Cross-sector projects kindle mutual respect

    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.


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