GIRFEC blog – Headteacher Marion Samson’s meeting with the Minister for Children & Young People
Marion Samson is headteacher at Westquarter Primary and Nursery in Falkirk. Today, she’ll be meeting Minister for Children & Young People, Aileen Campbell, and explaining her role as ‘named person’. Here, Marion gives us a flavour of what she will be discussing with the Minister…
I’ve been an educator for over 30 years and it is great to be working in education – as a headteacher and named person – at a time when the momentum of Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) has reached a point where we have the procedures, processes, political will and mechanisms to be able to make a difference to children at an early stage.
To do that, however, schools have to take GIRFEC seriously. We need to put the child at the heart of everything.
GIRFEC is our job. It cannot be seen as something ‘additional’ to educating the child. If we do not get it right for the child they will not have chances or choices, and they won’t be able to access education throughout their life.
In school the named person is usually someone in a senior position simply because class teachers do not always have the time to liaise with other services. As named person I am there both to support and to challenge.
I am there to support families and be the point of contact for other professionals but there are also times when challenge is needed.
And as named person I need to have contingency plans in place for holidays, ensuring records and information are accessible in a safe and secure way to enable information to be shared.
In times of stress or concern we all need someone to fight for us and to keep things together. That is my role and by doing that then hopefully the right supports can be put in place to allow families to get back on track.
My role is also to ensure that parents and carers in my school are informed and knowledgeable about GIRFEC. Over the past few years I have had some parents question why I would ask them about issues at home as they felt that we should focus only on achievement. Now in our Primary 1 induction meetings I invite parents and carers to come and meet the team and we introduce all of the professionals in other services who work with us.
We outline the principles of GIRFEC and the need for all of us to share information and this is now something families have come not just to accept but to value highly as well.
Westquarter Primary and Nursery in Falkirk
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