Poverty and Inequality

25.02.20

Vulnerable children to benefit from new government plans

A dedicated school leader will be assigned to vulnerable children in every school across the country under new plans published today. (Feb 25)

Changes to the role of Designated Safeguarding Leads in schools will be introduced following a consultation launched today, putting greater focus on improving the education of children on the edge of care.

The new proposals are set to give greater support to children who experience adversity outside of school, resulting in poor attendance, disruptive behaviour and disengagement in lessons.

Children in these circumstances will maintain a culture of high aspiration regardless of background, to ensure that every child has the chance to achieve and succeed. This will come through sharing information on children’s circumstances, how it impacts their education and supporting school staff to innovate around their challenges to find effective and suitable ways of teaching.

It comes after data published by Children in Need highlighted that 1 in 10 of all children needed a social worker at some point between 2012 to 2013 and 2017 to 2018, and those children have poorer educational outcomes at every stage of education than those who didn’t need one.

It also concluded that beyond school, children who needed a social worker during their GCSE year were less likely to enter higher education at age 18 and by age 21, half had still not achieved GCSE level qualifications.

Children and Families Minister Vicky Ford said:

“We know that on average, three children in every classroom need a social worker. We also know that far too many of those children fall behind, which is why I am determined to be ambitious for these children and ensure they are seen, safe and able to succeed.

“Teachers and social workers are some of the most dedicated professionals in society, delivering for children up and down the country. But I do not want any child to slip through the cracks, which is why we are consulting on having a dedicated senior leader in schools to make sure schools know who their vulnerable children are, set high aspirations for them and put in place the right support so they can achieve.”

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