Children's Plan

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A government‐led initiative to enhance provision of education, play facilities, and care for children up to 19 years of age. Launched in December 2007, the Plan followed a public consultation, initiated by the Department for Children, Schools, and Families, entitled Time to Talk, carried out during the autumn of 2007. It drew on the reports of three ‘Expert Groups’, whose brief was to examine the needs of children and young people in a specific age group: birth to 7 years, 8–13 years, and 14–19 years. The Plan sets out a ten‐year strategy and is supported by £1 billion of government funding. One of its targets is the replacement of Standard Tasks testing by single‐level testing for 7–14‐year‐olds as part of the emphasis on a personalized curriculum. Other target measures include upgrading 3 500 playgrounds and creating 30 additional supervised adventure play areas; introducing more flexibility into the school start dates for children whose birthdays fall in the summer months; and introducing free childcare for 20 000 2‐year‐olds from economically disadvantaged families. The Plan also includes reviews of sex education provision in schools, and of child and adolescent mental health services. Other measures include improved communication and contact between schools and parents; the setting up of parents' councils in every secondary school; and additional support for children with special educational needs. The initiative also has long‐term implications for higher education and for the professional development of teachers, since one of its ten‐year targets is that all new teachers should be able to study for a master's degree.

Subjects: Education.

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