As we head into another busy term, our Chief Executive, Jaine Stannard, prepared a message on what we’re working on, and what challenges we’ll be facing this term…
Many vulnerable families on the cusp of the government’s definition of vulnerable were not being seen at school during the pandemic. Their School-Home Support Practitioner – who supports the children and their families – was one of the few people they saw for months on end – as we undertook doorstep visits throughout the lockdown.
School is a protective environment. Children not being seen in the safe space of school was extremely worrying.
Home is not always a safe space
For those children for whom home is not always a safe place, issues that escalated or arose during the lockdown will have a long term effect on them. And that is what continues to worry us as part of the legacy of the pandemic.
Our data shows some worrying trends:
- A 133% increase in domestic violence in the last year.
- An increase in poverty – with interventions around housing and money increasing by 460% in the autumn term alone.
- In total, the need for our services has quadrupled since the first lockdown was announced.
What’s it looking like in schools?
We recently surveyed a third of our Practitioners to see what the situation looks like now children are back at school, and what their concerns are for the future:
- 68.2% said they were more or much more concerned about children and families.
- 50% have seen attendance drop since schools reopened.
- 63.6% said children are much less engaged in learning than they were previously.
Families are needing more support than ever before. In the latest autumn term, 79.7% of our cases required five or more interventions. We forecast that this will continue, if underlying issues with the rise of people living in poverty, stays the same.
The current situation has widened the disadvantage gap for children and young people. Department for Education data suggests the attainment gap could be as much as 75% between disadvantaged pupils and their better off peers once the COVID-19 crisis recedes.
What is School-Home Support doing to combat this crisis?
Primarily we are continuing to work in schools to ensure that children are supported back into school, where they will be able to learn and improve their life chances for the future.
We are also expanding into other schools. We’re now recruiting for Practitioners who will be based in six primary schools in Blackpool. This is fantastic to see our reach expand to be able to help even more children and families.
We’ve also been raising this crisis directly with the government – submitting evidence to the House of Lords’ COVID-19 Select Committee and continuing to work as part of the Centre for Social Justice Education Board to support their work lobbying for change.
Want to get involved?
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If you’re based at a school and would like to get advice on attendance or would like to learn more about what Practitioners do then sign up for free to our Members Forum.
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