Early intervention pilot for children and young people at risk of school exclusion

Published: 22 September 2022

  • The new RootED pilot scheme builds on three years of research and systems mapping, aiming to prioritise early intervention to transform outcomes for children and young people at the risk of exclusion in Ellesmere Port. 
  • The model provides additional capacity at key points in the local education system to create maximum impact. 
  • The service, launched in the summer term 2022, is now supporting children and young people in each of the pilot schools. The service will develop to provide full support over the course of the autumn term. 

The RootED partners have been working to prepare for the new academic year and are excited to be delivering direct support to children and young people in three pilot schools in Ellesmere Port. This innovative scheme provides early intervention in the lives of children and young people at risk of exclusion. The ambition of the partners – Social Finance, Cheshire West and Chester council and Power2 – is to create additional capacity at key points in the local education system to ensure timely and holistic intervention for the child or young person, supporting them to feel healthier, empowered, more resilient and ultimately to realise their potential. 

The RootEd model builds on three years of partnership, including the publication of the Who’s at risk of exclusion and It’s Time to ACT reports. The latter revealed that since the re-opening of schools after lockdowns, the number of pupils that were persistently absent (including absences unrelated to Covid) has increased by a quarter. In response, the model employs an early identification tool to highlight this and other warning signs that a child or young person may be at risk of exclusion.

The pilot has made a promising start, with 45 referrals being made since its launch in the summer term. It is currently being implemented in Ellesmere Port Church of England College, Ellesmere Port Catholic High School and The Whitby High School, and teachers are incredibly supportive. 

The RootEd partners are committed to helping schools and other agencies to identify children at risk of exclusion, and the best course of action to support their needs. To do this, Power2’s Programme Leads will be based in each of the pilot schools, providing intensive support to identified children. This will help ensure that no child falls through the cracks, allowing them to get the support they need. 

As the year progresses, the model will continue to roll out with the introduction of a coordinated Multi-Agency Forum; a directory of quality assured service providers with a built-in triage tool that helps users to find the right service for the child’s needs; and a local response fund that school practitioners can tap into to provide practical support and spot purchasing’ of support for children and families. While the pilot is focused on Ellesmere Port initially, the ambition is to scale the model across the borough and other localities.

The RootED partners are excited to share learnings and continue to contribute to a national conversation around school exclusion, which seeks alternative ways to address the issue. 

Michelle Farrell-Ball, Power2 Multi-Agency Forum and Directory co-ordinator, said: 

I am delighted to have joined Power2 to help deliver our pilot focused on increasing access to education. 

Power2 has a strong track record in identifying children and young people most at risk of exclusion, supporting them to improve attendance, have overall better mental health and well-being and encouraging positive engagement within the school community. The pilot will build on this alongside supporting the child’s family and working across multiple agencies, thus allowing for a whole child’ approach to the work.” 

For more information and if you have any questions about RootED, please get in touch at SFeducation@socialfinance.org.uk

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