What's my job... School-home support worker

17th February 2006 at 00:00
No two days are the same. One day I could be working with a family on a child's attendance issues and the next applying to the school-home support welfare fund to buy a child an alarm clock or shoes.

In one family, I am closely involved with the mother, who is a single parent of five children. She has mental health difficulties and cannot leave home. The children were not attending school and the family was lurching from crisis to crisis. At the time the agencies involved couldn't help. I was able to form a good relationship with the mother to provide her with the support she needed. I also applied to the welfare fund to buy food and school uniforms and arranged a full-time place-ment in a nursery for the three-year-old. The children are now in school regularly.

Another child had a seizure in school. The parents were very protective and would not let the child return to school. I referred the matter to the school nurse, coordinated support for the child and reassured the parents their child would be well looked after.

Other tasks include completing complicated benefit forms for parents; accompanying them to hospital and other appointments and assisting with case conferences. I also liaise with agencies to share information and refer families.

Working closely with school staff, families and children helps me solve problems before they escalate. Families can be honest with me and this helps overcome barriers.

I'm employed and trained by a national charity called School-Home Support.

I've been working with them for seven years and love the difference we make to thousands of children and families. I can't believe I am doing a job which mostly involves being kind.

www.schoolhomesupport.org.ukVal Davies is based at Hillyfield primary school in the London borough of Walthamstow. She was talking to Carolyn O'Grady

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