Since the introduction of the first Children Act (1948) the U.K government has developed laws to protect staff and children in educational and childcare settings. Macleod – Brudenell and Kay (2008) state that The Children Act (1989) was the most significant piece of legislation for children. It provided a foundation for subsequent legislation including the Children Act (2004) and consequently ‘Every Child Matters’. As of September 2008 legislation relating to the Early Years Foundation Stage became statutory. The new legislation provided a framework, guidelines and legal requirements to support those working with early years children. In this essay, ways in which practitioners can work within that framework to fulfill legal and professional responsibilities will be explained. Firstly children’s rights will be discussed. Subsequently ways in which adults can support equal opportunities and anti-discriminatory practice will be examined. Finally an explanation of the importance of health and safety will be provided.
In 1989 the Convention on the Rights of the Child was implemented as part of the United Nations Charter on Human Rights. This legally binding document comprised 54 articles outlining four core principles. These principles are dedication to the best interest of the child, the right to life, survival and development, and respect for the views of the child (UNICEF, 2011). The UK government supported the United Nations Convention when they added a comment to article 12 stating that even young children should be able to have a voice. Cheminais (2008) explains that ‘Every Child Matters’ was introduced in 2005 and articles 12, 13, 14, 29, and 31 of the UN convention align closely with the Every Child Matters outcomes. Lancaster (in Pugh and Duffy, 2006) suggests that the ECM outcomes were produced because of Lord Laming’s report and his comments made on the results when children do not have a voice. In 2004 an amended Childrens Act was introduced with a Children’s Commissioner to safeguard children’s rights and be their voice.
In the setting observing and listening to children is central to their care and education. Practitioners provides opportunities to listen and communicate with children, either on a one to one basis, in small group time, and circle time. Practitioners do this to encourage language, communication and social development, and to help the child gain confidence and to feel part of the group. Barber and Paul-Smith (2010) recommend snapshot observations while working with children, in order to plan for the child’s next steps and complete learning journals, formative and summative assessments. Listening to children is also paramount in supporting them with any underlying difficulties and safeguarding concerns.
Forbes (in Dryden et al, 2008) advises that there are three main areas of abuse: physical, emotional and sexual. Practitioners observe for signs of neglect because any child who is not being cared for may not thrive as in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Practitioners are alert for poor appearance, unexplained injuries, and changes in behaviour. Practitioners are skilled at listening, recording and reporting to the designated person (DP) for safeguarding. The DP may then decide to report to the local safeguarding children’s board. Information is then shared so that discussions can be made as to whether the child is at immediate risk. A Common Assessment Framework may be completed so that core information can stay with the child. A case conference may be planned which the practitioner will need to attend, and decisions on the child’s future is then made. The child should be involved in the decision-making.
The ethos of the setting is one that values diversity and individuality, and appreciates the contributions and views of others. Millam (2002) explains that demonstrating positive behaviour and being a good role model showing kindness, care and empathy will reflect in the children. Sometimes...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document