During her time as a teacher and a deputy head Claire Trott was
often mystified about social workers’ decision-making with child
protection cases. “As teachers, we don’t always understand the
rationale behind decisions in child protection and what social work
actually is,” she says.
Now, as education adviser at the NSPCC, she does a lot of
cross-sector working with social workers and has been heavily
involved in creating a teacher training pack that looks at issues
such as how social services works and the process of referrals.
That has been hugely beneficial to her.
“This has given me a greater understanding of where everyone’s
role fits in,” she says. “Understanding each other’s roles is
crucial to good partnerships and respecting each other’s
Trott thinks this mutual understanding and respect is
increasingly important if the government’s drive for
multi-disciplinary working is to be successful. It also helps all
those concerned, whether it is the teachers, social workers or
health professionals, to take a fresh look at their own thinking,
policies and procedures.
She says: “We all bring slightly different angles to everything,
which I found very informative as a professional. You have to
listen to each other and the different perspectives.”
Another project on which Trott is working involves cross-sector
partnerships under which peer support schemes are set up for
children in schools. This is when children run a school-wide
support network, encouraging other children to go to the group with
any problems they have.
For Trott, it means creating support structures in schools and
training children, staff and other care professionals working with
the schools in how peer support schemes can operate. She says: “We
help train up a number of young people to a high level of skills in
terms of listening, understanding and knowing what to do with
certain bits of information.”
The children have to learn to work together and communicate well
– exactly what is required of the professionals involved. “Multi
disciplinary working is vital to good co-operation between
education and social services,” says Trott.