Early intervention is key

13th April 2012 at 01:00

Many proverbs encourage immediate action instead of dealing with things later on ("a stitch in time saves nine"). They underpin the way we act in life, and it seems that the way we act in public service is also catching on ("Early years funds to shift towards prevention", TESS, 23 March).

Investing resources in work to prevent issues arising is long-term stuff: it doesn't make a difference overnight and it certainly takes more than a parliamentary or council term. Paradoxically, it has probably taken the squeeze of the recession on public funding to bring the issue to a head and make us all realise that if we don't change the way we work now, we never will and we will fail a generation of children.

For education and social work, preventative, early intervention work has been given a real push by government through the Early Years Task Force. Last month, Aileen Campbell, the minister for early years, launched a discussion paper on the objectives and aims of the task force at a joint Association of Directors of Education and Association of Directors of Social Work event. The main point of the paper is that if we get it right in the early years of a child's life, the positive impact will be lifelong.

There are excellent examples of people doing just that all over Scotland: the Glasgow parenting project; the East Lothian Signs of Safety work; and the under-3s early education programme in North Ayrshire. But this needs to become our default approach to designing and providing services and we also need to ensure that supporting vulnerable families to engage with and raise their children in a positive way is the aim of all public services.

Co-operation between universal services such as education and health and targeted services such as social work is crucial in getting this right.

Andrew Lowe, president of the Association of Directors of Social Work

Glenn Rodger, president of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now