THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY – SOCIAL POLICY AND SOCIAL WORK – 2009
Reviewer: Margaret Simms, Lecturer, Bishop Grosseteste University College
Review date: 25/03/2009
Okay, so Every Child Matters. We – the professionals – know that now.We also know Every Parent Matters, Every Student Matters and every matter matters. Professionals are, more and more, working together to build a strong team around every child to help each one achieve their best possible outcomes. But working together is not easy! No-one ever said it would be. But the editor and authors of Making Sense of Every Child Matters: Multi-professional practice guidance’ have enough sound advice to help professionals in early years and childcare, education, social care, adolescent mental health, nursing, maternity care and playwork improve practice across the board. Teaching staff and those who are new to teaching will undoubtedly find the allure of this title Making Sense of Every Child Matters: Multi-professional practice guidance, too strong to ignore.
Once off the shelf and opened this book will not disappoint. From the outset the book feels like a guide for professionals and students to make sense of Every Child Matters within their own professional field and context. Useful lists of tables and acronyms are presented prior to fascinating biographies and notes on evidencing the professional credibility of contributors.
The list of contents shows eleven chapters and some fourteen contributors, including the editor, Richard Barker. Richard himself authors two chapters: ‘Beginning to understand Every Child Matters’,’Every Child Matters: current possibilities, future opportunities and challenges’ and is co-author, alongside Sue Barker, of Chapter nine, ‘Social Work and Every Child Matters’.
The contents of the book are organised logically. Chapter one, ‘Beginning to understand Every Child Matters’ (Barker, R) is followed by ‘Interprofessional working and the children’s workforce (Graham and Machin). The subsequent eight chapters deal with Every Child Matters and how it relates to education (Broadhead and Martin), early years and childcare (Santer and Cookson), Sure Start children’s centres (Barker, S.), nursing (Campbell and Hunter), maternity care (Hutchinson), playwork (Godfrey), social work (Barker and Barker) and child adolescent mental health (Brownrigg). Richard Baker, rounds off this goldmine of information and insight with the final chapter on current possibilities, future opportunities and challenges of Every Child Matters.
Making Sense of Every Child Matters: Multi-professional practice guidance is undoubtedly a book for teaching and learning. I will make good use of this book with students in their final year of the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies Degree. I recommend the book as essential reading for a contemporary issues module, Integrated Practices and Research Practice modules. Individual chapters I would recommend to current students for their research projects are: Chapter four, early years, childcare and Every Child Matters (Santer and Cookson ), Chapter five, Sure Start children’s centres and Every Child Matters (Barker, S), Chapter ten, child and adolescent mental health services and Every Child Matters (Brownrigg)
Chapters may be utilised on an individual basis as straight forward ‘handouts’ (in which case they may never get read!) Rather, I would select a chapter for its relevance to topics being discussed in a seminar and encourage students’ critical analysis of structure, content and theory in order to gain a deeper understanding of, for example, contemporary issues therein and of the academic writing style to which they aspire.
Prior knowledge of Every Child Matters is not necessarily a pre-requisite to reading this book. It is more likely that the book will be sought out in libraries and book stores as a consequence of such prior knowledge.
What I found particularly helpful about the book was the structure of each chapter. Clear indications were always given as to the issue/s issues covered in each. I also found the examples and diagrams gave a welcoming feel to this book aimed at an academic readership.
Unhelpful, although not particularly unhelpful is the smallish font. I tend to find a slightly larger font more enticing, but this is by no means a criticism of the book, rather it is personal preference.
The book is, on the whole, well referenced although references used in Chapter six, nursing and Every Child Matters seem quite old, possibly due to a shortage of up-to-date work in this area? Never-the-less, Campbell and Hunter do not cite the oldest reference in the book, this accolade goes to Santer and Cookson for their reference to Bowlby, 1951.
A book to browse, study and ‘pick at’, one which I would recommend highly to teachers and higher level students studying to work in roles where expertise in multi-professional practice are much needed.