Revisiting social workers in schools (SWIS) – making the case for safeguarding in context and the potential for reach

Rafter, Jennifer (2022) Revisiting social workers in schools (SWIS) – making the case for safeguarding in context and the potential for reach. Journal of Children's Services. ISSN 2042-8677

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Purpose- Recently, there have been renewed calls to place social workers in schools. Although these are not unchartered waters, contextual understandings of safeguarding have reaffirmed the centrality of schools in the lives of young people and keeping them safe. Yet, schools can only do so much to support young people. Safeguarding practice reviews continue to highlight the shortcomings of contextless assessment. This paper aims to make the case for a broader approach to safeguarding practice by placing social workers in schools. Design/methodology/approach- A scoping review was undertaken to elicit social workers in schools (SWIS) literature from the UK, as well as international examples. Keyword searches revealed a lack of consensus on shared/agreement terminology for SWIS. The literature was organised thematically, as a mechanism to open up the extent, range and nature of research activity in relation to SWIS. Findings- Findings are presented in three themes: misunderstandings of SWIS – what do they actually do?; micro versus macro interventions; and the concept of reach. Research limitations/implications- The main implications of this study are to sharpen the focus on the centrality of schools in the lives of children and young people; to expand school-based initiatives as a way to reach young people at risk; to re-centre practice to local, community orientation with an emphasis on early help; and to bring together pockets of good practice and learn from successful partnership models. Originality/value- Little attempt has been made to contemplate the past and present and rethread school-based initiatives. There is an absence of attention afforded to the theoretical foundations of SWIS. This paper identifies a gap in interest from the early iterations of SWIS, with a recent upsurgence in attention.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Safeguarding, Schools, Reach, School-based social work, Social work in schools, Soclal worker in schools, School-based practice
Faculty: Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine & Social Care
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2022 10:49
Last Modified: 31 May 2022 16:18

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