Current government policies aimed at the social inclusion of at
risk children, young people and their families call for joined up
responses from professionals. These responses need to be flexible
and demand that practitioners work together to help clients to take
control of their own lives. This flexible and responsive working
requires new forms of collaboration between professionals and new
organisational practices to enable these collaborations.
The four year study developed and tested a model of the work-based
professional learning needed to ensure responsive collaboration.
The education and care plans of young people at risk of social exclusion
or with special educational needs will be used as sites in which
this working is examined. The project drew on activity theory to
examine both professional and organisational learning and builds
on work in medical and commercial settings by Yrjö Engeström
and his Centre in Helsinki. It operated in parallel with a study
of collaborative professional learning led by Engeström and
funded by the Finnish Learning for Life Programme.
The research team worked closely with practitioners, for example,
educational psychologists, teachers and school support services.
They produced material on professional learning, interagency
working and client participation, for professional and policy communities.
The team linked with other service providers working with children,
young people and families, to ensure the broad relevance of the
model of learning it produced and tested.