Culture of misogyny in schools requires ‘profound socio-cultural change’, says ADCS President

Incoming ADCS President Charlotte Ramsden has used her inaugural address to call for “profound socio-cultural change” in schools after the Everybody’s Invited campaign highlighted a culture of misogyny.

22/04/21

Culture of misogyny in schools requires ‘profound socio-cultural change’, says ADCS President

The new President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Charlotte Ramsden has used her inaugural address to highlight sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools.

Charlotte Ramsden, who is also Director for People at Salford City Council, acknowledged that schools cannot fix all of society’s ills, but said “it is certainly true that there’s a casual acceptance of degrading and over-sexualised representation of women and girls in our society.”

“This has fermented a culture of misogyny which requires profound socio-cultural change if we are to protect girls without at the same time criminalising a generation of boys.”

The address was released online after an unprecedented year for professionals working in children’s services.

“We know there will be long-term impacts, good and bad, experienced by children, young people and their families,” Ramsden said of the pandemic, continuing: “What is unknown is the degree of severity and the legacy of those impacts.”

She went on to praise the work of local government which has shown “flexibility and resilience”, saying this has been particularly evident with schools where local authorities have co-ordination, support and challenge roles.

“In many ways schools and councils have never been closer than we are now as together we’ve worked to keep children in our sight, maximise school attendance, ensure children learning remotely are fed and supported,” the incoming President said.

The new President also advocated for a ‘Long-Term National Plan for Children and Young People’ just as the NHS has a Long-Term Plan, saying this needs to be “ambitious and predicated upon a universal approach to enabling all children to achieve their potential…whilst retaining a focus on the poorest and the most vulnerable.”

On the subject of the Care Review, Ramsden stressed that it focus on the need for better residential care, with placements that meet children’s actual needs, arguing this could be achieved though better commissioning, child-centred practice and “regulation that works”.

Ramsden also wrote of the need to “shine a light” on child poverty to prevent it to prevent it becoming “an epidemic wrapped up in a pandemic”.

The address also urged Government departments to work together to influence the Treasury, calling for a commitment from the nine different central Government departments, each of which has some responsibility for an aspect of children’s policy, to join up their thinking and pool their financial resources.

“Please stop the waste of time and money that results from dangling disparate, small, time-limited pots of funding to tackle complex, multi-dimensional and entrenched social and cultural problems,” Ramsden railed.

There were also harsh words for the recent Health and Social Care ‘Integration and Innovation’ White Paper, which Ramsden said “appears to have forgotten children”, adding: “how can this White Paper have even been conceived of, never mind written in a child-blind way?”

Read the full address: https://adcs.org.uk/

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