Hartlepool New Deal for Communities
1. Evaluation Activities
2. Project Summary
3. Evaluation Findings
3.1. Milestones Analysis
3.2. Outputs Analysis
3.2.1 Duties of the Social Inclusion Assistants
3.2.2 Project Beneficiaries
3.3. Outcome Analysis
3.4. Funding Analysis
3.5. The Future of the Project
4. Conclusions and Recommendations
Appendix 1 – Methodology
Appendix 2 – Parent Survey
Appendix 3 – Parent Letter
Appendix 4 – Case Study
Appendix 5 – Teacher Letter
Social Inclusion Project – Executive Summary
The Social Inclusion pilot project was established in October 2001. The two year pilot project
provided two Social Inclusion Assistants to work in Lynnfield and Stranton Primary schools to tackle
issues relating to disengaged children. The project was evaluated before its end in June 2003, and
it was agreed that the project should be extended for a further 4 years. The extension of the Social
Inclusion project was approved in September 2003 and NDC provided £141,102.
The project was set up to assist in the reintegration of disengaged children into mainstream
education with particular regard to attendance, punctuality, behavioural issues and dealing with the
effects of children transferring between schools. Two Social Inclusion Assistants (SIA’s) were
appointed to work with pupils, teachers, parents/carers and external agencies to address these
issues. The two year pilot phase saw improvement in attendance and unauthorised absence at both
schools and it was recommended that the project be extended for at least 4 years to maintain the
continued improvement in terms of unauthorised absence and for realistic targets to be set for
reducing authorised absences. The extended project has a focus on reducing the unauthorised and
authorised absence of the small group of pupils considered vulnerable or ‘at risk’ of not making good
progress through their school career. The project aims to support the increase in family learning in
the Community Learning Centres, and to support the children affected by the NDC Housing Plan.
All milestones laid down in the appraisal were met within, or just outside of, the given deadlines.
The project also records other milestones it achieves.
Project monitoring data collected by NDC shows the success of the project in terms of exceeding
output targets. So far there have been 252 children benefiting from the project, 61 of these are
children from BME communities. 210 residents have received support from the 2 SIAs in post.
Duties of the Social Inclusion Assistants
There are certain procedures both SIAs follow to try to get children into school; however, the
background work cannot be measured by outputs alone. Getting to the root of the problem has
meant building relationships in difficult situations, gaining peoples trust and offering support in any
way to achieve the end result. At the start of every school day both SIAs monitor attendance using
registers collected from class and have a fast response system in place to combat absence. Both
carry out first day phone calls if any child is absent when the register is taken in the morning. The
SIAs also conduct home visits either where there has been a pattern of absence, when they have
been specifically asked by a parent for help and when a child is late for school it has been known for
the SIA to collect the child and take them into school. At both schools where there is a pattern of
absence and no sign of improvement, the SIA, having consulted the Head Teacher (who is the direct
line manager) may feel it necessary to refer the case the School Attendance Officer (SAO) at the
Local Authority. Upon return to school, pupils are further assisted by mentors who do not treat the
child any differently and help them to settle back into school life. Both SIAs offer rewards for good
attendance and punctuality, however, poor attendance often has deep rooted issues with home life
that the SIAs try to get to the bottom of in order to help both parents and children.
The main beneficiaries of the Social Inclusion Project are disengaged children and their families, a
case study on one family current receiving support from the Stranton SIA is included as an appendix
to the evaluation report. Due to the varied role of the Social Inclusion Assistants the project has
many secondary beneficiaries including Head teachers and other school staff. The SIAs work closely
with the School Medical Officers, School Attendance Officers and assist other agencies such as Social
Services, the Child Protection Agency, and Children’s Fund, CHAMS, Acorn, BEST, Victim Support
and other agencies to work to the benefit of children and their families.
Since its start in 2001 the project has continued to contribute to the long term outcomes outlined in
o Authorised absences have stabilised at both schools in the second phase of the project,
o Attendances have stabilised at both schools in the second phase of the project,
o Educational attainment levels have improved significantly at Stranton Primary,
o The SIAs have continued to improve the day to day working relationships with
o Have continued to support the vulnerable group of pupils at both schools, and
o Have continued to liaise with and make referrals to agencies within the community who can
help vulnerable children and their families.
The £141,102 of revenue funding approved by NDC was expected to last until in June 2007,
however, an underspend in 2003/04 and 2004/05 meant slippage could be carried into 2007/08.
The project has spent £114,193 as of quarter 4 2006/07, thus allowing the remaining £26,909 to be
carried into 2007/08, which is expected to last until December 2007.
Future of the Project
Following the success of the project, both schools intend to take on the salaries of the SIAs when
NDC funding ends (December 07).
