Merton Social Work in Schools Social Workers SW5412

  • Type: Full Time
  • Location: Greater London
  • Role: Long contract
  • Salary: to £32 per hour
  • Reference: SW5412
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Our client in Merton requires capable Qualified Social Workers to work in a new project that Merton are running, they will be based in Schools on a 6mth project (1st Sept to 31st March)

They looking for social workers that:

  • have completed their systemic social work and/or signs of safety training
  • take a ‘change agent’ position in their interventions with families
  • are skilled in using our practice model and explaining it to others
  • can build strong relationships with children and their families
  • are committed to Merton
  • can operate autonomously within a school setting and as part of a multi-disciplinary network
  • are committed to developing themselves and new ways of practising

You must be UK Experienced in a similar role, be capable of flexible working and have a a genuine interest in Social Work in Schools

How will the SWIS pilot team be formed?

six social workers and a team manager role in the Social Work in Schools (SWIS) pilot. The SWIS team will join our Safeguarding and Care Planning Service (S&CP) although the social workers will be based in selected Merton schools.

The Head of S&CP will supervise and support the SWIS team manager and the team. You will be included in group supervisions; service meetings; training; staff briefings and bulletins. Supervision, training, appraisals and audit processes will continue throughout the project period.

What will the SWIS pilot team do?

Each Social Worker from the SWIS team will be based in a designated Merton secondary school. Six schools from the 12 Secondary Schools in Merton will be randomly selected for the project. All our Head Teachers have agreed to take part in the pilot, to host Social Workers in their School and to support their integration into the life of the school.

SWIS Social workers will be allocated and carry out core social work tasks for relevant young people within the school that they are based. You will also provide consultation and advice to school colleagues regarding referrals and thresholds. The SWIS team manager will allocate children to the relevant social worker. You will use Mosaic for recording your interventions.

The pilot will be academically evaluated and is testing the hypothesis that having dedicated social workers based in schools increases the potential to improve change and outcomes for children and their families through stronger relationships across their family and professional systems.

The SWIS team manager will work with Designated Safeguarding Leads and school staff to develop a shared understanding of safeguarding and child protection practices. This will be supported through the DSL forum, staff meetings and consultations with the Head Teachers. The SWIS team manager will work closely with the Practice Development manager in the Early Help service and Safeguarding in Schools officer to develop briefings, workshops and publications.

The SWIS team will provide information and participate in meetings with the academic evaluators provided by the What works Centre.

More detailed information about SWIS project below

Over a year ago, we launched our Social Workers in Schools programme – three pilot studies, carried out in Stockport, Lambeth, and Southampton, in which social workers were placed into schools, and would work closely with teachers, as well as with children and their families doing statutory social work from within the school environment.

In this project, we took the perspective that it was better to ‘let a million flowers bloom’ – and allow local authorities to vary the precise way that they delivered that simple premise of ‘social workers in schools’, and for us to stand back and watch, to see what happened. Over the last year, researchers from Cardiff University’s CASCADE research centre have conducted qualitative research across all three local authorities; recording what’s happened, what’s gone well, and what hasn’t gone to plan

The report highlights a lot of things that have gone well, identifying three key pathways for success: increasing the schools’ awareness and responsiveness to safeguarding; improving collaboration and cooperation between professionals; and, building stronger relationships between social workers, young people and families.

There were also challenges identified in each local authority, ranging from IT issues to a lack of clarity about the role of the social worker. The report makes a series of recommendations for how the intervention could be improved in the future, if it is rolled out at a larger scale. For the most part, though, local authorities had already worked through and addressed most of these issues by the end of the pilot.

The evaluation also included quantitative analysis, which aimed to provide indicative evidence that the programme was improving outcomes – or at least not making things worse. The picture here is more mixed; in large part because the window of analysis – a single school term – was quite short, and the number of schools involved overall was quite small. However, there are positive indications that there is a reduction of interventions overall as a consequence of the social workers placed in schools, although it’s possible that when interventions do happen they are, on average, more serious.

Not everyone will be convinced by this report, or by the idea behind the project itself. We’ll soon be publishing a blog by Tina Russell, the Director Social Care & Safeguarding in Worcestershire, whose own experiences show some of the risks associated with this approach.

What next then? This research is valuable and we’re proud of it, but it doesn’t get us as far as knowing what the impacts really are – as I’ve said the quantitative analysis is indicative at best. We’re pleased therefore to be announcing that we’ll be launching a new, much expanded version of the project, working with a larger number of schools and local authorities to really get a sense of what the impacts can be, and whether this approach really improves outcomes for young people and their families.