Call for local authorities to participate in new trials providing supervision to DSLs

26 March 2021

What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) is seeking applications from local authorities to participate in two new trials providing social worker supervision to Designated Safeguarding Leads in primary and secondary schools in England.

The two trials aim to understand if providing formal supervision sessions with trained social workers can reduce the number of inappropriate contacts with children’s social care and reduce DSL stress and anxiety. A previous trial in Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council found indicative evidence of positive impacts but was unable to draw conclusive findings due to the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. WWCSC is currently running a trial of individual social worker supervision to DSLs in secondary schools in Greater Manchester. Together, we hope these trials will provide robust evidence on the effectiveness of the intervention.

The Intervention

Primary Schools
WWCSC expects to begin the intervention in approximately ten local authorities in England in September 2021, and to evaluate its impact throughout the 2021/22 academic year. An experienced social work manager will be recruited in each participating local authority to provide monthly individual reflective supervision to DSLs for the duration of the academic year. Supervision will be provided to DSLs in half of the mainstream primary schools in each participating local authority, with the other half acting as a control group.

Secondary Schools
WWCSC expects to begin the intervention in approximately ten local authorities in England in September 2021, and to evaluate its impact throughout the 2021/22 academic year. An experienced social work manager will be recruited in each participating local authority to provide monthly group reflective supervision to DSLs for the duration of the academic year. Supervision will be provided to DSLs in half of the mainstream secondary schools in each participating local authority, with the other half acting as a control group. This model of group supervision reflects findings from the Greater Manchester study that the complex nature of secondary schools, their larger student bodies, and that fact that many have multiple DSLs. Thus, a group supervision approach, already widely used in social care, could be more appropriate and impactful here.

Applications

WWCSC is seeking applications from local authorities in England. We are not able to accept applications from individual schools. Local authorities can apply for one or both projects.

Completed application forms should be returned to WWCSC by 9am on Friday 30 April 2021.

For more information and the application form: