Children with a Social Worker

Advice for Education Provisions

Children with a social worker need to be in school or educational setting. Regularly attending is vital for children’s progress, for their wellbeing and for their wider development. For children with a social worker, it also offers them a protective factor – at its best, offering a safe space to access support, ensuring that children are visible to and supported by professionals, and helping children to make educational progress.

The Government’s 2019 Children in Need Review highlighted the need to further support this cohort of children:

  • 1.6 million children needed a social worker between 2012 and 2018, equivalent to 1 in 10 children or 3 children in every classroom.
  • These children are present in 98% of state schools and face barriers to education due to experiences of adversity and trauma.
  • On average, children with a social worker do worse than their peers at every stage of their education.

Early Years: (2018 statistics)

  • Children with a social worker - 50% achieved good level of development
  • Children who had never had a social worker – 72% achieved good level of development

Children with a social worker in the year of their GCSEs (2018 statistics):

  • Around half as likely to achieve a strong pass in English and Maths than their peers
  • At the end of Key Stage 4 were around 3 times less likely to go on to study A levels at age 16 and almost 5 times less likely to enter higher education at age 18.
  • After age 18, 6% were in higher education compared to 27% of those who did not have a social worker.
  • By age 21, half had still not achieve Level 2 qualifications (including GCSEs), compared to 11% of those not in need of a social worker.
  • Children with a social worker are around 3 times more likely to be persistently absent from school.
  • Children with a social worker are between 2 to 4 times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than their peers.
  • Children with a social worker are over 10 times more likely to attend state-funded alternative provision settings than all other pupils.

Never underestimate how important schools and settings and their communities are to children with a social worker – they offer a protective environment with trusted adults, when sometimes home or out of school pressures do not offer such positive opportunities.

VSK are here to ensure that every school and educational setting is supported to develop their protective environments for children with a social worker and support staff in their understanding on how best to support this cohort of children for them to reach their educational potential. Together we need to make a difference for these children in our county .

What schools and educational settings need to do:

Identify the cohort of children within your school:

  • Which children are currently on, or have previously in the past 6 years, been on a CIN or CP Plan? Which children have been on a CIN or CP plan whilst being on roll with your setting? The government have produced Promoting the education of children with a social worker: virtual school head role extension' guidance, which is for local authorities, virtual schools, school, early years and post 16 education provisions. Whilst this is not a statutory duty for schools as yet, other school guidance produced by the government also reference this cohort, indicating that it may well become statutory at some point. 
  • Ensure the relevant staff are aware of who these children are – by working with the Designated Safeguarding Leads, Designated Mental Health Leads, Pastoral support team, SENCO, Designated Teacher, Form tutors etc, as an educational setting, you will be able to have a clear picture of the needs of your cohort, which in turn will enable you to plan support and interventions. Meet regularly to discuss this cohort to review their attainment, attendance and wellbeing data.
  • Use the opportunities available to you from the Countywide approach to inclusive education – invest time and energy in becoming nurture schools (as VSK have done!). It is an approach that is proven to work and will give you the knowledge to support all children through any adverse experience. The practices you will develop and embrace within your ethos of your educational setting will benefit all who are part of your community – pupils, staff and families.
  • Our children want us to have high aspirations for them, to believe in them and not to treat them differently. We must support them to achieve their potential and to ensure that educational settings and services do not become barriers to achieving this for them.
  • Use the Quick Link section of this website to access further information and support for this cohort of children, for example the Resilience Hub, SEN Hub, trauma and attachment resources etc.
  • Identify interventions that will support your cohort of children with a social worker. Please refer to the Education Endowment Foundation for more information.
  • Refer to the Education Endowment Foundation Guidance Reports for more information and advice on all aspects of learning
  • Please read the Education Endowment Foundation - Improving Behaviour in Schools Leaflet

VSKAT supporting schools and educational settings:

Although we are unable to offer schools and other educational settings advice on individual children, we are able to:

  • Offer advice regarding your cohort of Children with a social worker (Ever6 CWSW - those children who are, or have been supported by a CIN or CP plan in the last 6 years).
  • Offer educational settings/Social Worker consultations with VSKAT and the Kent Education Psychology service.
  • Offer advice and signpost schools and educational settings to additional services and ensure that you receive the support required to support your cohort of children with a social worker.
  • Offer training opportunities to develop schools and educational settings understanding around attachment, trauma as well as training on interventions known to make the biggest impact for children with a social worker.

For more information and to speak to a member of the team please complete the Initial Contact Form. We can then make sure the correct Education Support Officer contacts you at a mutually convenient time.