Evaluation of Behaviour and Education Support Teams

Karen Halsey et al,
National Foundation for Educational Research

Behaviour and Education Support Teams (BESTs) are multi-agency teams working to support schools, families and children aged between five and 18 who already have, or are at risk of developing, emotional, behavioural and/or attendance problems. The focus of their work is identification, prevention and early intervention.

The research finds that a key factor in the effectiveness of BESTs is the inclusion of staff with a range of professional backgrounds and specialisms, working together and exchanging
knowledge and expertise. The result was felt to be a holistic approach to the education, health and social needs of children and families, better access to support for families and children, and
more streamlined referral systems. Family-led intervention initiated by BESTs was seen to be a crucial link between home and school.

However, as multi-agency teams are not straightforward to set up and run, the research stresses the importance of allowing enough time when establishing a new team for planning and for
ensuring the availability of resources.

An effective BEST has good communication within the group, and includes members able to adapt their practices from working as specialists to being part of a unified team.

When the research was done, the funding for BESTs was due to finish in 2006. However, funding has been extended until 2008, although local authorities will have to consider how to use
this money to build upon this initial work.

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