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Education Secretary vows to work with children’s services workforce

Bridget Phillipson writes a letter to the children’s services workforces, among other professionals, looking to ‘reset the relationship’ between Government and the sector.

09/07/24

Education Secretary vows to work with children’s services workforce

The newly-appointed Education Secretary has penned an open letter to professionals working with children and young people, hoping to ‘mark a reset in our relationship’.

Bridget Phillipson vowed to work with education and children’s services professionals to make children’s social care, mental health and SEND services a priority.

“I can’t wait to start working together with you as we begin to transform our system so that young people get the skills, care and opportunities they deserve,” the Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South wrote.

“You and your work are essential to the change this government wants to achieve across the country, and I want our renewed relationship to reflect that.”

“Working with all of you, we want to build a fairer society with a government that delivers the best life chances for every child.”

Phillipson said she would ‘work tirelessly’ to tackle barriers like inadequate housing and child poverty, saying they ‘undermine family security and make it so hard for children to learn’.

“The scar of child poverty, severe financial pressures squeezing all your budgets, high workload, climbing vacancy rates, strain on care, mental health and SEND services, among many other issues, have made your jobs increasingly difficult.

“This is a tough inheritance – none of these have quick and easy solutions but I will work with and for you to find practical ways forward.”

The Education Secretary invited the workforce to join her in a live event next Tuesday (16th July) to share her vision.

Social work organisations last week called for politicians to prioritise social work in their plans after Labour’s landslide win in the General Election.

Andy Smith, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), which represents leaders in local authority children’s social care, said it is a ‘critical time’ for children and the public services that support them.

“For too long children’s needs, their rights and outcomes have not been prioritised and for too long councils have been severely underfunded in the face of rising levels of need and costs. A growing number of councils are effectively bankrupt, or dangerously close to this and many vital and valued services, including services that help children and families before they reach crisis point, are at risk.”

Meanwhile, in a statement reacting to the election results, BASW and SWU said they were “determined” to engage in discussions with the new government at the earliest opportunity, insisting that social workers and people the profession supports must “be at the forefront of their plans from day one”.

John McGowan, SWU General Secretary, said cuts to public services had caused many of the issues facing the new Government.

“Social work has been at the sharp end of poor political choices that has plunged our profession into a recruitment and retention crisis and led to a decline in working conditions, while simultaneously increasing demand on services as communities become worse off.

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