The Watson family has three children whose attendance was less than 10% when schools returned after the first lockdown in 2020. After working with School-Home Support, the children’s attendance is now 86% (December 2021).
The family background
School-Home Support worked with the Watson family to address complex issues that were causing their children to have very low attendance.
Ben was originally referred to School-Home Support due to behavioural issues at school. Their Practitioner also supports Ben’s sisters, Poppy, who has Global Development Delay, and Mia who regularly needs hospital treatment for a health issue.
Dad deals with a lot of anxiety, which got more severe during the first lockdown in March 2020. When schools returned in 2020, mum and dad kept all three children out of school due to their anxiety around the children contracting Covid-19. This meant that for over a year, the average attendance of all three children was lower than 10% , which is fewer than 20 days in school.
How did School-Home Support help?
Had they continued on this trajectory they would have each missed over 855 days each of their education over a 5 year period.
Equating to nearly 3o months or over two years of schooling. Severely affecting their future life chances, reducing their capacity to earn and costing the taxpayer more money. School-Home Support changed this path. If sustained, the increase to 86% attendance will significantly increases their chances of achieving 5 or more GCSEs or equivalent at grades A*-C including English and mathematics.
The Watson family’s School-Home Support Practitioner, Gemma, set up an online learning plan during the first lockdown period in 2020, making sure that the children were engaged with their education. To reduce the isolation the family were facing, she ensured that they remained in contact with the school community, and regularly visited the family as a keyworker.
After the lockdown period ended, Gemma worked intensively with Mum and Dad to ease their anxiety about letting the children return to school. She had daily contact with the parents, and met with them to explain the safety measures in place at the school.
When the children returned to school in July 2021, Gemma put several practical measures in place for each child to make the transition easier for the family.
Mia has a bowel condition which meant that her parents regularly kept her off school. Gemma made a pencil case for Mia in which she keeps sanitary products to help her with her health condition, and explained how to use them.
Gemma is supporting the family with a CAMHS referral for Ben to help deal with his behavioural issue.
Poppy has Global Development Delay, and communicates in sign language at home. Gemma has organised for Poppy’s teacher to learn sign language so that she can communicate with her better, and keep her engaged in her learning.
Gemma regularly brings the children into school if their parents are unable to do so because of illness or anxiety, and is in close contact with the children’s teachers regularly to help communicate any anxieties the parents may have.
How can you help us support families like The Watsons?
For vulnerable families like The Watsons, School-Home Support is vital.
Support our work today to enable us to reach more children and get them the help they need to get them ready to learn.