School Home Support

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by School Home Support's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from School Home Support is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

CEO Jaine Stannard
SHS supports disadvantaged
families to get children in school,
ready to learn, whatever it takes
Founded in 1984, School Home Support (SHS) is a charity focused
on improving the life chances of disadvantaged children and
young people by getting them in school and ready to learn
– whatever it takes. SHS tackles the underlying issues affecting a
child’s learning, such as poverty, inadequate housing, and mental
ill health, thus breaking down the barriers to education. CEO Jaine
Stannard discusses their innovative work and demonstrable impact.
The biggest influence on a child’s life is their experience at home. If a child is facing
issues outside of school, such as a parent struggling with substance abuse or a lack
of meals and resources, they’re not going into the classroom on a level playing
field with their peers. SHS aims to positively change a child’s life chances and break
intergenerational cycles of deprivation by working with teachers, schools, and local
authorities to engage in early intervention with vulnerable families.
As a data-driven organisation, we judge our success through measurable, positive
impact. Across the school year of 2017/18, we delivered over 10,000 interventions
to children and families. Consequently, 73 per cent of persistent absentees improved
their attendance and 75 per cent of parents became more engaged with their
child’s learning. Our success stems from the wide range of complex issues we tackle
through a holistic, whole-family approach.
Frontline practitioners
SHS is a national leader in raising attendance and increasing parental engagement.
The majority of this work occurs through our frontline SHS practitioners, who are
stationed in schools and communities around the country. Although our mission is
to support children to be in school, we achieve this by focusing on parents.
»CEO: Jaine Stannard
»Founded in 1984
»Based in Stratford, London
»Services: Work with schools,
local authorities and other
children’s settings to provide
personalised support to
children and families
School Home Support
Highlighting best practice
With over 30 years of expertise,
we know that persistent absence is
usually caused by underlying root
issues occurring outside of the school
setting. When children experience
issues such as poverty, food insecurity,
domestic violence and housing issues,
they cannot possibly attend school
with a focused and motivated mind.
Our practitioners therefore work with
the whole family, finding practical,
sustainable solutions and overcoming
the barriers to school attendance and
attainment. We use proven strategies,
tenacity and resourcefulness to engage
even the hardest-to-reachfamilies.
There can be a range of complex barriers
preventing parents from engaging in
their child’s education, from negative
personal experiences when they were
students, to a distrust or fear of authority
organisations, or the reality that other
pressures such as housing, mental
health, food poverty (the list goes on)
are restricting parents from being more
involved in their child’s performance at
school. As an independent charity, SHS
practitioners are able to build trust with
families – and often become the one
consistent, reliable source of support
in that family’s life. We help parents
build their resilience, supporting them
so they are able to ensure their child
attends school as often as possible,
without our constant guidance.
Amid government budget cuts, our
practitioners found themselves taking
on far more varied work and the service
needed to evolve. Evidence indicated
that some areas were needed more
often than others and so, under my
leadership, we created five specialised
co-ordinator roles. Our practitioners
are now supervised by a co-ordinator
with an expertise that’s relevant to their
caseload, such as parental engagement,
non-attendance, safeguarding, economic
wellbeing and academic attainment.
Extending our reach: pastoral
In the current landscape of austerity,
school budgets must be as economical
as possible, which often leaves many
schools without pastoral support
for their students. Concerned that
teachers are not trained to deal with
the wellbeing of children in their care,
we spent several years creating our
pastoral development services. These
are low-cost training opportunities for
all school staff working with children
and young people and include the
opportunity for senior leadership
teams to disseminate our expertise.
Workshops and webinars focus on a
range of important subjects, including
increasing attendance, preventing FGM,
child sexual exploitation awareness
courses and safeguarding supervisions.
We help
parents build
them so they
are able to
ensure their
child attends
Low-cost pastoral
development services (online
and face-to-face) supports
schools and children across
the country
82 per cent of pupils improved
with their learning within a year
Intensive SHS support increases
attendance by an extra 46 school
days per year
Breaking barriers, building
We offer a range of voluntary services
that aim to build confidence and
aspiration by connecting parents and
children with our corporate partners.
This includes a CV workshop for
parents struggling to gain secure
employment, which aims to boost self-
esteem and skills and helps parents
to understand how they can use their
transferable skills to look for new
opportunities in the workplace.
Our corporate partners also volunteer to
host aspiration sessions, which involves
taking families into city workplaces
and demonstrating the opportunities
available to them if they’re engaged
with their education. Increasing parental
engagement serves to further a child’s
learning and reinforces the progress made
in the classroom, so these immensely
powerful aspiration sessions help motivate
parents to see their child succeed. We
have also invested in Ready-For-School
workshops, which in the past year alone
have helped 148 families in six boroughs
through the challenging transition from
primary to secondary school. We now
have a specialist transition practitioner
to roll this critical work out.
Overcoming challenges
SHS relies on voluntary and earned
income – but budget cuts have meant
that numerous schools can no longer
afford to employ us, despite their
obvious need for our services. Some
schools have had to cut the funding
for SHS, before bringing us back
because of the detrimental effect it
has had on attendance. Therefore,
for us to continue, it needs to be
recognised that schools are running
at their absolute limits and will be
denying students vital services without
To offer our service to more schools
and parents, we are expanding our
reach across the UK. We now provide
services in Bradford, Blackpool, Kent
and Essex, alongside our long-standing
work in London. For us to be able to
help more people, we need to raise
awareness of our service and create a
greater understanding of the value of
our offerings. If we are able to do so,
through word of mouth and building
further partnerships, we can help many
children who have been ignored in
sessions help
parents to see
their child
CV workshops help
parents we support
with employment and
Corporate volunteers give back by
hosting aspiration sessions

This article was sponsored by School Home Support. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy