on improving outcomes for looked after children and children with special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities, and on reducing the incidence of teenage pregnancy and number of children not in education or training. The Government recognises the crucial role of parents, carers and families in improving outcomes for children and the need to provide support for parents, carers and families in order for them to do so. The Government also recognises the important role of the local community.
In August 2010, the Coalition Government renamed ECM as Help Children Achieve More.
The Libra School Libra has always placed great importance in children accessing a broad and balanced education. Research now supports our view that children in care can be disadvantaged through multiple moves, low self-esteem and negative experiences in school. Libra support children by helping them to find out what they are good at and to build on success rather than to focus on failure. Each young person is an individual with their own best way of learning. All our teaching staff are trained and experienced to deal with challenging behaviours and disaffection. The Libra School is skilled at motivating children to engage in schooling through the use of a wide curriculum with engaging and empathic teachers.
To provide opportunities where children can learn how to be physically and
emotionally healthy and choose not to take illegal drugs and mistreat their minds and bodies. We support the children to engage in a full range of physical activities through PE, Outdoor Education and School trips. Our Personal Social Health and Citizenship Education programme helps children develop skills and strategies to avoid conflict and acquire resilience, emotional confidence and social competence. The Libra School has a strong sex education and Virtual Baby programme supporting AQA unit awards for sex education resulting in effective preparation for independence for all children.
To provide a secure and stable environment where children feel cared for. Teaching staff receive regular training in Child Protection and Health and Safety issues. We emphasise and use therapeutic arts programmes to explore sensitive issues around respect, personal safety and child protection. We have a robust anti-bullying policy at the school. Our high staff / pupil ratio ensures that children are constantly supported in a safe and nurturing environment to manage and support peer relationships. We foster a community spirit which encourages positive relationships and empathy. Our residential colleagues, where appropriate, work with us to keep children safe outside school. Our citizenship programme ensures that each pupil is aware of the wider picture of antisocial behaviour, its human impact and the consequences of crime.
A broad curriculum is offered to allow diversity and differentiation. The Libra School focuses on literacy, numeracy and life skills as these areas are always the weakness of children coming to us. The staff team works closely together, with our consultant Education Psychologist and with the children and their care staff in order to achieve the best outcomes. Pastoral care is a strength at the Libra School with a strong programme of tutoring that supports the work being done by our colleagues within the care home.
Enjoy and Achieve
To ensure children attend and enjoy school and achieve personal, social and academic development. New children undergo an educational assessment with our consultant Educational Psychologist to determine areas of strength and weakness to inform the Individual Education Plan. All children are re-assessed by teaching staff and the Educational Psychologist on an annual basis to determine progress to update the Individual Education Plan. Sensitive and systematic assessments and monitoring ensure that our curriculum is adapted and responsive to the individual needs of each pupil; it allows for additional support where needed and informs overall strategy. We use a range of stimulating teaching and learning styles to make sure our children want to come to school and want to learn. New students are encouraged to engage in learning through the use of Forest School teaching, outdoor education and physical activities. The Libra School has achieved great success engaging children who have previously refused education at a number of other establishments in education. Education for our children is on a one-to-one and very small group basis with a teacher and a very high ratio of Learning Support Assistants. Accreditation is important at the Libra School. All children have an entitlement to a range of national qualifications. The Libra School is currently registered to deliver NCFE qualifications, AQA Unit Awards, Asdan qualifications, Arts Awards and GCSE qualifications.
Make A Positive Contribution
To develop self-confidence, responsibility, and enterprising behaviour children actively contribute to decisions affecting the school community. We have a strong positive behaviour support plan at the school. Clear and consistent boundaries mean that children make important decisions about their own behaviour and positive behaviour is expected, encouraged and rewarded in its own right and as an expression of social consciousness and moral responsibility. Individual education plans identify with the children, their short and long term education and behaviour targets. Children are encouraged to take part in local charity or community projects. Recognition of individual worth and development of improved self-esteem are at the heart of everything we do.
Achieve Economic Wellbeing
To prepare children for further education and employment children are given means to be included in society through educational and vocational qualifications, emotional resilience, practical training and work experience opportunities. Children learn to be economically aware and active in preparation for adult responsibilities through a strong programme of life skills. We liaise with colleges, careers agencies and employers to ensure our students know about and are in a position to take up opportunities to further develop their skills whether it be academically, vocationally or through apprentice schemes.