During the pilot phase of the Social Inclusion Project, the schools saw a marked improvement in
unauthorised absences in both schools. Since then, attendances have stabilised but authorised
absence has risen slightly. Despite this, educational achievement levels have stabilised at Lynnfield,
and in Stranton have exceeded the Hartlepool average. The duties of the Social Inclusion Assistants
are varied and to some extent unlimited in that they not only work with children and their families
until the point where attendances improve. The work of the Social Inclusion Assistants goes much
further than raising attendance levels. The SIAs have built firm foundations with families and
agencies on which to improve relations and develop and understanding, in doing so promoting the
importance of being in school and the value of education. The additionality the Social Inclusion
Assistants have offered to the two schools is clearly valued by school staff, School Attendance
Officers, other agencies, and children and their families. This additionality is reflected in the schools’
willingness to keep the SIAs on after NDC funding ends.
1. That NDC recognises and celebrates the achievements of the Social Inclusion Project.
2. That the Social Inclusion Assistants continue to work closely with the School Medical Officer,
School Attendance Officers and external agencies where necessary to the benefit of the children
and families at Stranton and Lynnfield Primary Schools.
3. That the two Social Inclusion Assistants meet more frequently to share ideas of best practice.
4. That a new output be added to the project monitoring forms to record how many children
receiving support from the Social Inclusion Assistants live in the NDC area.
Social Inclusion Project
The Social Inclusion pilot project was established in October 2001 and received £70,500 of
NDC funding to assist in the reintegration of disengaged children into mainstream
education with particular regard to attendance, punctuality, behavioural issues and dealing
with the effects of children transferring between schools. The two year pilot project
provided two Social Inclusion Assistants to work in Lynnfield and Stranton Primary schools
to tackle these issues. The project was evaluated before its end in June 2003, and it was
agreed that the project should be extended for a further 4 years. The extension of the
Social Inclusion project was approved by the NDC steering group on 4 th September 2003.
The NDC provided £141,102 of the £147,962 the project received.
As the extended project enters its fourth year of its existence in which the revenue
support from NDC is set to end it is necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of the project.
The main aims are to:
o Determine to what extent the project has fulfilled or superseded its objectives and
to what extent it has contributed towards the outcomes of the Hartlepool NDC
o To make an assessment of the projects sustainability as it enters its final year of
The evaluation report is set out under the following headings:
1. Evaluation Activities – This will describe how the evaluation has been conducted.
2. Project Summary – This will summarise the needs for, and objectives of, the
3. Evaluation Findings – This will show what was found from the information
collected, looking closely at outcomes, outputs, milestones and finances.
4. Conclusions and Recommendations – This will briefly summarise the evaluation
findings and make recommendations for the project management, the NDC
education Theme Group and/or the NDC Steering Group to consider.
1. Evaluation Activities
The evaluation has attempted to draw information from a wide variety of sources in order
to provide the most accurate and unbiased account of how the project has ran and how
successful it has been in meeting the agreed outcomes and achieving its objectives set out
in the appraisal:
o A thorough review of the monitoring data kept on file at the NDC office,
o An analysis of the statistical data and management information collected by the
o Semi-structured interviews with key players, including;
o The Education Theme Co-ordinator,
o Head teachers at both Lynnfield and Stranton Primary schools,
o The two Social Inclusion Assistants,
o A Local Authority Department of Education representative, and
o Parents of two different pupils from Stranton Primary
o Parents of three different pupils from Lynnfield Primary
o Surveyed 18 parents/carers across the two schools.
The methodology used to conduct this evaluation can be found in Appendix 1.
2. Project Summary
The Social Inclusion Pilot project was born in response to concerns identified in the 2001
NDC Delivery Plan regarding the low attendance of NDC pupils and the negative attitudes
children were displaying towards school and education. Two Social Inclusion Assistants
(SIA’s) were appointed to work with pupils, teachers, parents/carers and external
agencies to address these issues. The pilot scheme was evaluated before its end in June
2003, and it was found that:
o 110 children in both Lynnfield and Stranton primary schools had been supported
between 2001-2003 (65 in Stranton and 54 in Lynnfield),
o there had been a marked improvement in unauthorised absences in both schools in
o there had been an overall improvement in attendance in Lynnfield by 2% and in
Stranton by 1%,
o there had been increased communication and liaison between the schools and the
families, so that teachers have a better knowledge of why children are absent, and
o there were increase numbers of strategies in place in the schools aimed at
increasing attendance and improving behaviour resulting in fewer incidences of
It was recommended that the project be extended for at least 4 years to maintain the
continued improvement in terms of unauthorised absence and for realistic targets to be
set for reducing authorised absences. The extended project should have a focus on
reducing the unauthorised and authorised absence of the small group of pupils considered
vulnerable or ‘at risk’ of not making good progress through their school career. The
project should support the increase in family learning in the Community Learning Centres,
and should support the children affected by the NDC Housing Plan.
