City of Wolverhampton Council is to launch its own version of the national Social Workers in Schools programme, allowing for a reduction in the number of children being taken into care as well as an increase in educational attainment.
A number of local authorities were chosen to take part in the What Works for Children’s Social Care Scheme from the Department for Education. Since its launch in 2020, the scheme has seen social workers being embedded in five different secondary schools in Wolverhampton.
Councillor Beverley Momenabadi, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:
“Nationally, schools make up the second largest source of referrals to social services after the police, so it makes perfect sense to embed social workers within schools where they can use their early intervention skills to work with children and families who may be at risk.
“We have been delighted to be part of the Social Workers in Schools Programme over the last couple of years. The feedback received from councils and schools by the Department for Education has been overwhelmingly positive, and so we were very pleased that the national programme has been extended until 2023.
“Over the last few months, a number of schools have approached us requesting access to a social worker, and so we are looking to pilot our own Social Workers in Schools project, which will be jointly funded by the council and schools.
“As part of this offer, a social worker would be based within a secondary school or across a cluster of primary schools and will work with the children and families that attend that school. This would be similar to the national programme but extends the service to primary schools.
“While we recognise that the current economic situation may mean that some schools are unable to commit to additional expenditure at this time, the launch of our own local, co-funded programme would ensure that vital support is available when the national programme ends.
“We are therefore seeking feedback from schools about the most appropriate time, in terms of school budgetary planning, to introduce a local programme.”
The scheme is now being expanded to include primary school children, with the existing scheme helping schools as they respond to issues regarding safeguarding, increasing the collaboration between social workers, school staff and parents, as well as improving the relationships between social workers and young people.