Primary school support staff will get social work training

By Tom Lloyd

| 09 October 2007

Support staff in two Yorkshire primary schools are being given social work training in a scheme backed by the government-funded Innovation Unit.

Wakefield Metropolitan District Council is working with the University of Leeds on the £40,000 pilot, which will see two workers in each school given training during the current academic year.

The idea of the project is to give support staff social work skills. Richard Newton, extended school remodelling adviser for Wakefield council, said: "We've put social workers in schools before, but what is different about this is that we are taking existing school staff and training them in social work."

If the work is successful it could lead to social work training for school support staff across Wakefield. Newton said the ideal would be to have one member of staff with social work training in each school, although for the pilot two members of staff in each school are being trained.

The staff will be trained to work with children aged nine to 11, and the impact of the project will be measured by looking at Key Stage 2 test results. The timing of the scheme means it will be hard to measure the impact in the first year, so the results of next year's tests will also be considered.

The council is working with Heath View Community Primary School and Sandal Magna Junior and Infants School on the project. John Deevy, the head teacher at Heath View, said: "Our children are from disadvantaged backgrounds and don't necessarily score very well when they do their tests, so we are trying to involve parents more. Some are quite difficult to reach, so this is one way that we are trying to do this - on an individual basis rather than with a group."

Julia Simpson, the head teacher at Sandal Magna, said her school had tried different approaches to breaking barriers to learning in the past. "This is different because the training hasn't been done before," she said. "It is about raising awareness between different agencies about how barriers to learning affect children in school."

blog comments powered by Disqus