PINS is 10 years old. From the beginning the Network has been about encouraging practitioners to pause, reflect and question; helping the sector rise to the challenge of working together to address inequality and improve educational outcomes. We launch this new PINS Blog with a bit of reflection of our own.
PINS emerged from the Review of Guidance Provision in Schools in 2005. An aspect of the review aimed to find out what children, parents and voluntary sector agencies thought of the support available in school. When it came to relecting on how agencies were working together, one contributor summed up the challenges: “They are not working together well enough to keep every pupil on the school roll. Many pupils are lost to special school or non-attendance.“
The Scottish Executive team in the Pupil Inclusion Unit recognised that this disconnect between schools and external agencies wasn’t just a practice issue; it was also a concern up-the-line, reflected in the relationship between Government and voluntary sector providers in the development of policy and guidance. The challenge was, what could be done to help create opportunities to inform and engage thus giving 3rd sector agencies and practitioners recognition and influence? Government colleagues initiated discussion and with the possibilities offered by the virtual world it was decided a new online community might help address some of the gaps.
As it is now, PINS remains committed to being a hub for information and dialogue about what we [our networked community of approximately 1300 members] do and what we need to do better to support children and young people with learning, both in and out of school. PINS is not about campaigning or representing, but we are driven by the necessity to make our education system more concerned with the needs and rights of children, young people and communities. If the mantra is about equality and equity, then the burden of responsibility for changing practice is on we professionals and the organisations we work for.
At 10 years old PINS is still a conversation about collaboration. At a PINS seminar in 2006 Professor Chris Huxham reminded participants that “It is only sensible to collaborate if real collaborative advantage can be envisaged.” At the same seminar delegates made the point that collaborative working is difficult. Knowing this, PINS continues to bring together 3rd sector practitioners, teachers, colleagues from NHS, Police, Universities and Colleges, Local Authorities and Scottish Government; because by understanding each others positions and sharing solutions we contribute to making a difference.
Do you have a practice issue, policy insight, something to celebrate, or a bugbear that a PINS blog can highlight? Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
 Support in School: The Views of Harder to Reach Groups http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2005/02/20692/52505
 Working Together for Scotland’s Children: How do we get partnership right? http://pinscotland.org/pins-reports-working-together.html