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Embedding children’s services practitioners in local primary schools

A process evaluation of the Together for Childhood Grimsby pilot

Publication date February 2024

The Practitioners in Schools pilot was launched in Grimsby in November 2019. It is part of the NSPCC’s Together for Childhood (TfC) programme, collaborating with local residents and agencies to prevent abuse and neglect in families facing adversity.

The pilot provided primary schools with the support of a social worker and children’s services practitioner who worked for TfC. These practitioners delivered prevention work that responded to the needs of each school. The approach aimed to implement early support and create community partnerships that could address the challenges experienced by local families.

This report evaluates the Practitioners in Schools pilot to understand how it was put into practice and how it can be developed in local areas. The research was carried out through a series of one-to-one interviews with local primary school staff and TfC practitioners to gather their views and experiences of the initiative.

The evaluation showed that local primary schools were valuable sites for building community relationships and implementing early work to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Author: Claire Sloan, Thea Shahrokh and Stephanie Talbut

A process evaluation of the Together for Childhood Grimsby pilot
Download the report (PDF)

Key findings 

Understanding the school and its children and building trusted relationships helped establish the foundations for preventative work

Effective and open communication between school staff and TfC practitioners helped develop understanding of the school context. Understanding the needs of children and families within the school helped practitioners to meet these needs effectively. Attending the school on a predictable weekly basis helped increase practitioners’ visibility and build trusting relationships with the school community.

A clear set of principles helped practitioners embed the preventative work

The six principles of Together for Childhood - continuous learning, sustainability, co-production, strengths-based working, inclusivity and accessibility, and partnership – helped TfC practitioners embed preventative work in the schools.

The pilot co-produced changes in the school environment that strengthened prevention and early help activity

TfC practitioners supported change through:

  • raising awareness of prevention and early help
  • supporting staff with discussions around prevention
  • modelling positive ways of working with children and staff
  • connecting schools to locally available sources of early help
  • working with children to encourage resilience and confidence to speak out.
“They (the practitioners) give the children a sense of pride in where they’re from and look at the issues that they face locally and how they can overcome them.”

School staff member


Please cite as: Sloan, C. Shahrokh, T. and Talbut, S. (2024) Embedding children’s services practitioners in local primary schools: a process evaluation of the Together for Childhood Grimsby pilot. London: NSPCC.