20 September 2012
Making the most of their education can help children from troubled families turn their lives around.
As local authorities consider their response to the Government's troubled families agenda, we at School-Home Support (SHS) have been developing ways of helping them to implement their strategies.
Announced in December 2011, the Troubled Families programme aims to transform the lives of 120,000 of the country's most troubled families. It focuses on improving school attendance as well as reducing anti-social behaviour, youth offending and dependency on benefits, with financial incentives for those local authorities who achieve results.
At SHS we have a 30-year history of enabling pupils in deprived areas to make the most of their education. In 2010/11 our school-based practitioners supported nearly 20,000 children and their families. We succeeded in improving the attendance of 79 per cent of persistent absentees: by the end of the school year, half were no longer classed as persistently absent.
SHS has recently begun pilot programmes in the London boroughs of Barking and Dagenham and Bexley, working with children and young people whose attendance is below 85 per cent and who have been identified through the Troubled Families programme. SHS professionals will be based in pupil referral units in the boroughs, as well as in some schools. They will be working directly with students to increase their attendance, identifying the barriers that prevent them from learning and helping to find effective solutions.
The latest statistics show that in June 2012, one-in-six young people was not in education, employment or training (NEET). These figures demonstrate how crucial it is to break the cycle of low achievement that can blight children's lives. At SHS we are committed to working with local authorities to ensure that all pupils can benefit from their education.
Jan Tallis is Chief Executive of national charity School-Home Support (SHS). To find out more, please visit their website.
27 September 2012