See the Impact: The role of support workers in Alternative Provision

13 March 2024
See the Impact: the role of support workers in Alternative Provision



We recently hosted a See the Impact event, which is an opportunity to share with our supporters the impact of our work, focusing on a particular theme or area of interest.

This time, we were pleased to welcome Dr Hannah Broadbent, Educational Psychologist, to discuss her research titled The role of student support workers from external organisations in Alternative Provision; a case study involving ‘School-Home Support’ practitioners.’ 

Last year, the number of pupils attending alternative provision increased by 15% to 40,900. This was a timely and important discussion on the positive impact a whole family support approach can have on a young person’s attendance, as well other positive outcomes like wellbeing and attainment.

Dr Broadbent highlighted the key findings of her research, which provides vital insight into the beneficial contributions practitioners from organisations such as School-Home Support can make, not only to attendance and engagement, but also to student’s social, emotional, and relational development. 

The research demonstrates how a whole family support approach, as delivered by School-Home Support practitioners, can successfully bridge the gaps between schools, students, families and other agencies to improve outcomes for children in alternative provision. If the decision is made to integrate a young person back into mainstream school, then access to a trusted whole family support practitioner can also help to make this transition a lasting success.

The research took place in two alternative provision settings where School-Home Support practitioners work and was based on a combination of unstructured observations, as well as semi-structured interviews with the practitioners themselves, members of the school’s Senior Leadership team, and with students supported by our practitioners.


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Key findings

  • The role of School-Home Support Practitioners extends beyond just attendance monitoring, as they are able to meet the needs of children and families across different systemic levels.
  • These roles are underpinned by the building of trusting, secure relationships.


Dr Broadbent went on to discuss the impact and implications of this research, which makes the case for support workers such as School-Home Support practitioners to be embedded as part of staff teams in alternative provisions, where they are empowered and supported in their role as a key part of the school community. Not only this, but the value of these practitioners in mainstream settings, where they can be a vital part of preventing exclusions in the first place.


Watch the recording of the See the Impact event.