The Department for Education was formed on the 12th May. It replaces the Department for Children’s’ Schools and Families (DCSF).
The new website has been launched here. At present it looks like the kind of website you find yourself on when you have typed in an incorrect address or an unregistered domain. The familiar rainbow logo has gone, along with the links to the DCSF YouTube site.
This will all change. For the time being, there is a photo of a multi-ethnic, mixed gender group of happy, smiling, primary school children (educated under a Labour Government), which is probably designed to reassure us that this new Government has all our children’s educational interests at heart. The links to school performance tables remain, indicating that league tables are definitely here to stay.
The name change is likely to be significant too. The keyword is education, which was missing from the name of the previous department: the Department for Children Schools and Families.
By only including education in the government department’s title the new administration is signalling that this is what this new department is about, and, it may appeal to traditionalists. However, the DCSF recognised that education is a part of a wider social context which impacts on the development of children, and so the name of this department reflected a political will to co-ordinate policies which impacted on the lives of young people, and their families. It was a recognition that policies aimed at improving educational standards, particularly of those who traditionally did not achieve their best cannot be isolated in schools. The DCSF was designed to help achieve the aims of Every Child Matters (the link and the information on here is likely to disappear, soon). Additionally, by placing children and families alongside schools, the last Labour Government was also responding to criticism that services for children, young people, and their families were not sufficiently co-ordinated. For example, Lord Laming’s report into the death of Victoria Climbié.
Still, according to an article in Children & Young People Now, Michael Gove promises “an exciting journey ahead”.