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Improving Outcomes for Children and Young People: the role of schools in delivering integrated children's services

DescriptionImproving Outcomes for Children and Young People
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateFebruary 07, 2006


    This document is also available in pdf format (152k)

    This pamphlet is for local authorities and schools and aims to clarify their role in delivering integrated children's services.


    The launch of the Integrated (then New) Community School initiative in 1998 recognised the need for an integrated approach by a range of services to meet the needs of children and young people and promoted the development of multi-agency working in and around schools. We have learned a lot through the experience of integrated community schooling ( ICS) to inform future development.

    Alongside this education-led initiative and following the publication of For Scotland's Children in 2001 much has been done at both national and local level to improve planning and delivery of integrated children's services to improve the lives of children and young people. In this context, it is no longer appropriate to think of ICS as a separate school-based initiative and our aim is to learn from the experience to mainstream approaches to integrated service provision.

    To achieve this schools need:

    • to take responsibility for their contribution to the shared vision for Scotland's children and young people
    • strong leadership underpinning integrated approaches at both authority and school level
    • to plan and deliver services for the whole school (or all children in a cluster) in partnership with other agencies, as well as co-ordinating multi-agency support for individual children
    • an appropriately skilled workforce

    To support schools:

    • local authorities are involved in integrated children's services planning
    • HMIE is developing a self-evaluation framework within Part 4 of How good is our school? - the journey to excellence which will provide tools for schools to evaluate the effectiveness of their partnership working
    • HMIE and their partners will also develop a self-evaluation guide to partnership working for agencies to use together at a neighbourhood or cluster level based on the HMIE Quality Indicator framework
    • a streamlined approach to inspecting services for children and young people will be introduced in 2008 assessing performance on integrated working through service specific and integrated inspection, following further consultation

    A shared vision

    Ministers have agreed a high-level vision for the children and young people of Scotland:

    "in order to become confident individuals, effective contributors, successful learners and responsible citizens, all Scotland's children need to be: safe, nurtured, healthy, achieving, active, included, respected and responsible"

    This can only be realised if all professionals working with children and young people pull together to plan and deliver top-quality services which overcome traditional boundaries. Schools have a vital role to play in achieving all elements of this vision.

    The National Priorities are about far more than attainment and continue to provide an appropriate focus for education. They show the particular contribution of education to meeting the wider vision for children and young people. This is reinforced by the inclusion of the four capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence in the vision for Scotland's children and by the agenda for action in education set out in Ambitious, Excellent Schools. Community learning and development is also delivered by schools and their partners and includes concern with outcomes for children and young people.

    A Partnership for a Better Scotland made the commitment that by 2007 every school in Scotland would be an Integrated Community School. In effect the ICS initiative has developed and the commitment has been overtaken by the wider integration agenda. It no longer makes sense to think of schools separately from other agencies. We would now say that:

    By 2007 every school in Scotland will participate in delivering Integrated Children's Services1

    1. Funding to support authorities in meeting this commitment continues to be made available as a component of the gross allocation of the National Priorities Action Fund ( NPAF).

    Our concept of an excellent school embraces approaches and activities to meet the broad range of needs of young people, for example, Health Promoting Schools, Eco Schools, Determined to Succeed. An integrated approach is vital to successful delivery of these activities.

    Evidence shows that this will only be achieved where there is strong leadership and commitment at all levels through local authorities, school senior management teams and in the classroom.

    What next?

    This pamphlet outlines the valuable learning from the experience of integrated working so far and current developments aimed at improving integrated children's services. It also highlights the target date of 2008 to begin inspections of integrated working.

