Integrated Working with Children and Young People: Supporting Development from Birth to Nineteen

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Edited by: Nadia Edmond & Mark Price

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  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
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  • Education at SAGE

    SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets.

    Our education publishing includes:

    • accessible and comprehensive texts for aspiring education professionals and practitioners looking to further their careers through continuing professional development
    • inspirational advice and guidance for the classroom
    • authoritative state of the art reference from the leading authors in the field

    Find out more at: http://www.sagepub.co.uk/education

    Copyright

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    Dedication

    For our colleagues and students in the School of Education at the University of Brighton. Their belief in, and commitment to, higher education in the professional learning of those working with children and young people has provided constant support and inspiration.

    Particular thanks are due to Jessica Hamlin and Lindsay Macpherson for always excellent and unfailingly good natured editorial support.

    List of Figures and Tables

    About the Editors and Contributors

    The Editors

    Nadia Edmond is Assistant Head of the School of Education at the University of Brighton and initiated the Foundation Degree Professional Studies in Primary Education for primary teaching assistants. She has a background in teaching in adult and further education and her research interests include professionalism, professional learning and identity.

    Mark Price originally trained as a playworker, secondary school teacher, youth worker and psychotherapist. Mark is now a Principal Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Brighton, where he leads on economic and social engagement and workforce development. His main teaching and research interests are in reflective practice, professional identity formation and narrative enquiry.

    The Contributors

    Erica Evans is currently working for the University of Brighton as Programme Leader for the Early Years Professional Status and as an Associate Lecturer for the Open University on the Foundation Degree in Early Years. Her previous experience includes working as a class teacher, registered childminder, childminding network co-ordinator and adult education tutor.

    Denise Kingston is a qualified educational psychologist and teacher. She has worked for many different local authorities as a teacher, educational psychologist, portage supervisor, advisor, consultant and Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership senior manager.

    She is now Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Brighton and is particularly interested in the links that can be made between inclusion and quality improvement.

    Jane Melvin has been in the field of youth work for over 25 years. During this time, she has worked within centre-based and residential contexts, moving from direct face-to-face contact with young people, through training and development, to senior management. She is now Route Leader for the FdA Working with Young People and BA (Hons) Youth Work at the University of Brighton.

    Deborah Price has worked with children and young people for thirty years. She has worked as a primary teacher, OFSTED inspector and playworker and is now a Senior Lecturer at the University of Brighton and is the Route Leader for the Foundation Degree in Playwork. Her other professional roles are as Lecturer in children's literature for The Open University, manager of ‘Childcare Training’ and as a freelance trainer for ‘Working With Others’.

    Sarah Wilkins has been a social worker for over 20 years, working as a practitioner and manager with children and young people in care and leaving care. Prior to this she completed a Degree in drama, theatre and television, which has always allowed her to think creatively about her work. Alongside her ongoing role in social work, she is also now a Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Brighton, where she contributes to the Foundation Degree and other practice-based programmes.

    Preface

    How This Book Came About

    The Every Child Matters policy agenda has had a major impact on the children and young people's workforce. Existing roles such as early years practitioners, teaching assistants, playworkers and youth workers and new roles such as learning mentors and parent support advisors require increasingly high standards of professional development and qualification. Much of this professional development and qualification has been provided by Higher Education programmes (predominantly Foundation Degrees) in Further and Higher Education institutions.

    The authors of this book are a programme team that have been involved in the development and delivery of a range of Foundation Degrees across the children and young people's workforce since their introduction in 2002. Initially these were separate courses but since 2008, the team have worked together to develop a common curriculum across the different awards. We recognise the need for professionally distinct content for different groups of workers within the children and young people's workforce, yet increasingly, effectiveness in any role depends not just on specific professional expertise but on the capacity to communicate and collaborate with a range of other professions. We saw the need for programmes which include professionally distinct content but also acknowledge and make the commonalities explicit. This thinking has informed the development of core content for courses in the children and young people's workforce – the basic understandings we all need to share.

