This year’s Big Give Christmas Challenge is now open and we need your help! We are aiming to raise £30,000 to help disadvantaged children access the support they need to be in school.
School-Home Support’s Big Give Campaign is open between 12:00 noon Tuesday 29 November and 12:00 noon Tuesday 6 December. All donations during that time will be doubled by The Childhood Trust and our other kind pledgers.
Almost 900,000 children, which is 1 in 8 children in England, are persistently absent from school each year. They are missing weeks, months, even years of their education, severely affecting their future life chances.
For 4 in 5 children, the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on school attainment. Coupled with the worst cost of living crisis in decades, many children are struggling to catch up on their missed education. As the most vulnerable children and families are facing the worst of these hardships, their school attendance is most at risk. The attainment gap is the widest it has been in 10 years, with disadvantaged pupils receiving grades in this summer’s exams that were on average half a grade lower than those from better off backgrounds.
During these difficult and uncertain times, School-Home Support is needed now more than ever. We look beyond the classroom to tackle the underlying causes of school absence, supporting the whole family to overcome barriers to learning and build resilience for the future. Your support will help us ensure more children are getting the support they need when they need it most.
What was the situation?
Isobel lives with her mum and two siblings in a flat in Bootle, Liverpool. Her older brother is unemployed and on the waiting list for mental health support. Her mum relies on benefits and Isobel is entitled to free school meals. The pressures of the rising cost of living meant that mum was increasingly struggling with household bills and couldn’t afford to replace important household items when they broke.
Isobel was struggling to attend school due to having panic attacks, and she often felt overwhelmed by crowds. As she wasn’t feeling confident in school she was struggling to build friendships with her peers. Isobel had low self esteem and was feeling highly conscious of her body image, meaning she would take a long time to get ready for school in the morning, feeling worried that she wouldn’t fit in with others her age. Isobel’s mum was becoming increasingly worried about her behaviour, as well as the financial challenges they were facing, which would often heighten Isobel’s own worries and anxious feelings.
How did School-Home Support help?
Our practitioner Sarah set up regular meetings with Isobel’s mum to see how Isobel was managing at school. She also met with Isobel once a week to talk through how the school week and her home life had been. As Sarah developed a trusting relationship with Isobel, they developed strategies to help her to manage her interactions at school, as well as key daily life skills such as time management and organisation. To ensure Isobel could get the specialised professional help she needed, Sarah supported her mum with a referral to Children and Adult Mental Health (CAMHS). Sarah was able to keep in regular contact with the school engagement office and Isobel’s head of year, sharing important updates and ensuring the best strategies were in place to support Isobel with her school and home life.
To alleviate some of the financial pressures at home, Sarah made an application to the School-Home Support Welfare Fund, to purchase the white goods which had broken and which mum couldn’t afford to replace. Within a few days, the family had a brand new fridge.
When Isobel was referred to School-Home Support, her attendance was at 77%. After 5 months of support from Sarah, her attendance has increased to 87%, which equates to an extra 19days in school. As she is now more involved in the school community and with her peers, Isobel’s self confidence has improved and she is feeling much less anxious at school. Feeling more positive about her future, Isobel is motivated to complete her GCSEs and with the support of Sarah, has applied and been accepted for a place at college.