Background and context


The Government published the green paper Every Child Matters. It was produced alongside the formal response to the report into the death of Victoria Climbié, the young girl who was horrifically abused and eventually killed by her great aunt and the man with whom they lived.

This prompted an unprecedented debate about services for children, young people and families. There was a wide consultation with people working in children's services and with parents, children and young people.


children in classroom

The Government passed the Children’s Act 2004, providing the legislative spine for developing more effective and accessible services focused around the needs of children, young people and families.

Every Child Matters: Change for Children was published.

» The Every Child Matters website


The first Children's Commissioner for England was appointed, to give children and young people a voice in government and in public life.


The ECM Outcomes Framework was revised, showing the links across Government and the alignment of official measures relating to improved outcomes for all children.

» Download the ECM Outcomes Framework

The Key Principles

There are five key principles underpinning this reform:

  1. Greater personalisation and choice – with the wishes and needs of children, parents and learners centre-stage
  2. Opening up of services to new and different providers and ways of delivery
  3. Independence for headteachers, governors and managers
  4. Major commitment to staff development
  5. Partnership between schools, parents, employers, volunteers and voluntary organisations

Further thoughts

How might these key principles be relevant to museums?

Do we currently put the wishes and needs of children, parents and learners centre-stage?