The Social Inclusion project was reappraised and approved by the NDC steering group on
4th September 2003. The main aim of the project was to continue to employ the two
Social Inclusion Assistants to work in both schools to assist the raising of attainment at
Key Stage 2 through improving the attendance of pupils and their families. The main
objectives of the project were:
o To reduce the number of recorded authorised absences,
o Increase attendance figures to move them nearer to the Hartlepool average by
o Continue to improve the day to day working relations with parents and carers,
o To continue to support the vulnerable group of pupils who were at risk of being
excluded from school helping them to overcome barriers to learning through
supporting their emotional and social development,
o To continue to support the effective management of pupil transfer for pupils new to
the school and those who are highly mobile,
o Improve the level of involvement of parents and carers in both schools activities
and the Community Learning Centres which would open in 2004,
o And to liaise with and make referrals to services and agencies in the community
that support vulnerable pupils and parents/carers.
The project was to provide a benefit not only to pupils but to the Head teachers and
teachers in the two schools by dealing with issues surrounding bullying and absence
freeing up time for teachers to teach. It was to benefit parents of pupils in the two
schools by continuing to maintain good relations built up by the SIAs other beneficiaries
include the schools administrative staff, school governors, and to partner agencies such as
the LEA, Education Welfare Services, Social Services and the Children’s Fund.
3. Evaluation Findings
Before the pilot stage of this project the Head teachers and other staff at both Lynnfield
and Stranton Primary schools were spending considerable time talking with families and
providing them with support for their social and welfare issues. Teaching was often forced
to take a back seat as time and resources were taken up with counselling and mediation.
Keeping track of attendances was the responsibility of the Administration Officer. Letters
would be sent to parents on absence of their child, but administration staff were not in a
position to follow actions up. The high number of pupil’s moving in and out of the schools
was causing concern. These highly mobile children were perhaps the result of current
housing issues in the NDC area or eviction, either way, the time needed for pupils to
adjust to their new school could not be supported by teachers who had little time to
support individual transient pupils. The need for further assistance was therefore needed.
As mentioned, during the pilot phase of the project, the SIAs made many achievements.
Good relations had been built between parents and attendances at both schools had
improved. The extended project aims to carry the good work of the pilot scheme further,
to ensure that the additionally offered to these two schools by the Social Inclusion
Assistants (SIAs) was continued. While the extended project is a continuation of the pilot
scheme, it has been given its own outputs and milestones, and while long term objectives
still apply, new targets were set to assist monitoring.
3.1 Milestone Analysis
The project appraisal outlines milestones which must be achieved to ensure that certain
stages of the project are being met within the given deadlines. The pilot project achieved
all milestones in line with forecasts. The extended project was appraised in September
2003 with a new set of milestones, most of which have now been completed, see the table
Milestones Forecast Date Actual Date
Social inclusion extension begins 01/11/2003 01/11/2003
Quarterly monitoring report completed by schools and 31/12/2003 31/12/2003
returned to NDC
QMR returned to NDC 31/03/2004 31/03/2004
Annual review of project in conjunction with Dfes returns 30/06/2004 30/06/2004
Mid project evaluation 31/03/2005 31/05/2005
Forward strategy in place 31/10/2005 31/03/2006
End of project assessment/analysis in conjunction with 01/07/2007 Not yet
Dfes returns recorded
The following additional milestones were not a requirement from the appraisal but have
been recorded to show progress of the project:
o Dfes absence return Sept – Dec 04
o Mid project evaluation
o Dfes absence return Jan – Mar 05
o Dfes annual absence return 2004-2005
o Annual Dfes attendance report 2005-2006
o Termly attendance report to local authority
o Termly attendance report to Dfes
o Analysis of attendance by local authority
o Annual Dfes attendance report 2006-2007.
3.2 Output Analysis
In order to measure the success of the project it is necessary to look at the outputs set
out in the appraisal. The performance of the project is measured against these outputs on
completion of Quarterly Monitoring Returns (QMR’s), all of which have been returned on
time since the start of the project. The monitoring data collected by the NDC on the
Social Inclusion project, up until quarter 4 of 2006/07 suggests the successful
performance of the project, as can be seen in the table below.
Outputs Forecast Actual
Number of young people taking part and benefiting from 230 252
Number of BME young people taking part and benefiting 0 61
Number of residents receiving help from support/supervision 100 210
Number of jobs created 2 2
*The jobs created are the two Social Inclusion Assistant’s posts that were created in the pilot phase
of the project.
When measuring the success of the project by concentrating on outputs it is essential to
look closer at what the outputs are measuring, for example, what are the SIAs doing to
benefit pupils, parents, and staff, and how does this contribute to the long term outcomes
set for the project from the NDC Delivery Plan.
3.2.1 The duties of the Social Inclusion Assistants
While the outputs achieved by the project confirm the success of the project, they do not
give justice to the extent of time and effort put in by the SIAs to get these results. There
are certain procedures both SIAs follow to get children into school. Getting to the root of
the problem has often meant building relationships in difficult situations, gaining the trust
of parents and carers, and offering support in any way to achieve the end result,
improving their child’s school attendance. Both SIAs have faced resistance in the past
from parents and carers but have certain procedures in place to deal with persistent
absentees and other pupils who are a cause for concern and although the two SIAs meet
infrequently, they follow similar procedures.
