Advice and support for Children in Care
The Education Social Welfare Service seeks to ensure that every child/young person receives the maximum benefit from the education opportunities provided by the Local Authority.
The Service utilises a range of strategies and interventions, working in partnership with children and young people, parents and families, school staff and other agencies to overcome barriers to education and achieve improved outcomes. The Service also collects, collates and analyses attendance data from schools and supports and challenges school staff in their efforts to improve attendance.
The Education Social Welfare Service works within a legal framework and is directly concerned to enable the Local Authority to discharge its legal obligations. Particularly, the Service is concerned to ensure that the various relevant Acts of Parliament are applied for the benefit of children fairly and equally.
Relevant legislation includes Children’s and Young Person’s Act (1969), Education Acts (1981, 1996 and 2002), Children’s Acts (1989 and 2004).
The Service provides a named Education Social Worker to support each school in improving attendance. The amount of time allocated to each school is dependent on need taking into account authorised and unauthorised absence, number of pupil sessions missed, proportion of Free School Meals, number of pupils with Special Educational Needs, and other relevant factors. Each school receives an annual audit on attendance and is supported in producing an Action Plan to improve attendance.
The Service is involved in a number of strategies which impact on school attendance. These include:
- Engaging all schools in the Persistent Absence Agenda, which is a national strategy aimed at reducing the proportion of pupils whose level of school attendance falls below 80%.
- Contributing to the Wirral’s eleven multidisciplinary Area Teams, assisting in the delivery of the Team Around The Child Model [formerly known as the Child Concern Model] and ensuring school attendance remains a priority within developing services.
- Managing the collection, collation, and analysis of school attendance data.
- Coordinating Truancy Sweeps and liaising with Merseyside Police.
- Contributing to the Antisocial Behaviour Team, Respect Panels, Anti-Social Behaviour Governance Group and Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Committee [MARAC].
- Contributing to the Local Safeguarding Children Board and working with other agencies to ensure children are protected
- Improving the attendance of Children In Care and contributing to the Virtual School Staff Group.
- Safeguarding children and young people against the dangers of illegal employment and raising awareness of the risks of child employment.
- Identifying and tracking children not receiving a suitable education.
- Contributing to the resolution of school exclusion issues.
- Assisting in the assessment of children who may have special educational needs.
- Contributing to the multidisciplinary Solutions Team to support the behaviour and attendance of pupils in our special schools with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties [SEBD].
- Contributing to Wirral’s Youth Offending Service in the assessment, support and supervision of young offenders and those at risk of offending.
- Contributing to the Integrated Youth Support Strategy.
- Contributing to the Department’s five Every Child Matters Outcome Groups, particularly the Staying Safe and Enjoy and Achieve Groups.
- Contributing to the monitoring of children who are educated at home.
- Contributing to the Local Authority’s work on bullying.
- Liaising with Wirral Magistrate’s Courts, issuing Fixed Penalty Notices and prosecuting parents who fail to ensure their children attend school regularly.
- The Pressure Point Support Project which provides flexible early intervention to support children and families in need in some of Wirral’s most deprived wards.
- The Konnecta Bus Project is operated in partnership with the Youth Service and a number of other partner agencies and provides outreach support to young people out of school, helping them to overcome barriers to education.