Multi-discipline teams defended

21st February 1997 at 00:00
The director of education who has pushed through a controversial restructuring of support services for children has urged the expansion of joint agency work with young people.

"We tend to be ring-fenced professionals," Bob McKay, director in Perth and Kinross, told a seminar in Glasgow, held to coincide with the Scotland Special Needs Exhibition 97.

Mr McKay has encountered criticism from psychologists for creating three multi-disciplinary teams of psychologists, educational social workers and community education staff (TESS, October 4). The principal psychologist is not responsible for the psychologists in two of the teams.

Mr McKay said there was a pragmatic reason for joint working between education and social work which was to achieve economies of scale. But he acknowledged a philosophic divide could set up barriers to co-operation.

This often stemmed from pre-service training and a start was required there to underpin effective inter-agency work. He did not expect teachers to become social workers or vice versa but both professions had to assume an agenda for education and care.

Mr McKay, a former president of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, said another key problem was the absence of a single statutory framework for children's services. "For the first time we have a piece of legislation that applies to me as a director of education, to my colleagues in social work and to the Reporter's department. Up to now we have operated under statutes pertaining to our own services. The Children Act encourages inter-agency working for some cohorts of children, for example children in need or disabled. By 1998, we should have a children's services plan for each authority which is interdepartmental for certain children. What I am saying is that the principle which underpins that should operate for all children. "

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


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