Previously head teachers used to monitor attendance and conduct phone calls to homes of
absent children; however, because of often demanding schedules, only children on the
child protection register or children who had been a cause for concern would be contacted.
Now, and since the project begun, at the start of every school day both SIAs monitor
attendance using registers collected from class and have a fast response system in place
to combat absence. Both carry out first day phone calls if any child is absent, regardless
of their circumstances, when the register is taken in the morning.
The SIAs also conduct home visits either where there has been a pattern of absence,
when they have been specifically asked by a parent for help and when a child is late for
school it has been known for the Social Inclusion Assistant to collect the child and take
them into school. One parent praised this procedure
“If it wasn’t for (the SIA) I may have had a big fine or even prison
because she used to pick my daughter up every morning to make sure
she attends school because I had a problem right through her
schooling so (the SIA) has been brilliant and I don’t know what I would
have done without her help”.
One head teacher highlighted the importance of knowing where pupils are when absent
during school hours.
“It’s about being safe and secure so if they are not at school they
should be at home and if they are not at home they should be at
school…we know where they are all the time”.
Both phone calls and home visits are recorded for monitoring purposes. Each school keep
separate records, these are then collated on a quarterly basis and feed into the QMR’s.
Monitoring data collected by NDC shows that on average, Lynnfield primary are conducting
424 phone calls and 118 home visits per quarter to parents and Stranton are conducting
160 phone calls and 90 home visits per quarter, illustrated in the charts below.
500 160 132
407 407 125 128
Lynnfield 96 92
269 100 86 Lynnfield
300 226 69
194 Stranton 80 Stranton
200 147 147 60
88 40 29
At both schools where there is a pattern of absence and no sign of improvement, the
Social Inclusion Assistant, having consulted the Head Teacher (who is the direct line
manager) may feel it necessary refer the case the School Attendance Officer (SAO) at the
Local Authority. On average 5 children from Lynnfield are referred per quarter. Upon
referral the SAO will set a six week action plan whereby the parent/carer will agree to the
conditions of the plan, which can include that there child will have 100% attendance for 6
weeks (the timescale may vary depending on the case). During that time, the
parent/carer will receive home visits and attendance will be strictly monitored and if there
is still no improvement within that time, the SAO will initiate legal proceedings and
forward the case to court for prosecution of parents. The SAOs agreed that in most cases
the SIAs can resolve attendance issues within the school, avoiding the need to refer the
case to the Local Authority, but those who are referred can be focused on more
appropriately, leaving the SIAs free to work with other children and their families.
Upon return to school, pupils are further assisted by mentors who do not treat the child
any differently and help them to settle back into school life. As one SIA explained, pupils
can fear coming back to school if they have missed so much, but with the additional help
from mentors and support of the SIA, problems can be overcome. Staff are also updated
on different cases so that they know how to deal with children who have been absent for
from school, (see appendix 5). One parent recalled that her child had a problem with
bullying which was affecting her attendance but with thanks to the SIA this has changed
“(The SIA) has made my child happy and confident about school, she
now enjoys it and her attendance is almost up to 100%”.
Whilst the SIAs rarely meet, both have similar incentive and reward schemes for good
attendance and punctuality. However, poor attendance often has deep rooted issues with
home life that the SIAs must try to get to the bottom of in order to help both parents and
children. Both SIAs agreed there is often a problem with self esteem and confidence in
some pupils and offer one to one’s and emotional support to these children when needed.
Working with a wide variety of agencies, the SIAs are often able to get help externally to
the root of the problem before it escalates. Both SIAs have built up good relations and
regular contact with Social Services, the Child Protection Agency, Children’s Fund, CHAMS,
Acorn, BEST, Victim Support and other agencies. One SIA stresses the importance of
working as part of a team
“I love my job, I enjoy what I’m doing in every way, but you do
sometimes have sad times and you think about how you can change it
and who can you involve because its not all about what I do its about
who I involve and how we all work together”.
The work of the Social Inclusion Assistants is complemented by the family link workers
also based at the two schools, funded through the Children’s Emotional Wellbeing project
3.2.2 Project Beneficiaries
The SIAs are available to help and emotionally support the 312 pupils at Lynnfield Primary
and the 236 at Stranton. This is excluding nursery and reception children. Both SIAs
currently work 5 days (37 hours) a week. Whist not all pupils are NDC residents, the
proportion of NDC pupils at both Lynnfield and Stranton is approximately two thirds. The
SIAs suggest it is more likely to be children from the NDC area that are affected by
housing and deprivation issues which can lead to absence and social exclusion. When
asked whether the schools would consider targeting NDC children only, one head teacher
“…they are the ones with more social disadvantage, more problems in
terms of trying to get to school and who needs support but if a parent
requested help from outside and wasn’t from NDC we’re not going to
say no, but the majority of the time it’s NDC”.
