In her first speech to the social care profession, Education Secretary Justine Greening today (3 November 2016) set out her vision for giving vulnerable children the best possible chance of a successful future.
Children within the social care system are much more likely to be locked out from opportunities that would allow them to thrive, and this government is determined to address this by investing properly in the professionals who care for them.
The Education Secretary announced an additional £4.7 million investment in the teaching partnership programme, aimed at improving the education and training of social workers in 11 new areas across the country. She also invited local authorities to nominate talented senior social workers to join the new Practice Leader Development programme.
Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening said:
This government wants a country that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. Just as we need a world-class education system that works for everyone, so too we need a world-class children’s social care system that ensures the best start possible for every child.
Speaking after the Education Secretary, Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson announced a new opportunity to bid to the £200 million Innovation Programme, to pilot new, creative approaches to supporting vulnerable children. The Innovation programme aims to give local services opportunities to try out new ways of supporting children and their families, empowering professionals on the ground to redesign how they work so they get the best outcomes for those they look after.
Since its launch, this fund has already supported over 50 projects in England. This includes the Mockingbird Family Model which helps connect vulnerable children to give them a sense of extended family and community, as well as NIS Keep Standard which provides training for carers to help them gain the skills needed to deal with difficult children. Results so far show positive changes in behaviour.
The teaching partnership programme, jointly funded with the Department of Health, aims to raise the standard of social workers - both those new to the profession as well those already in practice - by driving up the quality of teaching, learning and development throughout their career.
Minister for Community Health and Care, David Mowat said:
We want to support social workers to ensure they have the best training and skills. The Teaching Partnerships programme will not only increase opportunities for good quality placements, coaching, mentoring and supervision for social workers, they also involve people with lived experiences.
Speaking at the annual National Children and Adult Services Conference, the Secretary of State for Education also confirmed that additional money will be invested in some of the more successful projects from the first phase of the Innovation programme. This will help to build on the evidence base of what works in children’s social work.
The projects include:
- Positive Choices in Calderdale - which offers intensive support for high risk young people in the local area
Pause - which helps to break the cycle of children being removed from care among women at risk of repeat removals
Frontline - which is being backed to scale-up its Firstline leadership development programme, which will support over 400 social work managers across the country.
Pause CEO, Sophie Humphreys, said:
Pause works with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeated pregnancies that result in children being removed from their care. Our programme gives them the chance to take control of their lives, preventing further costs to themselves, society and the taxpayer. In the next few weeks Pause will be setting out details of its next stage of development which, thanks to further funding from the Department for Education, is now possible.
The announcements today are all part of the government’s drive to improve outcomes for children and families in new ways and is at the heart of the Children and Social Work Bill, which proposes introducing new powers for local authorities to test different ways of working.
Notes for editors
- Read the Innovation programme evaluation reports.
- Find out more about the Innovation programme, including details on how to get involved in the next phase.