    In this book, we have aimed to provide an accessible foundation to working with children and young people which is of relevance to all those undertaking professional development in their role, particularly through a Foundation Degree. Its interdisciplinary perspective is designed specifically to support the development of practitioners as effective contributors to integrated working through multi-disciplinary teams. It clearly identifies the skills and knowledge which cross the occupational boundaries and aims to support better communication between those working with children and young people and transitions between associated roles. Whether readers are employed and studying part-time or on a full-time programme which includes periods of placement working with children and/or young people, they will welcome the practical focus of this book, which relates key ideas to practice in the workplace.

    Who Is This Book For?

    The book arises directly out of teaching common aspects of Foundation and Undergraduate Degrees for the Children and Young People's workforce in an interdisciplinary way at the University of Brighton, where the authors work together, teaching across five Foundation Degrees and two BA Degrees. This kind of teaching for common modules of Foundation and Undergraduate Degrees and the development of generic programmes in working with children and young people is becoming increasingly widespread within Higher Education.

    As a tutor team we experienced the need for a core text which would support the teaching and learning of common themes in working with children and young people in an interdisciplinary and multi-agency context. Having worked on developing teaching materials to support our students, we wanted to develop these as a book to make the resources, activities and ideas available to a wider audience. In particular, we know from colleagues working in local authorities and a range of children and young people settings that there is a need for materials to contribute to an interdisciplinary perspective on continuing professional development (CPD). This book, therefore, is for anyone working with children and/or young people who is interested in developing a more informed critical perspective on their practice and thinking about how their particular role relates to the others in the children and young people's workforce. The book offers exciting new perspectives on professional roles and puts multi-disciplinary working into practice from the very start.

    What Does the Book Cover?

    The book addresses issues common to all those working with children and young people. The introduction provides an overview to two theoretical perspectives fundamental to the whole book. Thereafter, the book is organised into three sections.

    In Section 1, ‘Professionalism in the Children and Young People's Workforce’, four chapters address the policy context and issues for working with children and young people. These chapters look at policy trends and themes, debates around and strategies for evaluating ‘effectiveness’ and ‘quality’, the nature of professionalism and professional relationships and leadership, and the challenges presented by multi-agency and inter-professional working.

    Section 2, ‘Supporting Children and Young People's Development’ is aimed at helping students understand children and young people's development from a range of perspectives. Three chapters address physical development, cognitive development and social and emotional development.

    In Section 3, ‘Effective Communication and Engagement’, the five chapters focus on professional relationships with children and young people, with families, on promoting the well-being and safeguarding of children, supporting transitions, and promoting equality and inclusion.

    Finally a conclusion encourages readers to review their learning and plan for ongoing professional development.

    How to Use This Book: Guidance for Students

    This book is designed to be read by busy students and professionals. We have worked hard to make it engaging and accessible and recognise that readers will want to be able to dip in and out, depending on their particular interests or concerns. Each chapter includes:

    • a chapter overview
    • illustrative case studies
    • Reflection points, at which you will be challenged to think about how what you are reading relates to your practice
    • Workplace activities, which will support you in taking your thinking about your practice forward and/or broaden your perspective on particular issues
    • Further reading to guide you in developing the ideas further.

    To get the most from reading this book, it is important that you engage with the case studies, reflection points and activities as these will help you build on your experience at work or on placement to develop as critically reflective professionals. The inter-professional perspective will help you to engage with this important aspect of current practice in the children and young people's workforce.

  • Conclusion

    MarkPrice
    Our Narrative

    In writing and editing this book, the authors and editors have been conscious of weaving together three interconnected themes we see as central to professional learning:

    • conceptual and theoretical frameworks – which helps us understand and analyse children and young people's learning and development and the way society shapes and structures all our lives;
    • the policy context – locally, nationally and globally, through which employers and government seek to influence, direct and legislate services and provision for children, young people and their families/carers and communities;
    • focus on practice – the relationships, interactions, interventions and programmes practitioners undertake with children, young people and their families/carers and communities.

