Teachers are to be placed in children’s social care teams in three local authorities under projects announced by the What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC).
The Centre has provided £400,000 of funding for the projects in Bath and North East Somerset, York and Hartlepool where an advisory teacher will be placed within children’s social care teams in a bid to close the attainment gap between children with a social worker and their peers.
“Advisory teachers will work alongside both schools and families to break down barriers to education and ensure that best practice is carried out and shared across schools. It is hoped the project will reduce numbers of exclusions, increase attendance, and raise the educational progress of this group,” said a statement from WWCSC.
Children and young people with a social worker have, on average, lower educational attainment that their peers.
By placing an advisory teacher within children’s social care teams, it is hoped that schools will be helped to improve their ability to support students displaying challenging behaviour and provide support for vulnerable children as they transition into secondary school.
In Bath and North East Somerset, the project is based on a small pilot run during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will see an experienced advisory teacher placed within the social care teams in the local authority to support children who are the subject of Child Protection (CP) plans and Children in Need (CiN) in order to closely monitor the educational outcomes of these children.
In York, five primary schools will receive a range of services from the Behaviour Outreach Support Service (BOSS) to help improve their ability to support pupils displaying behaviour that challenges and compromises their learning and school attendance, or the learning of their peers. The programme aims to support up to 90 families to reduce the number of pupils who are excluded or are at risk of exclusion. It builds on work previously done in Lincolnshire.
Finally, in Hartlepool Borough Council, a new programme will be introduced to support the transition to secondary school and will include additional resources and therefore additional learning to vulnerable children with increased risk of a difficult secondary transition. The approach is a mixture of whole school training and targeted training. The programme aims to improve the educational, social and emotional outcomes for 100 children with a social worker.
The three projects were selected through an open call by WWCSC, following the publication of research earlier in the year which showed that the average effect sizes of interventions designed to improve educational attainment were smaller for young people with a social worker than for their peers.
Independent evaluators will assess the impact of these projects, adding to the small but growing body of evidence around what works to improve the educational attainment of children with a social worker.