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Department for Children, Schools and Families

Department for Children, Schools and Families

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The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) was a department of the UK government, between 2007 and 2010, responsible for issues affecting people in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 up to the age of 19, including child protection and education
Education in England
Education in England is overseen by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Local authorities take responsibility for implementing policy for public education and state schools at a regional level....

. The DCSF was replaced by the Department for Education
Department for Education
The Department for Education is a department of the UK government responsible for issues affecting people in England up to the age of 19, including child protection and education....

 after the change of government following the General Election 2010.

History and responsibilities


The DCSF was created on 28 June 2007 following the demerger of the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). Unable to remember the new name, many have used mnemonics such as Department for Curtains and Soft Furnishings to serve as a memory aid.

The department was led by Ed Balls
Ed Balls
Edward Michael Balls, known as Ed Balls, is a British Labour politician, who has been a Member of Parliament since 2005, currently for Morley and Outwood, and is the current Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer....

. The Permanent Secretary
Permanent Secretary
The Permanent secretary, in most departments officially titled the permanent under-secretary of state , is the most senior civil servant of a British Government ministry, charged with running the department on a day-to-day basis...

 was David Bell
David Bell (British civil servant)
Sir David Robert Bell KCB is Permanent Secretary at the British Department for Education. He took up his post on 3 January 2006. He was previously Chief Inspector of Schools at the Office for Standards in Education...

.

Other education functions of the former DfES were taken over by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is a ministerial department of the United Kingdom Government created on 5 June 2009 by the merger of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform .-Ministers:The BIS...

 (originally the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills
The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was a UK government department created on 28 June 2007 to take over some of the functions of the Department of Education and Skills and of the Department of Trade and Industry. In June 2009 it was merged into the newly formed Department for...

, since merged with Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform was a United Kingdom government department. The department was created on 28 June 2007 on the disbanding of the Department of Trade and Industry , and was itself disbanded on 6 June 2009 on the creation of the Department for Business,...

).

The DCSF was directly responsible for state schools in England.

The Department employed over 2,500 staff.

Locations


In May 2010 the DCSF had four main sites:
  • Castle View House, Runcorn
  • Moorfoot Building
    Moorfoot Building
    The Moorfoot Building is a large office building in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, in the form of a step pyramid. It is located at the foot of The Moor , close to the Sheffield Inner Ring Road. Before its construction, The Moor continued across St Mary's Gate onto London Road...

    , Sheffield
  • Mowden Hall, Darlington
    Darlington
    Darlington is a market town in the Borough of Darlington, part of the ceremonial county of County Durham, England. It lies on the small River Skerne, a tributary of the River Tees, not far from the main river. It is the main population centre in the borough, with a population of 97,838 as of 2001...

  • Sanctuary Buildings, London

Brain gym


Charlie Brooker
Charlie Brooker
Charlton "Charlie" Brooker is a British journalist, comic writer and broadcaster. His style of humour is savage and profane, with surreal elements and a consistent satirical pessimism...

, writing in the Guardian, has expressed incredulity that the Department for Children, Schools and Families is supportive of Brain Gym
Brain Gym
The Brain Gym program is based on the concept that learning challenges can be overcome by carrying out certain movements, the use of which will create pathways in the brain...

, despite its broad condemnation by scientific organisations, and despite it being apparently nonsense.

Upon learning that the programme was used at hundreds of UK state schools, Dr Ben Goldacre
Ben Goldacre
Ben Michael Goldacre born 1974 is a British science writer, doctor and psychiatrist. He is the author of The Guardian newspaper's weekly Bad Science column and a book of the same title, published by Fourth Estate in September 2008....

 of The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

's
Bad Science pages called it a "vast empire of pseudoscience" and went on to dissect parts of their teaching materials, refuting, for instance, claims that rubbing the chest would stimulate the carotid arteries, that "processed foods do not contain water", or that liquids other than water "are processed in the body as food, and do not serve the body's water needs."

Childish visual identity and branding


The department adopted a "child friendly" visual identity, known as "Building the Rainbow" shortly after it was established. The main features of the brand identity were a rainbow logo and images of cartoonised children, referred to as "munchkins" by civil servents, carrying blocks to build the rainbow logo. The lettering on the logo was all in lower case. It was reported in the Daily Telegraph that several thousand pounds were spent on adopting and implementing this visual identity.

Refurbishment of headquarters building


The Department has also come under criticism during the 2010 General Election, after it was revealed that the Department's offices had a refit which included a "contemplation room". Other features include a grand glass and steel staircase and imported italian designer furniture. The total cost of the refit was estimated to be three million pounds, at a time when the department needed to make two billion pounds of savings.

See also

  • Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills
    Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills
    The Department for Education and Skills is a department of the Welsh Government.It is responsible for education, training and children's services in Wales under powers devolved from the Department for Children, Schools and Families of the UK government under Schedule 5 of the Government of Wales...

     - Welsh equivalent
  • Scottish Executive Education Department
    Scottish Executive Education Department
    The Scottish Government Education Directorates were a group of the civil service directorates in the Scottish Government. The Directorates were entitled Children, Young People and Social Care; Schools; and Lifelong Learning. They were responsible for education in Scotland; social work care for...

     - Scottish equivalent
  • Department of Education (Northern Ireland)
    Department of Education (Northern Ireland)
    The Department of Education is a devolved Northern Ireland government department in the Northern Ireland Executive...

    - Northern Irish equivalent

External links