    It would therefore be timely for local authorities and schools to consider:

    • the progress in buy-in to the shared vision
    • leadership and commitment to integration at authority and school level
    • the structure, remit and effectiveness of existing and developing partnerships at authority and neighbourhood level and for individual support
    • skills needs within the workforce
    • the emerging self-evaluation and inspection frameworks

    Planning and delivering services for children

    For Scotland's Children drew attention to the need to put children and families at the centre of the public service network, to provide better integration at points of delivery and recognised that change would be required in many areas of service.

    at local authority level…

    Local authorities, NHS Boards, the police and other partners are now required to work together to develop Integrated Children's Services Plans ( ICSP). Local authorities now produce their Statement of Educational Improvement Objectives as part of the ICSP. In its early stages, the process needs to mature to respond meaningfully to local need with a genuinely integrated approach.

    at neighbourhood level…

    As part of the integrated planning arrangements local authorities and other partners need to put in place effective local mechanisms to ensure that strategic objectives are delivered. Within the context of community planning, and building on approaches developed through ICS, schools (or more commonly clusters) should come together with pre-school and post-school services, community learning and development, health and social work services, police, voluntary sector, parents and other local partners and community representatives to develop shared objectives and plan what is delivered respectively and together in order to meet the vision for children and young people. Planning and delivery at this level should address the needs of the whole population, for example considering health promotion, transitions and curricular provision, as well as the needs of vulnerable children.

    for individuals…

    Already the Education (Additional Support for Learning) Act 2004 has commenced placing new duties on local authorities, health and social services to work together to develop integrated support for individual children, extending beyond traditional special educational needs to encompass children and young people who, for whatever reason, require support to access and benefit from education.

    The proposals in Getting it Right for Every Child ( GIRFEC) recommend development of a unified approach to children's services, requiring single assessment, one plan and a greater focus on outcomes for individual children. The consultation proposed new duties on agencies to be alert to the needs of children, to identify those children in need, and to co-operate to develop plans and evaluate and monitor progress. Agencies will be expected at a local level to deliver what is needed for the child when it is required, to put in place lead professionals where inter-agency activity is involved, and identify a key action officer to monitor and ensure that progress is being achieved. The consultation set out the aspirations of moving to a unified approach and associated legislation will be introduced in 2006. Associated work is underway to consider how funding streams can best be rationalised and managed to support a unified system.

    Self-evaluation and inspection

    The benefits of combining rigorous self-evaluation and independent inspection to improve delivery of services are well recognised. The Quality Improvement Framework for Integrated Services for Children, Young People and Families and the thinking in the current consultation on A Common Approach to Inspecting Services for Children and Young People aim to streamline self-evaluation and inspection within and across sectors, reinforcing accountability for integration at key leadership points. This means:

    • self-evaluation and inspection within education will provide a guide to the contribution of the school to partnership working and achievement of the broad vision for children and young people, for example, through the development of How good is our school? - the journey to excellence
    • neighbourhood partnerships, including schools and other agencies, will also be able to evaluate together their contribution to achieving the vision for children and young people
    • all relevant inspectorates and regulatory bodies will adhere to the same principles of inspection and have made a commitment to share information to achieve a more coherent system
    • integrated inspections will be introduced, taking an intelligence-led, proportionate approach using information gathered from self-evaluation and inspection to ensure improved outcomes are delivered.

    Workforce development

    What has been outlined so far are the structures and processes for bringing about the integration of service provision and improvements to outcomes for children and young people. However, it is recognised that making this work will depend largely on skills, competencies and attitudes of all professionals and support staff working with children and young people.

    Initial professional training, continuing professional development, change management, leadership development, learning from experience and sharing good practice will be important within and across services in delivering the vision for children and young people.

    Within education, Initial Teacher Education already refers to the integrated context in which teachers will be working. Some programmes and school experience placements enable student teachers to train and work alongside other professionals, but overall such opportunities are limited, especially within the one-year PGDE where time pressures are most acute. There is, however, considerable potential to improve the skills and competencies for integrated working in the induction year and thereafter through the new contractual commitment to continuing professional development.

    Addressing skills needs will be one of the key strands of work undertaken by the Personal Support in School Implementation Team in taking forward the recommendations of the National Review of Guidance. Happy Safe and Achieving their Potential, the report of the review group, sets out standards for personal support in schools, emphasising the role of all teachers in promoting positive relationships and for specialist staff in co-ordinating integrated approaches with external partners.

