It is clear from this study that in many areas there needs to be more clarity about the relationship between the need for some children to be protected and their other needs. Local protocols between education and social care divisions of children’s services must be embedded in practice. More guidance is needed than simply stating for the formal threshold criteria as the issues are often complex and exist on a continuum about which teachers need fuller explanation.
Unsurprisingly, more effective communication is a central message from this research. Baginsky argues that relationships need to be developed at a practitioner level but this can only happen where there is strong strategic leadership in a locality by both education and social care. Clearly this will be a central and ongoing area of work for local safeguarding boards.
Capacity of social work services
Baginsky makes the case for more resources needing to be allocated to social work services if the Every Child Matters agenda is to be realised. Many of the problems she identified in relation to the poor response from social workers were largely due to a lack of capacity.
The potential of training
Training for social workers and teachers can have a major role to play in changing the culture around child protection to one of shared ownership of issues of safeguarding. Joint training can be especially helpful and needs to be offered to experienced practitioners, including managers in schools and social care as well as newly qualified staff.