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Every Child Matters

Every Child Matters. Does it Make a Difference? Conference

Conference held on the 25th November 2009 with the keynote speaker Sir Alan Steer - Pro Director of the Institute of Education. Sir Alan launched this research project and returned to share our celebration of the teacher researchers' achievements

Research Summary Article

For further information on conference outcomes please contact:

What is Every Child Matters?

The main document within The Children Act 2004 is Every Child Matters: Change for Children. This sets out a national framework for local programmes of change to be led by local authorities and their partners. This will ensure that services are built around the needs of children and young people to maximise opportunity and minimise risk.

group of young peopleEvery Child Matters: Change for Children in schools describes the implications for different services with regards to education services. There is separate guidance for the voluntary sector, health, schools social care and criminal justice.

When asked by the government, children and young people said there were five key outcomes that were key to well-being in childhood and later life.

These five key outcomes which will be used as performance indicators are:

  • being healthy
  • staying safe
  • enjoying and achieving
  • making a positive contribution
  • achieving economic well being

Some of the principles underpinning the changes are to make sure there is early intervention and effective protection for children; accountability through local/national inspections; integrating and co-ordinating services and reforming the workforce to develop common knowledge and common skills.

The initiatives within the legislation that have a direct effect on schools are the five outcomes; working with other agencies and partners to develop common processes; services for children including children’s centres and extended schools; children’s trusts; and improved achievements for looked after children and hard to place children.

The local context in which schools are working will change as local authorities develop children’s trusts. Trusts will work together with local partners from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors to assess local needs, agree priorities and commission local services to meet those priorities.

Another aspect of change will be the ‘new relationship with schools’ which focuses on a school’s individual improvement priorities. This is designed to encourage a professional analysis of how the school is serving its pupils and the priorities for improvement. The data will help identify how well pupils are progressing and any barriers to pupils’ learning that can be tackled by supporting their wider well-being.

This simplified approach to school improvement includes:

  • Removal of the bidding culture
  • School improvement funding rationalised
  • Reduction in bureaucratic processes
  • Single data set for school improvement
  • Inspections based on self-evaluation
  • Reduced staffing within DCSF
  • Single conversation to reduce the clutter surrounding school improvement.

In September 2003 the Every Child Matters Green Paper was published for consultation. In March 2004 the Government published Every Child Matters: Next Steps which provided an overview of the legislation and how the proposals might work in practice. The Children Act 2004 provides the legal framework for the programme of reform. In December 2004 the Government published Every Child Matters: Change for Children which brings together the national framework for the local change programmes.

Useful Resources

The DCSF has a special website which contains more detailed information about Every Child Matters - Change for Children which you can access by visiting the Every Child Matters website:


NCSL has a free online resource called ECM Leadership Direct. ECM Leadership Direct, part of the Every Child Matters agenda, is the first leadership resource of its kind bringing together existing knowledge and best practice to help ensure every child is able to thrive and achieve their potential. The site is home to an authoritative bank of 41 publications, 46 think pieces, 33 tools and activities, surveys and questionnaires, and 32 case studies - drawn from practice and NCSL development work over the past 3 years. It is expected that the resource will grow and evolve as the ECM agenda unfolds.

To access ECM Leadership Direct visit:

Teachers TV has an Every Child Matters section which explores key issues surrounding the Every Child Matters agenda, including pupil voice, health and welfare and more.

Archive Documents In schools only

Below are documents which give you information about key government initiatives. They are in Acrobat PDF and are available for schools only on Herts Direct: