Social workers to be placed in Norfolk’s schools to help identify needy children

Sheila Lock Sheila Lock

Monday, March 10, 2014
8:54 AM

Social workers are going into Norfolk schools to target needy children and stop them from ending up in care.

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Timeline of children’s services

■ February 2013 – Ofsted brands the council’s child protection services “inadequate”.

■ March 2013 – Ofsted inspects 28 schools in a 10-day blitz. It later says it has serious concerns.

■ June 2013 – Ofsted says the council’s support for school improvement is “ineffective”.

■ June 2013 – Director of children’s services, Lisa Christensen, announces she will step down following pressure from Norfolk MPs.

■ August 2013 – Sheila Lock appointed interim director of children’s services.

■ August 2013 – Ofsted says the council’s services for looked after children are “inadequate”.

■ September 2013 – The council’s £1m strategy to turn around 120 under-performing schools is launched.

■ October 2013 – It emerged that the needs of 998 potentially vulnerable Norfolk children were left unassessed.

■ December 2013 – Ofsted annual report says 20,000 Norfolk children are educated in primary schools that are not yet good enough.

■ December 2013 – ministers issue a statutory direction telling the council’s children’s services department to improve.

■ January 2014 – Norfolk falls 20 places in the GCSE league table.

The six-month pilot is designed to head off crises before they happen – and, ultimately, cut the number of children who are taken away from their families.

Watchdogs, who last year branded Norfolk County Council’s arrangements for protecting children and its services for looked-after children, as “inadequate”, criticised a lack of early help for families.

Now staff have been seconded to schools in north Norwich, Earlham, Swaffham, Thorpe, Dereham and Great Yarmouth, with another pilot project in a Norwich complex needs school and the city’s Short Stay School.

The aim is to give parents and children early access to a social worker when they are experiencing difficulties.

Council bosses said it would encourage families to come forward if they needed extra help.

The social workers will also support teachers and school staff by providing training and guidance in child protection issues.

Norfolk County Council has 1,130 children in care – one of the highest rates in the country – and, with the authority looking to save £189m over the next three years, councillors are keen to reduce that number.

James Joyce, cabinet member for safeguarding children, said: “By placing social workers in schools, we hope that families will have someone who they recognise and trust and that this can give them the confidence to ask for help.

“None of us wants families to get into a position where their children come into our care and we are hopeful that this scheme will also help to reduce the number of looked after children in the county.”

Social workers are also working closely with children’s centres to help families before the birth of children and those with pre-school children.

Mark Adams, head teacher of St Nicholas Priory Junior School, in Great Yarmouth, said: “We hope this pilot will improve communication and understanding between schools and social care to improve outcomes for children and families. We are really excited about the potential of this pilot and even in the first four weeks there has been considerable learning by both schools and social care.”

Binks Neate-Evans, headteacher of West Earlham Infant and Nursery School, said: “Our attached social worker has noted the high level of early intervention our school is providing.

“By having a social worker discuss and plan this work with us, we have been able to act more swiftly and access support from different agencies.” Earlier this year, Norfolk Constabulary hailed an initiative which sees police officers based in the county’s schools, for reducing crime. According to figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request, the number of crimes in all Norfolk schools fell by 27pc between 2010-11 and 2012-13, from 604 to 439.

What do you think of the scheme? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

25 comments

  • in regards to article states that our comments do not reflect the article i disagree norfolk CS you are all shameful

    Report this comment

    miss Anon

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014

  • The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site i find the above statement to be somewhat untrue

    Report this comment

    miss Anon

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • in regards to article states that our comments do not reflect the article i disagree norfolk CS you are all shameful

    Report this comment

    miss Anon

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Its a witch hunt

    Report this comment

    miss Anon

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Local authorities child protection policies are not evidence based because the Department for Education does not require them to collect & hold information on child abuse perpetrators. The question which they all need to be asked is who are their child protection policies designed to protect children from if they are not based on this information?

    Report this comment

    David Mortimer

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • So a private company will feast on taxpayers money to sort out and check over the childrens department. And social workers, no doubt to be 'evaluated' by this private company, will not be doing social work, but be commandeered into schools for a clash with teachers. What a farce. So when a teacher does not agree with the social worker's choice of looking at little Jimmy, we'll have a barmy in front of class, are we? Does anybody ever think this through?

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • What a load of rubbish, this scheme has one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to make work for themselves so when the cuts come, they can argue they are needed. My ex-wife is a midwife in Norfolk, and i know first hand what tricks Social Services play on families. I remember one case where Social Services pressurised my ex into altering her pre-birth home visit report so as they could take the child off those parents, and their excuse was they had spend over a £1000 on a TV but had not yet bought provisions for the forthcoming child. My ex-wife used to come home crying because of the antics of Norfolk Social Services. They behave as though they are above the law, when in actual fact they should be investigated

    Report this comment

    pubmandave

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Ms Anon what are you rambling about.

    Report this comment

    theanchovy

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • I can see the poor social workers being drawn into tackling perceived bullies within schools, and will have little time left to deal with real abnormal behaviours like squeelers, informers and teachers pets.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • Asgard not enough families are speaking out about it, I have been looking deeply into this and 1st I think its appalling they have nobody to be accountable to once its noticed that they fabricate documents- although there are some cases about to go to court for this purpose in Norfolk. 2nd: once they rip the heart from a mother and break families they offer no support to the parents- just like they offer no help to support the families in the first place- they have indirectly killed mother who have felt they have nothing left to live for, because there is nothing they can do to stop them.

    Report this comment

    FightingFamilies

    Saturday, March 15, 2014

  • Ofsted report found them- inadequate childrens minister- found them inadequate. and independent body found that social workers do not get the correct training and there needs to be a complete overhaul in their training system and now you want to put them into schools? Let not forget that these are the same social workers who without conscience fabricate documents to remove children from their families.. I would like to know something: out of the 6 already placed in schools how many of them are Direct LA social workers? and How many are self employed contracted in Social workers?

    Report this comment

    FightingFamilies

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • What a waste of tay payers money - surely this is part of a teachers job. Although obviously not during their 12 weeks holiday!

    Report this comment

    Norfolk John

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Sounds an excellent idea - might improve literacy among social workers - or at least teach the poorest some basic reading and writing skills!

    Report this comment

    Andrew Tilley

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site i find the above statement to be somewhat untrue

    Report this comment

    miss Anon

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • They will be looking for kids to put into care, to meet their targets. If you dont believe me, look on the internet.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • in regards to article states that our comments do not reflect the article i disagree norfolk CS you are all shameful

    Report this comment

    miss Anon

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • this is so true pubmandave, thank you so much for speaking up, i knew this all along, but its to late now for my little boy, and they have ruined a whole family and left us in mourning

    Report this comment

    asgard

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • It's a troll festival.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • This all amounts to an SS snoopers charter. They will be looking for children to take away from their families using the secret family courts, just to meet targets. If you think I am joking, look on the internet.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site i find the above statement to be somewhat untrue

    Report this comment

    miss Anon

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • Its a witch hunt

    Report this comment

    miss Anon

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • this is so true pubmandave, thank you so much for speaking up, i knew this all along, but its to late now for my little boy, and they have ruined a whole family and left us in mourning Add your comment | Report this comment asgard

    Report this comment

    asgard

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • Norfolk is the worst local authority for removing children from their birth families. Sheila Lock has instead of looking into her own internal failings has instead scapegoated and passed the buck on to Norfolk parents ability to look after their children, in her eyes it would seem they (CS) are not the problem and instead it is us- the parents. Sheila Lock and her self appointed contracted in team have come to Norfolk and are accusing US the parents of being the worst parents in the country, is this how to make parents have some sort of trust in Children's services? YOU: CHILDRENS SERVICES have been found INADEQUATE not us, you were found inadequate in EVERY area inspected by Ofsted. YOU are currently under an improvement notice, because YOU have failed. If an independent review was carried out on all children removed from their families I am confident that half of those children would be returned to their families. and THAT is how you make your government savings.

    Report this comment

    FightingFamilies

    Wednesday, March 12, 2014

  • this is so true pubmandave, thank you so much for speaking up, i knew this all along, but its to late now for my little boy, and they have ruined a whole family and left us in mourning Add your comment | Report this comment asgard

    Report this comment

    asgard

    Thursday, March 13, 2014

  • I totally agree, its so called job creation in action. The sooner NCC wake up and start sacking some of these people the sooner savings will be made.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Monday, March 10, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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