Academies Bill [HL] — Report (1st Day)
The Earl of Listowel (Crossbench)
My Lords, I support the thrust of these amendments, which are about the concern that, under the new pattern of arrangements, funding for essential services to schools will be depleted. This morning, at a meeting on child protection, the head teacher of a large secondary school in north London said that he would like to have a social work team attached to his school because it would make the world of difference. But he cannot get access to that resource. I have heard of other schools with similar resources, which they find extremely beneficial. It would simply take the strain off teachers who could pass that responsibility to social workers who have the relevant expertise and know-how to connect with the necessary services for the child. I hope that in this process we do not lose the push towards proper partnership with all the services which are working to improve the protection and safeguarding of children.
At the same meeting, the director for quality management of Ofsted said that his research at Ofsted indicated that a very important factor in improving the protection of children is seeing that there is a close partnership between schools, social care and all the services, including health, in the area. It is not just about tackling the problem when children are clearly in need. It is about ensuring that the mainstream services are thoroughly connected together and are all working in partnership to promote the welfare of children.