This study is an intervention which bases social workers in schools (SWIS) with the aim they work more effectively with education colleagues and with children and families. Education and Children’s Social Care (CSC) play a vital role in keeping children safe and promoting their wellbeing and the central idea is that having a social worker in a school can lead to better outcomes for children.
The study builds on three smaller feasibility studies (in Lambeth, Southampton and Stockport in 2019) which found SWIS to be a promising approach and recommended it is explored further. The results of these pilots are published here. The scale-up has involved placing social workers in 21 local authorities across England.
The research design for the impact evaluation is a pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT), which addresses the following primary and secondary research questions:
- Primary research question: what is the impact of SWIS in reducing rates of Section 47 enquiries?
- Secondary research questions – what is the impact of SWIS on:
- the rates of referral to Children’s Social Care and Section 17 assessments?
- the number of days children spend in care?
- educational attendance?
The study also includes an implementation and process evaluation which will explore how the scale-up is implemented across the participating local authorities, and the extent to which this is as intended. The following questions will be addressed:
- Is SWIS implemented as intended?
- What evidence is there for the mechanisms of change identified in the logic model?
- How does SWIS impact the wider social care system?
There will also be an economic evaluation, which will compare the cost-effectiveness of SWIS versus usual practice.
read more about Social workers based in Lambeth schools
Social workers based in Lambeth schoolsPlacing social workers in Lambeth schools to reduce the need for statutory social work intervention
read more about Social workers based in Southampton schools
Social workers based in Southampton schoolsPlacing social workers in Southampton schools to reduce the need for statutory social work intervention
read more about Social workers based in Stockport schools
Social workers based in Stockport schoolsPlacing social workers in Stockport schools to reduce the need for statutory social work intervention