In January 2008, a pilot project started to enable families of children of primary school age to access one to one family support through schools. Five Family Support Workers worked across 11 schools with families where the school had identified that some additional support, at an early stage before difficulties become entrenched, would help their children achieve at school.
Feedback from parents, and from the schools involved, has been very positive. The impact of the work has been measured in two ways, both through improvements in the children’s attainment at school, and through reductions in referrals to Social Care and Safeguarding for family support services. This has also been a very positive example of developing Extended Services in and around schools, with schools working together with Children’s Centres to manage and support the workers, as well as steering the project as a whole.
The work has been evaluated, and during the first 12 months of the pilot, families of 136 children received support from a Family Support Worker on a whole range of issues, and the majority of those children made gains of one or two ‘levels’ in their assessed attainment as compared to their baseline assessment prior to the support commencing.
Building on this success, we are now able to mainstream the service across the City. This means that we are now able to deploy 16 Family Support Workers, 2 in each of the 8 ISH neighbourhoods, to work with families of children identified by schools as likely to benefit from the service.
Recruitment for additional Family Support Workers will be taking place over the summer.
Please see attached ‘Family Support Through Schools Pilot Project’ Report for additional details.