    The challenge we set ourselves in writing this book has been to capture these themes and present them as separate strands but woven as a coherent fabric.

    An additional challenge has been to capture the virtues, values and voices of the different professional identities, the range of student practitioners the book is aimed at, mirrored in a similar range of identities and experiences of the writing team. Between us, the authors of this text have worked in and hold qualification and membership of the following professions:

    • early years;
    • playwork;
    • teaching;
    • youth work;
    • social work;
    • educational psychology;
    • psychotherapy.

    And most of us can tick at least two of these. We don't think, though, that we're unusual, and the multi-faceted backgrounds and experiences of our students support this. Rather, we conclude that this is no accident: for to develop the flexible, adaptable approach to working with children and young people that the current service landscape requires, particularly in the newer, emerging professions, the ability to be a ‘border crosser’ (Giroux, 1992), a ‘boundary spanner’ (Daft, 1989) is demanded.

    This range of experiences and identities has led to an interesting and at times challenging exploration of values and perspectives. In particular, for example, concepts such as ‘quality’, ‘professional’, ‘self’ and ‘inclusion’ are both slippery and sticky – dynamic terms which we interpret through our individual, professional lenses. But through examining these underpinning concepts, we reach new insights into issues and practices – a journeying towards meaning.

    In examining New Labour discourses on social inclusion/exclusion policy, Levitas (2004) quotes Humpty Dumpty (Carroll, 1871): ‘“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less”’. Hence, not only are the concepts themselves tricky, but governments, as well as their associated policy and underpinning discourse, change, which then provides a further challenge. Chapters 1, 2, 4, 10 and 12, particularly, attempt to both analyse and summarise policy developed in recent years, which at the time of writing still provides the foundations of our current practice, whilst acknowledging the changing landscape and language a new government brings.

    At the heart of our work, though, is our understanding of children and young people's lives – their physical, psychological, social and emotional development (as explored in Chapters 57). The way this understanding impacts and gives direction to our relationships and interventions is the focus we perhaps most readily identify with as practitioners (see Chapter 3 and Chapters 811). A particular challenge here is the way our social learning space is being reconfigured by digital information exchange. We email, blog, text, tweet, download, Facebook, Skype and Google each other in a way that was inconceivable to us when we were children and which will be completely unrecognisable in the future social and working lives of the children we work with now.

    Looking to the Future

    In a comparative study of inter-professional working in schools and children's centres in both England and Sweden (Cameron et al., 2009) some interesting findings emerged. The study acknowledged that Sweden has had a longer history than England of inter-professional working and that practices were perhaps more embedded. It was also noted, interestingly, that England's workforce was more complex and hierarchical. Sweden was found to have undergone major restructuring in its service provision, built largely around the graduate professional as a core worker. England, it was noted, was in the early stages of whole system reform, with the emergence of new roles, but the underlying restructuring services to support these reforms was less well developed. Cameron et al. (2009) noted four practice models of inter-professional working present in the two countries:

    • Parallel working – agencies are co-located but little inter-professional work is evident.
    • Multi-agency case work – agencies work together around individual cases (the most common model of working presently in England).
    • Project teams – agencies come together for particular, often time-limited, projects.
    • Work groups – inter-professional teams engage together throughout the school day, in face-to-face practice with children (rarely seen in England).

    The study makes the point that ‘effective working together calls for an awareness of the different purposes required for different forms of integrated working’ (Cameron et al., 2009: 1). There are key implications here, in terms of developing working together practices for the children and young people's workforce in England.

    The big challenge, though, is that the landscape is changing again. The multiplicity of policy reforms of the Labour government, driving through public service and workforce re-modelling, has been replaced by the Coalition government, who seek to echo communitarian principles by giving localities greater decision-making powers regarding service provision. This is combined with the potential de-professionalisation of significant elements of the public sector workforce, through an emphasis on voluntarism.

