Integrating social care professionals into extended schools produces significant benefits but requires a big shift in working practices, a study concludes.
The National Foundation for Educational Research study explored the impact of introducing social workers into extended schools under the government’s agenda for more integrated working in Every Child Matters.
Researchers found that children benefited from easier identification of needs and quicker access to services and more holisitic packages. There was also greater understanding of the different roles and responsibilities between social care and education colleagues.
However, the study also noted that in the early stages there were challenges associated with understanding and adapting to different working practices.
Some initial resistance to having social care professionals in schools was reported and it was difficult to shift school priorities from being solely education focused to being more social-care oriented. These problems were not insurmountable with clear partnership arrangements, researchers concluded.