    HMIE will also collect and disseminate cameos of good practice on the roles schools play in working with a range of partners to meet the needs of children and young people.

    Useful references and glossary

    This pamphlet aims to bring together a number of key areas of work to clarify the broad agenda, but not address any particular developments in detail. The following references may be useful:

    Integrated Children's Services Planning
    Guidance to local authorities and other partners requiring them to submit plans for education, youth justice, children's health and social care, etc. as a one integrated plan.

    New Community School - The Prospectus
    The original prospectus inviting bids for the New Community School pilot initiative, setting out expected characteristics.

    Evaluation of Integrated Community School Pilots
    The findings from the national evaluation of phase 1 Integrated Community School pilots.

    The Sum of Its Parts? The Development of Integrated Community Schools in Scotland
    A report by HMIE in partnership with the Social Work Services Inspectorate and the Health Improvement Division of the Scottish Executive on how the Integrated Community School approach is being developed in Scotland.

    Exploring the Evidence Base for Integrated Children's Services
    A literature review of existing relevant evidence on Integrated Children's Services.

    For Scotland's Children (2001)
    Report of an action team of experts from local government, NHS and the voluntary sector to look at how better to integrate children's services.

    How good is our school? - the journey to excellence
    HMIE is currently engaged in a major project to exemplify the key factors which contribute to the educational success of a pre-school centre or a school in meeting the needs of all its children and young people. Towards the end of the year a publication will be produced which summarises the work to date and presents an overview of the key dimensions of an excellent school, incorporating How good is our school?

    Count Us In
    A report highlighting good practice in achieving inclusion in Scottish Schools.

    A Common Approach to Inspecting Services for Children and Young People
    An HMIE consultation setting out proposals to develop a more integrated and streamlined approach to inspection within and across children's services.

    The National Priorities in School Education
    The statutory framework for improvement in school education.

    A Curriculum for Excellence (2004)
    Establishing clear values, purposes and principles for education from 3 to 18 in Scotland.

    Ambitious, Excellent Schools (2004)
    The agenda for action in education.

    A Partnership for a Better Scotland
    The joint statement by the Scottish Labour Party and the Scottish Liberal Democrats, setting out the policies and direction for the current government.

    Health Promoting Schools
    The Health Promoting Schools programme aims to make health promotion an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of the school for pupils, staff and the wider community.

    Eco Schools
    The Eco Schools programme aims to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and ethos of the school for both pupils and for staff and to engage the wider community.

    Determined to Succeed
    Determined to Succeed is the Scottish Executive's strategy for enterprise in education. It aims to help Scotland's young people develop self-confidence, self-reliance and ambition to achieve their goals -in work and in life.

    Statement of Educational Improvement Objectives
    The Standards in Scotland's Schools etc. Act 2000 requires Education Authorities to prepare and publish annual statements outlining their improvement related objectives for the year ahead - a 'Statement of Education Improvement Objectives'. Schools should then take account of the objectives identified by their authority as they prepare their school development plans.

    Lifelong Partners: Scotland's Schools and Colleges Building the Foundations of a Lifelong Learning Society - A Strategy for Partnership
    A strategy aiming to increase and further enhance school/college partnership to extend opportunities for pupils to access high quality experiences and gain full recognition for their learning with Scotland's colleges.

    Education (Additional Support for Learning) Act 2004
    Legislation placing duties on local authorities, health and social services to work together to develop integrated support for children who require support to access and benefit from education.

    Getting It Right for Every Child (2005)
    A consultation proposing action to put in place a unified approach to children's services. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2005/06/20135608/56098

    Quality Improvement Framework for Integrated Services for Children, Young People and Families
    The Quality Improvement Framework aims to develop a coherent and sustained approach by inter-agency children's services partnerships to raising quality across all services for children and young people.

    Happy Safe and Achieving their Potential (2005)
    The report of the National Review of Guidance, setting out a standard of support to pupils and parents.