Multi-agency working is about different services, agencies and teams of professionals and other practitioners working together to provide services that fully meet the needs of children, young people and their parents or carers.
Schools are aware that some children’s families can have complex needs which may impact adversely on children’s health, well-being and learning. Schools are developing their role in responding to the wider needs of all children.
Schools are unable to respond to every type of problem a family might encounter but they are well-placed to identify potential difficulties and help them find the support they need.
Many schools are now working with partners to provide services beyond the school day. The teachernet Extended schools information includes case studies and guidance. Local consultation helps schools agree with their partners what types of services they would like to offer their pupils, families or the community. Some key services are briefly described, but schools are encouraged to offer activities or programmes that reflect the needs of their local community.
The holistic multi-agency approach to meeting the needs of children is an essential element of Every Child Matters: Change for Children. This means achieving better coordination of the work of agencies that traditionally have provided discrete services to meet different aspects of the needs of children, young people and their families. Refugee children and families will benefit from schools working effectively with local partners and services.
Develop the Common Core of Skills and Knowledge
The Common Core of Skills and Knowledge for the Children's Workforce sets out the basic skills and knowledge needed by people (including volunteers) whose work brings them into regular contact with children, young people and families. It aims to enable multi-disciplinary teams to work together more effectively in the interests of the child. Key proficiencies include skills in multi-agency working and sharing information.
Guidance on good practice in multi-agency working is provided in the Common Core Prospectus.
Build up knowledge of local services
Schools can build up their knowledge and understanding of the range of organisations that work with refugee children, families and communities. An awareness of what kinds of services exist locally means they can be effective in directing families towards them and can make information on local services available by:
- Creating attractive and well-maintained displays for parents with leaflets and posters about local services.
- Ensuring that parents and communities can make use of the school’s ICT facilities
Compiling information on local services. Schools can assemble this information in a format that is accessible to staff, such as a ring binder which might include:
- The name of the service
- The service provided
- Contact details: address, telephone number, email, website
- Opening times
Evaluate extended school provision
By evaluating extended school services, schools can ensure there are opportunities for all parents and members of the local community to benefit. For further information about multi agency working click on the links below.