While the number of NDC children that are receiving assistance is not currently recorded
for quarterly monitoring, of the 18 parents/carers surveyed for this evaluation, all lived
within the NDC area. An additional output on the project monitoring forms relating to the
number of NDC children receiving support would show more clearly the extent of support
for NDC pupils from the project. This is addressed in the recommendations.
In relation to children from BME communities, quarterly monitoring data shows that 61
children have been supported in the second phase of the project, with 4 of these recorded
in the last quarter. In total, 32% of the total number of pupils that have been supported
(252) are members of BME groups, and all of these attend, or have attended Lynnfield
Primary. As BME communities make up only 3% of the town population, this is a high
proportion of pupils. Lynnfield Primary is located in a part of the town where many people
from BME communities reside and over the years of the project, the SIA has collected
many children for school and offered support to families when needed. However, from the
18 parents/carers that completed questionnaires for this evaluation, all were white British.
The Evaluation team attempted to address this imbalance by directly seeking the views of
project beneficiaries that were members of BME communities. However, the Lynnfield SIA
explained that there is currently only one such child receiving direct support. The other
three children from BME groups that were recorded for project monitoring in the last
quarter include children that have been absent from school and have received first day
phone calls only. The Lynnfield SIA also explained that it would be difficult to contact
previous families who have received help as either the children have moved on to other
schools in the area or the families have moved out of the area completely. The parent of
the one child currently receiving continued support was contacted and spoke of times
when her child has simply not wanted to attend school through lack of interest. She
explained that the SIA has been easy to contact and has always been available to help her
child get motivated and has collect the child to take to school.
Whilst the Social Inclusions Assistants main objectives are to increase and promote school
attendance and punctuality and in doing so raise educational attainment, the way in which
this is done varies slightly for each SIA. The roles have developed into what they need to
be to meet the needs of pupils at their school. When asked the main reason children don’t
come to school, the SIAs suggested that it can be anything from genuine illness, drug or
alcohol abuse by parents, being victims of crime, bullying in school, divorce, to parents
and carers just not placing a value on education. One parent was a victim of crime and
was having difficulty coping with her ordeal, and the Social Inclusion Assistant, through
noticing her child was absent from school, was able to help her get counselling, and in
helping the parent, she was able to get the child back into school. Of all 18
parents/carers surveyed, all but one said their child’s attendance has improved.
The work of the SIAs goes much further than attempting to improve attendances. Having
spoken to parents and carers of children at both Lynnfield and Stranton Primary, it would
appear that the SIAs are well respected, very much depended and relied upon, (see
appendix 3). Improved attendance is often the result of building friendships with parents
and carers, gaining their trust and offering support. Of the 18 parents/carers surveyed,
the majority had known the SIA for over a year years, illustrated in the graph below
How long have you been in contact
w ith the assistant?
0-6 months 6 months - 1 1 year - 2 2 years - 3 M ore than 3
year years years years
One head teacher said
“…every hope has been achieved in terms of what we were hoping to
have. Yes it’s about attendance and punctuality but it’s also about
supporting parents and carers in sometimes particularly challenging
circumstances…this developed in the first phase but has become much
more embedded in the second phase of the project”.
One parent currently receiving support from the Stranton SIA stressed the importance of
being in touch with her and became very emotional when expressing her gratitude and
facing the prospect of NDC funding ending
“I would be lost without her…she has just done so much…she has to
stay because if she went everything she has built up would just
crumble”, (see Appendix 4 for the full case study).
Another carer fears what would have happened had the Stranton SIA not intervened
“…undoubtedly this little boy would have been a big problem in the
future if not for her assistance”.
A carer said of the Lynnfield SIA
“she really makes you feel relaxed and whatever you say you know its
in confidence…she’s helped me so much…I hate to think what would
have happened if I didn’t have her”.
A parent whose child was having problems communicating with her parents over their
divorce said that the SIA has been available for her child, she was understanding and
listened to what was troubling her in confidentiality and within a couple of months the
child was speaking about her feelings with her parents. Her social life improved through a
‘friendship to grow’ group the SIA had set up and while the child’s attendance was not
affected at this stage, her emotional state and attitude towards school was greatly
The Social Inclusion Assistants not only benefit children and their families, but also add
additionality to the schools by freeing up valuable time from teachers and other staff. The
SIAs also benefit agencies such as Social Services and the Child Protection Agency.
Through referrals, the SIAs, working closely with children and their families, can often
offer insights into their home life. Through home visits, the SIAs can often see the bigger
picture and have fed information into such agencies to assist them with their work.
According to the Department of Education, other schools in the area employ workers
which do similar work to the Social Inclusion Assistants at Stranton and Lynnfield Primary
schools and they believe that all schools, especially in areas such as the NDC area, could
benefit from such workers to engage disengaged children and to help them get back into,
and stay in, mainstream education.
3.3 Outcome Analysis
The long term outcomes identified in the appraisal which the project was expected to
contribute to are as follows:
1. To reduce the number of recorded authorised absence.
Using recent statistics produced by the Department of Education and Skills, it can be seen
the number of recorded authorised absences have actually increased in both schools since
the start of the second phase of the project. See the chart below.