    David Cameron has proposed building ‘the Big Society’ to fix what has been repeatedly described as our ‘broken society’, although a coherent narrative for this has yet to be articulated. However, we do know that this will involve public services being subjected even more to a ‘market economy’, whilst being delivered on restricted budgets, if they exist at all. As practitioners, we will need to adapt to this new environment, whilst not being afraid to interrogate the narrative – this is the right and duty of all informed practitioners and forms a cornerstone of the academic process.

    The immediate implication of this Coalition policy move is that the infrastructure to support inter-professional working may be weakened. This will place greater responsibility on practitioners to develop their own networks and communities of multi-disciplinary practice. In addition, practitioners will need to be mindful of the professional focus of their role and how this relates to a clearly identifiable, professional identity. Already we can see how support services for some of the most vulnerable children, young people and their families are under threat, and moves towards developing professional frameworks for the ‘new professions’ (e.g. early years, playwork, Connexions, parent support, etc.) are being destabilised by cuts to local authority services. The extent to which ‘the Big Society’, through free schools, mutuals and social enterprises, is able to replace previously provided local authority public services is unclear, let alone their intention to draw upon and build on ‘new professionalism’.

    And so, as a conclusion to this text, we focus on the process of continuing professional development. Our experience is that the partnership of academic and professional work-based learning programmes, such as those at as the University of Brighton, are life changing. The capacity and commitment to reflect on experience and loosen the hold on current understanding and values are central elements to professional development in higher education. But we know this process at times is not easy or comfortable. Atherton's (2005: 1) analysis of resistance to learning introduces the concept of ‘supplanting learning which calls into question previous ways of acting or prior knowledge’ and describes how the psychological cost of learning prevents ‘shift’ and the supplanting process ‘leads to a temporary “trough” of diminished competence’ (2005: 2).

    Relating to the conscious competence model explored in Chapter 2, the challenge for all professionals is to remain consciously competent. Hence, through the process of critical reflection and analysis, the intention is that there develops a willingness to continue to look at things from a new perspective. Moon (1999: 14) echoes Freire's (1970) process of ‘conscientization’ and Mezirow's (1990) use of the term ‘perspective transformation’ in relation to the learner's potential for change:

    Emancipatory interests rely on the development of knowledge via critical or evaluative modes of thought and enquiry so as to understand the self, the human condition and the self in human context. The acquisition of such knowledge is aimed at producing a transformation in the self, or in the personal, social or world situation or any combination of these. (Moon, 1999: 14)

    Predictably, our future working lives will be unpredictable. Children and young people's everyday lives, and that of their families and communities, will change and so will those services whose role it is to support them through learning and development processes. A commitment to informed, critical, compassionate practice, however, will always be central to working with children and young people.

    References
    Atherton, J.S. (2005) Learning and Teaching: Resistance to Learning. Available online at: http://www.learningandteaching.info/learning/resistan.htm (accessed 22.05.11).
    Cameron, C., Moss, P., Owen, C., Petrie, P., Potts, P., Simon, A. and Wigfall, V. (2009) Working Together in Extended Schools and Children's Centres: A Study of Inter-professional Activity in England and Sweden. London: DCSF/Institute of Education.
    Carroll, L. (1871) Through the Looking-Glass. London: Macmillan.
    Daft, R.L. (1989) Organization Theory and Design (
    3rd edn
    ). New York: West Publishing Co.
    Freire, P. (1970) The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Harmondsworth: Penguin.
    Giroux, H. (1992) Border Crossing. London: Routledge.
    Levitas, R. (2004) ‘Let's hear it for Humpty: Social exclusion, the Third Way and cultural capital’, Cultural Trends, 13(2): 41–56. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0954896042000267143
    Mezirow, J. (1990) Fostering Critical Reflection in Adulthood. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
    Moon, J. (1999) Reflection in Learning and Professional Development. London: Kogan Page.

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