Memorandum from SCOPE (EYF 08)
Scope welcomes the Government's response to
the Select Committee's report. We have a number of comments which
are listed below and correspond to the numbers in the report.
2. Scope is pleased that the importance
of parental participation is well recognised. We do however have
some concerns that not all parents want to or are able to have
the level of involvement envisaged.
Consideration also needs to be given to enabling
parental participation. For example some disabled parents may
need additional support to become fully involved. The ``further
targeted resources available to support specific work to support
parents in the education and development of their children'' are
therefore welcomed by Scope.
3. Parents of disabled children are often
the people who are best aware of their child's capabilities, but
this is not always the case and it is important to ensure that
children and other professionals are fully involved.
4. Scope strongly supports Government's
commitment to ensuring providers of health, education and social
care should work together more closely to provide better support.
This is particularly important at early years age; it is common
experience for young disabled children and their families to experience
unnecessary delays in assessment and identification of need as
a result of lack of co-ordination, and therefore delay in ensuring
appropriate educational provision.
9. Scope welcomes the Government's commitment
to joined up policies, and is keen to see such policies being
made to work in practice at a local level which will directly
benefit disabled children and their families.
We are pleased that there is to be research
into best practice for younger children from birth to three and
would be happy to advise or to be otherwise involved.
Whilst it is important to focus on children
in disadvantaged areas it is also important to focus on children
in other areas; particularly disabled children and children with
special educational need. We are concerned that an overemphasis
on disadvantaged areas may be developing.
10. Scope believes that if child poverty
is to be eradicated it is important to ensure that the focus on
the life chances of children from birth to the age of four living
in the most disadvantaged areas of England is widened. Many families
experience financial hardship as a result of the additional costs
associated with disability. For example, as the government recognises,
the cost of childcare for disabled children is higher than for
other children (DTI Green Paper, December 2000, Work and Parentscompetitiveness
and choice). There are also various estimates which indicate
that the overall cost of bringing up a child with significant
disabilities is significantly higher, £125,000 higher than
the average of £37,400 (The cost of childhood disability,
Joseph Rowntree Foundation, July 1998). We wish to remind Government
tht the extra costs of disability often lead to poverty regardless
of where people live.
Scope welcomes the increase in Sure Start funding,
and the increased investment in other early years initiatives.
12. We welcome the commitment to using Early
Excellence Centre evaluation evidence in order to identify and
disseminate good practice. We hope that such evaluations include
evaluation of the impact for disabled children and their families.
14. In terms of the informal teaching of
children below compulsory school age, as mentioned above, difficulties
and long time delays often occur in identifying and assessing
the needs of disabled children under the age of five; this hinders
the provision of appropriate teaching. Futher problems often occur
as a result of the length of time the statementing process takes
for those children requiring a statement. In practice this can
mean that a child doesn't begin to receive appropriate support
until well after their fifth birthday.
17. In relation to the requirements for
Initial Teacher Training we would like to see training on disability
awareness becoming a compulsory unit for early years teachers.
38. The commitment of financial resources
for training is very welcome. Scope particularly welcomes the
commitment of funds for training for the foundation stage, including
the four days training which will cover the identification and
assessment of children with special educational needs.
Scope also warmly welcomes the funding to support
the recent Green Paper, Schools: Building on Success.
28. In relation to outdoor play Scope believes
that any improvements to outdoor play facilities must be ones
which ensure that facilities are fully accessible to all children.
35. Scope welcomes the forthcoming publication,
by the Early Years National Training Organisation, of a good practice
guide to encourage employers to recruit more people with disabilities.
52. Scope recognises and welcomes the size
of the overall financial investment in early years. We also recognise
that it will take time to expand services and train people.
Scope is pleased that the Select Committee's
report and the Government's response represent important steps
towards progress in the area of early years education, and we
would be happy to be involved in the further development of early
years initiatives. If you have any queries please do not hesitate
to get in touch.