Individuals can make the difference – working across education

Caroline Davis Caroline Davis, Engagement Manager
Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

There are some inspirational people working across front-line services, whose passion, energy and drive means that they do whatever it takes to ensure that the people they are working with receive timely help and support.

Through a contact of the Rebalancing the Outer Estates project, with which the Centre has been investigating opportunities to support, I recently met one such person working in a challenging school environment within the constituency of Nottingham North.  Eighty percent of their working week is spent ‘out in the field’, working with pupils’ families and supporting them by sharing relevant information with other agencies and support workers.

As with all working organisations, there are differences in culture and schools are seen as a community focal point for children and families to use and learn together. Educational staff and teachers work with children throughout the day, not just to deliver their education but to support them with pastoral care and help them grow and develop.

With the right approach and information, often an initial issue identified with a child in the school environment could lead to a more serious safeguarding issue being uncovered. The ability and skill of a pastoral worker within a school environment is critical, as they have the time and capacity to develop relationships outside the school boundary, and support families with issues.

Adopting a proactive attitude to building trusting relationships with key contacts working around the school has allowed the person I met to establish a new way of working for the school, by providing an outreach directly into the community.  Their approach has secured greater opportunities to join up information about families – providing an insight into the child’s life at home and therefore a greater understanding around unusual behaviours that might be brought into the classroom or about concerns that may have been noted by other agencies.

By sharing information with and between other agencies, concerns about the family may be dealt with locally or be referred as a safeguarding issue, so that appropriate support can be provided.

Information sharing between agencies at the earliest opportunity has been highlighted within a number of serious case reviews.  The findings have identified how different strands of information, when seen together, can alter the level of risk for a family, and therefore ensure that the appropriate level of support can be provided at the earliest opportunity.

A strategic approach to sharing information can be transcribed in different ways across other organisations.  Therefore, it does often come down to individuals who take the initiative to tackle the gathering and sharing of information themselves, in order to make a difference to the people they support.

How much are education workers considered or involved when sharing information within your local areas?

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