The government has announced that social workers will be placed in schools to help spot the signs of abuse and work with teachers to support children at risk.
Speaking last week, the education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced nearly £10m for projects aimed at boosting the educational outcomes of vulnerable children, and to keep them safe from harm.
This includes £6.5m to involve more than 150 schools in a project that will place social workers in schools to work with teaching staff.
It follows news that reports of domestic abuse incidents have been on the rise during the coronavirus pandemic, with some children also experiencing exposure to drug and alcohol misuse or at risk from online harms.
‘The stark reality is that too many children are growing up at risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation,’ said Mr Williamson.
‘These are the most vulnerable in society, and the ones that most need our help. For these children, schools offer a safe space to get support, develop resilience and fulfil their potential.
‘That is why, as schools begin opening more widely and we look to the future, we must take all the steps we can to protect these children. By bringing social workers into schools we can spot the warning signs more quickly.’
The funding follows three studies, undertaken by the What Works Centre for Social Care, in 2019/20 where social workers were placed in schools in Lambeth, Southampton and Stockport, and it was shown that social care support offered through schools could help keep children safe.
It also builds on the findings of the Department for Education’s Children in Need review, helping develop a stronger evidence base on what interventions are most effective to improve the outcomes of Children in Need – scaling up and evaluating projects to better support them to fulfil their potential.
The government’s chief social worker for children, Isabelle Trowler said: ‘I am delighted to see further investment in this very promising area of practice. Keeping social workers close to children, their families and alongside their communities will help build those essential relationships, which we know to be the bedrock of effective family support and child protection.’
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