Building Successful Families
In Sheffield, national funding from Supporting Families is used to deliver the city's Building Successful Families programme (BSF). This funding is received up-front and has helped Sheffield to accelerate multi-agency working across the city. One aim of BSF is to empower children and families to engage with the early years and education system, and this has led to local sector leaders coming together to develop the support offered to schools.
The BSF team use data to identify schools which have the highest number of children at risk of exclusion. Local leads then build a ‘team around the school’ which caters for pupils and their families. These teams include family support workers and specialists in autism and children’s mental health, who work with teachers, children and parents or carers.
Teachers and families are supported by early help teams to work with the causes of behaviours linked to exclusion, which may originate from bullying, problems at home or past trauma. This approach aims to reduce schools resorting to crisis measures, such as excluding children to pupil referral units or escalating cases to children’s social care.
Professionals across Education, Health and Care map the reasons for non-engagement and using experience from across Sheffield’s local sector, help schools with higher numbers of vulnerable learners move towards the right evidence-based interventions and teaching support needed. The BSF team ensure that there is a multi-agency team around the locality of schools, with further support from specialist officers across attendance, inclusion, educational access and exclusions.
Beyond the School Gate
BSF teams go beyond the school gates to include parenting and family support at home. Over 400 families are currently supported through ‘transition pathways’ that ensure whole families are working together to support a child’s move from one education setting to another.
Routines, boundaries, and sleep support are offered directly to parents with follow on parenting courses, sessions and seminars to strengthen parenting capacity. Adult mental health, and emotional health and wellbeing of children is also supported through commissioned links with adult and children’s mental health services. The teams reach into the classroom and the home of vulnerable learners to offer holistic support, often dealing with whole family issues, such as access to employment, public health and community resources, grants and benefits and housing support.
Through Building Successful Families, Sheffield’s collaborative power is focused on raising attendance, reducing exclusions, and increasing both access to education and engagement in learning. As a result, more young people are receiving the support they require to be safe, settled, and ready to learn.