New DfE funding to evaluate interventions to improve outcomes for children and young people with social workers.

 

Schools play a vital role in improving outcomes for children and young people who have had contact with children’s social care, both in terms of safeguarding and closing the educational attainment gap.

To assess the effectiveness of interventions put in place in educational settings to help close the attainment gap between young people who have had a social worker and their peers, the Department for Education recently announced £9.9 million to fund research by the What Works for Children’s Social Care initiative.

This funding will contribute to the growing evidence of how organisations and educational settings can best support some of the most vulnerable children in our society to achieve their full potential.

Evaluating success through learner outcomes

One of the educational programmes being evaluated as part of the research is Family Skills. Delivered by educational not-for-profit, Learning Unlimited, and supported by Campaign for Learning (part of the NCFE Group), Family Skills aims to improve the literacy and language skills of children learning English as an additional language (EAL).

Family Skills aims to improve parent/guardian/carer engagement in children’s learning, and the relationship between those adults and the school. The programme focuses on supporting parents of Reception-aged children and consists of 11 weekly sessions for parents delivered at the child’s school by external family learning tutors. In previous analysis by WWCSC, this project showed signs of potential in closing the attainment gap between children who have had a social worker and their peers, by an additional four months’ progress on literacy attainment.

Karen Dudley, ESOL specialist, project manager and Director at Learning Unlimited, said:

“Learning Unlimited is delighted to have the opportunity to further develop and roll out the Family Skills programme for 'What Works in Children's Social Care' working in close partnership with Campaign for Learning.

“We will be publicising how schools and families nationally can get involved later in the summer. In the meantime, we’d advise anyone who would like to be involved in the project to get in touch with us.”

Juliette Collier, Joint National Director at Campaign for Learning, added:

“As part of the NCFE family of education and skills charities, Campaign for Learning is committed to promoting and advancing learning to help learners of all ages to achieve their full potential. By instilling the value of learning into the heart of family life through programmes like Family Skills with Learning Unlimited, we hope to inspire a lifelong love of learning which helps young people to get on in their lives and careers.”

Michael Sanders, Chief Executive of What Works for Children’s Social Care, said:

“We’re excited to be able to continue our work at the confluence of social care and education, trying to help build an evidence base around what works, where, and for whom. I’m looking forward to working with colleagues around the country to deliver these promising interventions at a larger scale.”

For more information about the Family Skills programme, visit https://www.learningunlimited.co/projects/family-skills/

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