Authorised Absence rate
7.0% 6.3% 6.4%6.2%
2004 2005 2006
However, looking back to 2001 statistics, before the Social Inclusion Assistants started
work at these schools, authorised absences stood at 7.6% in Lynnfield Primary which
shows over a 1% improvement between the start of the project and 2006. Stranton
Primary has not improved, however, both schools have made it known that the rise in
authorised absence has been contributed to by an outbreak of influenza and chicken pocks
last year. The Social Inclusion Assistants do work closely with the school medical officer
to track patterns of illness to ensure absence is for genuine illness; however, approved
holidays also have a negative impact on attendance rates. Parents have said that holidays
during school holidays are too expensive and the schools, using discretion, accept this.
2. Increase attendance figures to move them nearer to the Hartlepool average
The following table shows the attendance figures of both schools and the town average in
2001 – the year the project began – and 2006. It also shows the percentage change over
Attendance Figures and Percentage Change Between 2001 and 2006
2001 2006 % Change
Town Average 93.7 94.5 +0.8
Lynnfield 91.2 93.3 +2.1
Stranton 93.2 93.6 +0.4
The data in the table shows that in both Stranton and Lynnfield attendance figures
improved over the period shown. In Stranton they improved by 0.4%, in Lynnfield they
rose by 2.1%, and across the town they increased by 0.8%. The following table shows
year on year trends in the two schools.
95.0% 94.5% 94.5%
94.0% 94.0% 93.9%
94.0% 93.5% 93.6% 93.4% 93.6%
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006
The general trend that can be seen in the attendance data of both schools is that the
significant improvements that were achieved in the first few years have largely been
sustained during the second phase of the project.
Having established that attendances have improved in both schools over the life of the
project, the extent to which each school has moved attendances closer to the Hartlepool
Average differ. In Stranton in 2001 the attendance figure of 93.2% was 0.5% behind the
town average of 93.7%. By 2006 this difference had increased to 0.9% because the town
average showed a greater increase over the same period. In Lynnfield however, the
school’s attendance figure has moved closer to the town average despite the town’s
average having increased. In 2001, the Lynnfield attendance rate of 91.2% lagged behind
the town rate of 93.7% by 2.5%. By 2006 this difference had narrowed to only 1.2%.
Following on from these improved attendance figures, statistics from the Department of
Education and Skills show educational attainment at the Lynnfield have stabilised at Key
Stage 2 and at Stranton attainment levels are actually above the Hartlepool average of
pupils achieving the level 4 or above at Key Stage 2. The table below illustrates the slight
decrease in the average points score at Lynnfield, but a significant increase at Stranton, in
comparison with the Hartlepool average.
KS2 Average Points Score
28 27.527.4 Lynnfield
26 25.4 Hartlepool
2004 2005 2006
While there is a slight decrease of 0.2% between 2004 and 2006 at Lynnfield Primary, this
can be attributed to by the high number of transient pupils is that particular area.
3. Continue to improve the day to day working relations with parents and
Both Social Inclusion Assistants keep in regular contact with parents and carers of pupils
who have had attendance issues and have direct telephone lines for which they use to
speak in confidence. From the 18 parents/carers surveyed, all agreed that the SIAs can
be contacted at anytime during the school day and feel that they are able to talk openly
with them. The majority of parents said the SIAs were in contact on a weekly basis. Only
a small number were contacted at least once a month, or a few times a year due to not
needing assistance as often as others.
4. To continue to support the vulnerable group of pupils who were at risk of
being excluded from school helping them to overcome barriers to learning
through supporting their emotional and social development.
Monitoring data collected by the NDC over a one year period indicate that the average
number of pupils being continually supported at Lynnfield School is 13 per quarter, and 31
at Stranton. The SIAs do this by holding one to ones with pupils to boost self esteem and
confidence and generally being there whenever they are needed. The Children’s
Emotional Wellbeing project also assists this outcome.
5. To continue to support the effective management of pupil transfer for pupils
new to the school and those who are highly mobile.
Transience of pupils is a problem in both schools, perhaps more so at Lynnfield Primary
due to its location, as in Neighbouring streets houses are being demolished under the
NDC’s Community Housing Plan. At Lynnfield the SIA said that it is her job to contact
previous schools and often find that there has been a pattern of absence, but before the
child can settle in they are moved on again. The SIAs will still show the child around and
offer support for as long as they are there but often these pupils have a negative effect on
the schools attendance figures.
6. Improve the level of involvement of parents and carers in both schools
activities and the Community Learning Centres which would open in 2004
(actually opened in 2005).
Both SIAs have previously channelled parents and carers into the Community Learning
Centres, whether it is for educational reasons or just to gain an interest. One SIA believes
often parents become happier and more confident in themselves if they gain an interest
outside of the home which in turn has a positive effect on their child. Of the 18
parents/carers surveyed all but 5 reported they had been advised on activities at the
7. To liaise with and make referrals to services and agencies in the community
that support vulnerable pupils and parents/carers.
As mentioned, both SIAs have built up good relations and keep regular contact with Social
Services, the Child Protection Agency, Children’s Fund, CHAMS, Acorn, BEST, Victim
Support and other agencies. The SIAs also work closely with the school nurse and the
school Medical Officer. The School Attendance Officers agree that the SIAs are
“…a friendly face in school…parents, pupils and outside agencies can
approach to ask questions or to express worries or concern to…always
seeks to make pupils comfortable in school and refers to other agencies
for extra support where appropriate”.
3.4 Funding Analysis
The NDC approved to fund a total of £141,102 in revenue to extend the pilot project which
had already received £75,500 of NDC funding over two years. The £141,102 would
continue to provide two Social Inclusion Assistants for Lynnfield and Stranton Primary
schools including 20% towards on costs. NDC funding would also contribute towards
materials needed, call allowance and telephone calls. The schools would also make a
contribution to the project. This contribution would cover their workplace, the telephone
line and a contribution to calls over £200, stationary and postage, access to a PC and
management/consultation time provided by other staff, bring the total project cost to
£147,962. A breakdown of projected costs taken from the appraisal can be seen in the
Funding Item(s) Amount
NDC – Capital - -
- Revenue Centre Staff £110,927
20% on costs £21,764
Contribution to phone calls £1,411
NDC Sub Total £141,102
Private Sector (other) - -
Public Sector (other) Schools – in kind contribution £6,860
Other Sub Total £6,860
All funders GRAND TOTAL £147,962
This original schedule of funding was altered due to a slight underspend in the 2003/04
and 2004/05, thus lengthening the lifetime into 2007/08. The table below shows original
and revised forecasts along with actual project expenditure as of quarter 4 2006/07. It
shows that project expenditure is in line with the revised budget. It is therefore expected
that the project will continue until December 2007/08.
Year Original Forecast Revised Forecast Actual Spend
2003/04 £15,550 £9,717 £9,717
2004/05 £40,800 £32,661 £32,661
2005/06 £41,779 £35,161 £35,161
2006/07 £42,973 £37,000 £36,654
2007/08 - £26,909 Not yet recorded
Total £141,102 £141,102 £114,193
3.5 Future of the Social Inclusion Assistants
It has been agreed by both Head teachers that when NDC funding ends (approximately
December 2007), the schools will pick up the salaries of the SIAs. As the Lynnfield head
“I do think that just by having her it’s created additional capacity at
the school that we didn’t have before…so much so that we are going to
The Stranton head teacher agreed
“… (the SIA) has added so much to the school, getting children in that
would otherwise not be…we don’t want to lose that…we will be
keeping her on”
Funding for the two posts will be made available from existing school budgets. The Social
Inclusion Assistant at Lynnfield Primary has arranged to work 4 days (30 hours) a week in
agreement with the school as of September 2007. New contracts of employment are
currently being arranged with the Local Authority and are expected to commence in
4. Conclusions and Recommendations
A good education allows children to become equipped with the skills essential to fulfill their
potential and to access the world of work and other opportunities. However, children can
only benefit and make the most of their educational opportunities if they attend school
regularly and on time. During the pilot phase of the Social Inclusion Project, the schools
saw a marked improvement in unauthorised absences in both schools. There had been an
overall improvement in attendance in Lynnfield by 2% and in Stranton by 1%. Since then
attendances have stabilised but authorised absence has risen slightly. This is however
contributed to high levels of genuine illness. Despite this, educational attainment levels
have stabilised in Lynnfield and have risen significantly in Stranton, so much that they
have exceeded the Hartlepool average.
The duties of the Social Inclusion Assistants are varied and to some extent unlimited in
that they not only work with children and their families until the point where attendances
improve. The work of the Social Inclusion Assistants goes much further than raising
attendance levels. The support provided to children and their families is immeasurable
and whilst the main aim of the post is to ensure children are in school, they do not ignore
the issues surrounding absence and work with families, often involving other agencies, to
get to the root of problems in order to get the child back into school. The SIAs have built
firm foundations with families and agencies on which to improve relations and develop and
understanding, in doing so promoting the importance of being in school and the value of
The additionality the Social Inclusion Assistants have offered to the two schools is clearly
valued by school staff, School Attendance Officers, other agencies, and children and their
families. This additionality is reflected in the schools’ willingness to keep the SIAs on after
NDC funding ends.
1. That NDC recognises and celebrates the achievements of the Social Inclusion Project.
2. That the Social Inclusion Assistants continue to work closely with the School Medical
Officer, School Attendance Officers and external agencies where necessary to the
benefit of the children and families at Stranton and Lynnfield Primary Schools.
3. That the two Social Inclusion Assistants meet more frequently to share ideas of best
4. That a new output be added to the project monitoring forms to record how many
children receiving support from the Social Inclusion Assistants live in the NDC area.
