I had a good meeting today with School-Home Support (SHS), a national charity which places trained, independent practitioners in schools to support children and families with problems like domestic violence, drug or alcohol abuse, mental health issues and housing problems.
Truanting and poor behaviour at school are often the result of these kinds of problems at home. Teachers often say to me that they increasingly have to double up as social workers. SHS practitioners can take on that work, leaving teachers free to focus on teaching.
Early intervention to tackle the underlying problem, rather than simply focusing on the child's truanting or bad behaviour, is better both for the family concerned and for society as a whole in terms of reduced crime, unemployment etc in the long term. By way of illustration, over half the people in our prisons were excluded from school - in how many of their cases did someone look at the situation at home when the child in question first started truanting or misbehaving? Far too few I suspect.
SHS currently work in 9 schools in Croydon, 7 of them in my constituency (the Archbishop Tenison's, Park Hill Junior, Park Hill Infants, Oval and Davidson cluster and the Courtwood, Forestdale, Greenvale and Selsdon cluster, the latter 2 schools of which are in Croydon South) and are keen to work in many more. I hope other schools will look at the services they provide.