Strategy should include all children

    The government children’s strategy should focus on all children
    not just the vulnerable, according to a review published last
    week.

    The review, commissioned by community development grant makers
    the Gulbenkian Foundation, said: “The Children’s Strategy should be
    universal in its scope, covering all children, not just the poor
    and disadvantaged.”

    “If universal services traditionally fail disadvantaged
    children, the answer is not to turn away from those services in an
    attempt to meet the needs of disadvantaged children,” it
    continued.

    The report said the social exclusion unit’s 1999 targets to
    reduce school exclusions had resulted in a muddle where the unit
    was focused on the needs of the excluded pupils while the education
    system took greater account of the needs of children whose
    schooling faced disruption.

    But Martin Barnes, director of the Child Poverty Action Group,
    said that it was not a case of either/or when it comes to putting
    children first.

    “The evidence shows that tackling poverty and disadvantage does
    require more radical policies and a greater level of investment,”
    he said.

    The report also called for UK legislation to be brought into
    line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the
    establishment of a children’s commissioner for England.

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