Devon chosen to be part of ambitious national pilot

Boy in a class room Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash

Posted on: 10 August 2020

Secondary schools in Devon are set to take part in an ambitious national project aimed at providing better care for children.

Devon County Council is one of 10 authorities across the country which has been chosen to take part in the pilot.

The Department of Education is giving Devon almost £400,000 to fund eight social workers who will be embedded in eight secondary schools across the county.

They will work to reduce referrals to social services, cut the number of young people who ultimately have to be taken into care and help to boost their educational achievement.

The selection process for the schools is currently under way and they will be chosen to represent different communities across Devon which has some of the largest and smallest secondaries in the country.

Photo of Councillor James McInnes

Devon County Council’s deputy leader and Cabinet member for schools, James McInnes, said: “I am delighted we have been chosen to take part in this project which has already had successful pilots in Southampton, Lambeth and Stockport.

“We had to compete for the funding and we’ve been told our application was excellent.

“The ultimate aim is to provide the sort of early help that will prevent young people becoming more closely involved with the care system and to increase educational attainment.

“It’s obviously better for the young person if this early help can prevent families breaking up but it’s also good for the public purse if we can prevent much more expensive intervention later on.

“Schools have often said to us they wish they could have a social worker based with them and we have had to say we are not funded to provide that sort of service.

“So I am very pleased that we have been successful in our application and we will now be able to offer this opportunity to at least a proportion of our secondary schools.”

The project is due to start in mid-September and continue to the end of the financial year. It is possible it might be extended to the end of the academic year next July.

Social workers will be attached to one secondary school each. They will be based in the school but may also work with feeder primary schools.

Posted in: DCC Homepage | Education