SHS work in Bradford

SHS work in Bradford

Case study from February 11, 2021

SHS in Bradford – what we’ve achieved in three years

School-Home Support (SHS) has been working with families in Bradford since May 2018. Our main work in Bradford is on the Holme Wood estate, one of Europe’s largest estates.

What are we doing in Bradford?

We are offering individually tailored practical and emotional support through our Practitioners. Our Practitioners are based in pre-school, primary and secondary schools – in and around the estate. We are working with families to tackle the root causes of issues at home that are affecting children’s learning – and ensuring we improve school attendance and parental engagement.

Why is SHS’s work needed in Bradford?

According to End Child Poverty, Holme Wood estate is in the top 1% of most deprived wards in the country. Bradford as a whole is the fifth most income deprived and sixth most employment deprived local authority in England.

Persistent absentees are more likely to be bullied, excluded, or engage in risky behaviour, and are more likely to become NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) or end up in the criminal justice system. This costs the taxpayer between £61,481 to £87,890 per year.

In contrast, an SHS Practitioner – who works with families towards improving attendance, which has a knock-on effect on attainment, aspirations and breaks intergenerational cycles of poverty – costs just £818 per pupil per year.

Quotes in support of our work in Bradford

“Our Persistent Absence figures reduced significantly – from 22.5% in 2018/19 down to 14.1% (pre-pandemic).”

Clare Cosgrove, Head of School, Knowleswood Primary School


“Katie [Practitioner] has been really proactive, particularly in identifying background issues

that can impact attendance such as poverty, mental health etc. She has been very solution-focused. Pupils who Katie worked with on average their attendance has gone up between 7 and 10% in the time she’s worked with them.”

Andrew Hirst, Vice Principal/DDSL, Tong Leadership Academy


“Gemma [Practitioner] has been able to offer more targeted family support to vulnerable families and able to dig down into their issues to get to the root of problems that the school would not previously have been able to dedicate the time to.”

Clare Cosgrove, Head of School, Knowleswood Primary School


“About 70% of children Tracey works with, their attendance has improved. From the persistent absentees, she has worked with over the year approximately 50% have become not persistent absentees and all others showed an improvement in attendance.”

Sarah Tolson – Deputy Head Teacher, St Columba’s School


How we helped Callum in Bradford

Callum was a poor attender in both Years 7 and 8. The family were at the point of prosecution due to his non-attendance until the involvement of an SHS Practitioner.  

The family struggled with poverty, debt and lack of resources for the children in terms of school uniform, equipment and travel to school.  

Neither of Callum’s parents spoke English as their first language and struggled to understand communications from the school, and often failed to attend pre-arranged visits from school.

Our SHS Practitioner worked with the family, using translator services were available to help them better understand the needs of the school. The family applied to our Welfare Fund for much-needed school uniforms and equipment for Callum and helped the family apply for a free bus pass for him. The Practitioner worked with the family to support them in getting help with their financial issues and referred them to outside agencies to help with benefit and debt advice.

As a result of our interventions, the family’s communications with school improved and they felt more supported. Callum had the clothing, equipment and transport needed to come into school, and his attendance rose from 76.9% on commencement of working with SHS to 94.4% in 2020.

Are you based in a school in or around Bradford and looking for ways to improve attendance amongst your students? If so, why not drop us a line at or give us a call on 020 7426 5000.

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