Talking point

5th March 2004 at 00:00
Arthur Panton, team leader for social workers in north Bristol:

"I've heard of headteachers rubbing their hands with glee because they think it will mean their school will have its own social worker - and social workers worrying how teachers are going to handle child protection.

The idea is brilliant, though. Teachers may be expected to do more to support children - but there will need to be clear lines so social workers can step in when cases turn into child protection matters."

Kym Wilcocks, headteacher of Portsdown primary in Portsmouth:

"We've been promoting joined-up work with other services at this school for years and years. It really hit home recently when we had a tuberculosis outbreak and the local health service worked brilliantly. But the Bill's aims will remain pie in the sky without the resources to achieve them."

Cynthia Welbourn, education director of North Yorkshire: "I don't think the role of teachers is going to change significantly. It will create a situation where teachers are part of a professional network which allows them to share information quickly. It's hard to tell yet what structural change the Bill is going to cause for local authorities. It will be different in different places - finding a vulnerable child in a large shire authority can be like finding a needle in a haystack."

Pc Richard Sinclair, youth development officer with Greater Manchester Police:

"The idea of each young person having a lead professional is going to be crucial. I'd hope that if a young person came to my attention I could go to their lead professional and that person would be able to tell me about what's been happening to the child at school - whether they've been involved in petty pilfering, for example, or started coming in to lessons with bruises."

Ade Lawal, aged 16, a pupil at Archbishop Tenison's school in London:

"A children's commissioner is a good idea because students will be able to talk to him about stuff that matters, like their education, school lunches and the state of their school buildings.

"Police and social workers should work more closely with schools, because they could tell pupils what's going on in their area, what dangers there are on the streets."

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