Children’s safeguarding services will suffer if Michael Gove continues his focus on education at the expense of social care, Andy Burnham, shadow education secretary, told delegates at the National Children and Adults Services conference in Manchester today.
“In time, the schools focus will leave other necessary services, such as safeguarding, out in the cold,” he said. “Michael Gove’s department may hold the same brief as the Department for Children, Schools and Families under the last government, but there’s currently a strong focus on education. Safeguarding is an area we will be keeping a close eye on.”
Burnham said the shadow government planned to carry out a survey of councils about the impact of coalition cuts on safeguarding services over the coming weeks.
He accused Michael Gove of having a “1950 sepia-tinted view of childhood” that did not apply to the needs of children today.
Burnham said the government needed to put more structures in place for young people who chose not to go to university – a group he said would quickly increase now that university fees have been raised to a maximum of £9,000 per year.
Burnham did express approval of the coalition’s commitment to a pupil premium in principle, but emphasised the move was not funded by new money, but “relabelled” funds. He warned the pupil premium could even take money away from some of the least well-off schools.
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