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WillisPalmer School Social Work Service

Supporting schools to promote emotional wellbeing.

At WillisPalmer we understand the significance of looking after the safety and emotional wellbeing of children, identifying safeguarding concerns and providing support to children and their families who may be dealing with a range of issues. We understand how much of this intervention and support has increasingly become the responsibility of school staff, who may not have the skills, experience, or time in their teaching day to manage all of the challenging issues that children may bring with them when they attend school each day.

WillisPalmer can provide expert social workers to help schools manage these issues, therefore allowing teachers to focus on providing children with an education and affording children the opportunity to reach their full academic potential.

School staff may find themselves preoccupied with situations affecting children outside of school, without support or advice from an expert who understands these issues, therefore an expert social worker from WillisPalmer present in the school for consultation, advice, and collaborative working with children and families may strengthen emotional resilience in school staff, reduce their workload, and allow them to be able to focus on teaching children the curriculum without their attention being diverted away to think about the other issues affecting the children they teach.

WillisPalmer will provide a social worker to be based within the school on one day per week, and the school can decide what tasks they wish the social worker to assist with, for example:

  • Provide advice and consultancy to school staff on issues including the following:
    • Mental health of children
    • Mental health of adults
    • Domestic abuse in families
    • Parental drug and alcohol misuse
    • Child drug and alcohol misuse
    • Antisocial behaviour
    • Child Sexual Exploitation
    • Gangs/County Lines
  • Meetings with parents to discuss non-educational issues relating to their child.
  • Observations of children in the classroom.
  • Discussions with children, with a parent’s consent.
  • Attendance at Social Care meetings – child protection conferences, core group meetings, Child in Need meetings.
  • Help schools to access community resources to support children.

Through consultation with the WillisPalmer social worker, school staff are likely to develop their skills and understanding of issues affecting children outside of the school environment, and therefore creating a more sustainable way of working within the school as a result of increased knowledge and ability to manage these issues. It is possible that the number of unnecessary referrals are made to local authorities as the social worker will be able to use their expertise to explore matters and potentially resolve issues that are not of a child protection nature but that may be beyond the expertise of school staff.

The presence of WillisPalmer social workers in schools will be encouraging for parents as they will know that there is additional support available to assist their child and that the school are adopting their own multidisciplinary approach to address some of the issues that affect children and families.

WillisPalmer’s School Social Work Service is led by our Head of Practice, Lucy Hopkins, who has worked closely with schools in her previous roles as a Local Authority social worker and Children’s Guardian.

Lucy

For more information about WillisPalmer's School Social Work Service, please contact Head of Practice, Lucy Hopkins, at lucy@willispalmer.com

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