Questions - vulnerable children

Council meeting 27 January 2015

Question to Cabinet Member for Education and Young People from Councillor D Harvey

Subject: Vulnerable children

Question 3

Question: What is the council doing for our vulnerable children?

Answer: Children can be vulnerable for a range of reasons and in harmony with the Welsh Government programme ‘Rewriting the Future’ to tackle links between poverty and educational attainment, we have a focus in Newport on supporting vulnerable children through working together with families and schools. The programme affirms the importance of partnerships, seamless transitions and support for work with parents and families. Working closely with clusters of schools and other agencies, we are building a community of support for vulnerable children.

These are children where acute services are not needed but a strong preventions approach is essential to improved learning and well-being outcomes and a prevention of escalation into acute needs such as Child Protection.

We are building multi agency teams around our 8 school clusters to develop an infrastructure of support for children and families. We have multi agency work happening at city wide level as part of the Preventions strand in Families First. The Team Around the Cluster will bring an action plan set alongside schools, working together where siblings are in different schools.

We have appointed 5 Education Social Workers, one of whom is funded jointly by Newport High Cluster and Llanwern Cluster. These are our pioneer clusters and we intend to continue the roll out across the other 6 clusters in the coming months. These staff have a caseload, but also advise on the approaches schools can take when they have concerns.

Clearly we are making a difference, but there is more to do. We are using the ward profiles and school and child level data (e.g. % attendance at school) to establish performance indicators for the programme. I am happy to supply any further information on this work to members as requested.