Better and earlier support for children and young people at risk of school exclusion

Published: 3 May 2022

We are launching a pilot to transform outcomes for children and young people in Ellesmere Port. 
  • Innovative pilot RootED’ to transform outcomes for children and young people at risk of exclusion across three secondary schools in Ellesmere Port.
  • Mobilisation of the pilot will begin in the summer term 2022 with full delivery expected from September 2022. The pilot schools are Ellesmere Port Catholic High School, The Ellesmere Port Church of England College and The Whitby High School.
  • The pilot has been co-produced with children and young people and stakeholders across the local education system over the last three years.
  • Power2 has been appointed as the local delivery partner for the pilot through a competitive procurement process.
  • While the pilot is focused on Ellesmere Port initially, the ambition is to scale the model across the borough if successful.

Social Finance, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Power2 are launching a pilot called RootED’ to transform outcomes for children and young people at risk of exclusion in Ellesmere Port. The pilot is supported by funding from Cheshire West and Chester Council, as well as philanthropic matched funding from Porticus and Garfield Weston Foundation. It builds on three years of work by Social Finance and Cheshire West and Chester Council as part of the Averting Exclusions / Maximising Access to Education programme.

Children and young people who experience school exclusion are over-represented in groups with low attainment of GCSEs, those not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), those exploited through county lines and those in prison. Averting them from educational exclusion means that their prospects are improved in critical areas such as health and wellbeing and economic prosperity, and the strain on public services – and on their families – is reduced.

To address the status quo, Social Finance and Cheshire West and Chester Council started working together in 2019 to research and design a model that better supports children at the risk of exclusion. This involved in-depth evidence gathering through data analysis, systems mapping and co-production with children and young people.

Informed by the findings from this initial phase of research and co-production, the aim of RootED is to establish an early intervention strategy that brings additional capacity into the local education system. This will allow schools and other agencies to identify children at the risk of exclusion early on and support them in a timely manner that prevents a further escalation of needs. It does so through four core elements:

  • School Liaison Officer: Based around a cluster of schools and working directly with children and young people and their parents / carers;
  • Multi-Agency Forum: A regular multi-agency forum to coordinate statutory responses and allow for effective oversight of decision-making and safeguarding;
  • Directory of What Works: A coordinated and outcomes focused directory of services, that will improve understanding of what is available locally as well as quality of provision and how to access services;
  • Local response fund: Dedicated fund that school practitioners can tap into to provide practical support and spot purchasing’ of support for children and families.

Power2 has been appointed as the local delivery partner and will be working alongside Social Finance and Cheshire West and Chester Council to mobilise and deliver the pilot. This appointment follows a rigorous commissioning process that involved a wide range of stakeholders, reflecting the coproduced nature of the entire programme.

Julie Randles, Chief Executive, Power2 said:

At Power2 we’re firm believers in the importance of early intervention to help improve children and young people’s life chances, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Social Finance and Cheshire West and Cheshire Council in this vital work. We know how important a trusted child-centred relationship is to those struggling with their wellbeing and school engagement, and we’re looking forward to providing intensive support to children and young people in Ellesmere Port and helping to make the case for greater investment at an early stage”

Over the course of the pilot, Social Finance, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Power2 will continue to engage with a wide group of local stakeholders and children and young people to ensure that their voices remain at the centre of this work and inform it going forward.

Sara Parsonage, Director, Social Finance said:

In line with our co-productive approach to date, the pilot will continue to put children and young people at the centre to ensure their views are heard and their needs are supported. I am excited about the potential of this work to be transformative through being informed by and directly accountable to children and young people.”

While the initial pilot is focused on Ellesmere Port, Cheshire West and Chester Council are looking to scale the model across the borough if successful. Over the course of the pilot, the team will be focusing on gathering the required evidence to make the case for this.

Debbie Murphy, Acting Head of Education and Inclusion, Cheshire West and Chester Council said:

At Cheshire West and Chester Council we aim to provide trauma informed, early intervention support for our vulnerable children and young people in order to improve their outcomes and enable them to thrive. We are very excited to be working in partnership with Social Finance, Power2 and our Schools on the Averting Exclusions pilot scheme in Ellesmere Port.”

In parallel to the local pilot delivery, Social Finance is engaging with stakeholders at the national level to ensure on-the-ground practice and evidence is fed back up to national decision makers and across to others working in the sector. A key aim of the national acceleration work is to shift the national conversation towards focusing on early intervention to transform the outcomes for children and young people who are at the risk of exclusion.

About Cheshire West and Chester Council

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s 2024 vision is to play our part in building greener, fairer and stronger communities.

Working with common purpose alongside our residents, public services, and businesses, we will harness the strengths, hopes and dreams of our communities so that fewer people will be held back or left behind. We will also have a relentless focus on value for money, stretching our collective resources and innovating to make a positive difference.

We believe that lasting change is needed to: tackle the climate emergency; to see more children and young people have a better start in life; to create more good jobs; to have healthier communities, living longer more independent lives; to see more neighbourhoods that are great places to call home; and ensure an efficient and empowering council.

The changes we need to make the borough thrive will only happen when we recognise that there is more that unites than divides us. We will continue to build relationships with every community, family and resident so more of us can play our part.

As well as delivering great services, we want to reignite the traditions of local democracy, community engagement, neighbourliness, and voluntary action. We will be an even more open, collaborative, and ambitious council which recognises that the answer to many of our challenges starts and ends with the relationships within our communities.

By working together, we can all play our part to thrive.

About Social Finance

Social Finance is a not for profit that helps ambitious organisations and communities deliver pioneering solutions for lasting social change. Our mission is to be an engine for social change, by having big ideas and the know-how to see them through.

We create practical approaches that weave together communities and different sectors, starting with the reality of people’s experiences and combining with a deep understanding of the systems that surround all of us.

Through our partnerships, we build deep foundations to make sure the impact of our work continues into the future.

About Power2

Power2 believes there is no greater cost to society than unfulfilled potential. We work with children and young people at the margins of the education system or at key transition points to maximise their learning experiences. We nurture the assets, talents, resources and abilities all children and young people possess, looking beyond the problems they’re facing and towards their potential.

We’ve been a charity since we were established in 2001 and since then we’ve supported over 25,000 young people through asset-based early-intervention programmes to improve their mental wellbeing and reach their potential.

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