Proposed Methodology for the Evaluation of the Social Inclusion Project
Why evaluate this project now?
The NDC funding for this project came from the education theme in October 2003. The
funding was provided to continue to provide two Social Inclusion Assistants at Lynnfield
and Stranton Primary schools. The total amount approved by the NDC was £141,102,
which was to be spread over a four year period until July 2007 (extended to November
2007). As NDC funding comes to an end, the evaluation of this project is now required.
The purpose of the evaluation will be to gather evidence on the extent to which this
project has fulfilled or superseded its proposed objectives and in what ways and to what
extent it has contributed towards the projected outcomes of the Hartlepool NDC
programme. It will also make an assessment of the project’s sustainability as it enters the
fourth year of its existence in which the revenue support from NDC is set to end.
The evaluation will be conducted by interviews with project managers, officers, staff and
beneficiaries to gain a full understanding of how the project has operated.
Information to inform this evaluation will be gathered through the following methods:
o A thorough review of the monitoring data and project files held at the NDC office
o Analysis of statistical data and management information gathered by the project,
o In depth, semi structured interviews with key players,
o These will include:
o The NDC Programme Manager
o The Head Teachers at Lynnfield and Stranton Primary schools
o Other staff at the school
o The two Social Inclusion Assistants
o Project beneficiaries
o Other people involved in the early stages of the project.
o A survey on other project beneficiaries including those identified in the appraisal.
The data collection methods set out above have been designed to gather information from
a sufficiently wide range of sources that a comprehensive and accurate representation of
the work of the project is produced. It will ensure that the achievements of the project, as
well as any shortcomings that it may have, will be investigated and documented. The
questions to be asked and the methods used to find the answers are set out in the table
How the Proposed Evaluation will answer the questions specified
Question Evaluation Method
Has the project achieved the outcomes projected in the Project monitoring
appraisal document? (Consider spend, milestones, information
outputs and leverage.) Interviews with NDC staff,
with the Project manager and
with representatives of other
To what proportion of the theme’s outcomes has this All data collection methods
Has this project contributed towards unidentified Project monitoring
outcomes and have the outcomes been affected by information
sources outside of this project? In depth interviews
What other achievements or consequences of the In depth interviews
project, above and beyond those identified in the Survey data
appraisal, have been realised?
How has this project engaged the community and the In depth interviews
target beneficiaries? Survey data
Have key stakeholders been involved? Project monitoring data
In depth interviews
Are there examples of joined-up working? In depth interviews
What interventions have worked or not worked? In depth interviews
Provide evidence of feedback from: Survey data
Users of the service and beneficiaries, In depth interviews
The wider target area community,
What is the extent of mainstreaming achieved, if any? Project monitoring data
Has there been any bending of the spend, re-shaping of Management information
service delivery, or more evidence of an effective, provided by project
joined-up approach? In depth interviews
To what extent has this project contributed to local, All data sources
regional and national strategies?
Have the existing governance arrangements of the Management information
project been effective and responsive? provided by project
In depth interviews
Have there been any changes to the governance or Management information
management arrangements? provided by project
In depth interviews
Evaluate the unit costs against the original appraisal Project monitoring data
Compare unit costs with similar projects and benchmark Project monitoring data
against comparators Review of other similar
How has the project been promoted? In depth interviews
What are the barriers to performance? In depth interviews
What lessons have been learned? In depth interviews
How will the project be sustained in the future? Management information
provided by project
In depth interviews
All of the data gathered will be analysed and inform an evaluation report that will be set
out in the following way:
o It will describe how the evaluation has been conducted
o It will briefly summarise the project, explaining why it was established and what is has
o It will provide information gathered through the evaluation on the questions outlined in
the table above. This may include some survey and other statistical data that will be
set out in graphical form.
o It will draw some broad conclusions
o It will set out recommendations to be considered by the Project Management, the NDC
Education Theme Group, and the NDC Steering Group.
It is estimated that this evaluation will take 3 months to complete.
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer
In completing this questionnaire you will not only be assisting Hartlepool New Deal for
Communities to evaluate the success of the Social Inclusion project, but you will be given
the chance to anonymously praise or raise concern with the work of the Social Inclusion
Assistant at your child’s school.
Please return your completed form to the school.
1. How long have you been in contact with the Social Inclusion Assistant?
6 months – 1 year
1 year – 2 years
2 yeas – 3 years
2. For what reason did you come into contact with the assistant?
3. Do you live in the NDC area?
If unsure please write the name of your street or post code
4. Do you feel the social inclusion assistant has been supportive?
5. Is the assistant available whenever you need to talk to her?
6. How many times is the Social Inclusion assistant in contact with you?
About once a week
At least once a month
A few times a year
7. Has your child’s attendance improved since being in touch with the assistant?
8. What benefits do you feel you have gained from being in touch with the social
9. Have you ever used the Community Learning Centre attached to the school, if not
has the assistant ever spoke about what’s on offer at the centre?
10. Do you find other staff at the school friendly and helpful?
11. To which of these groups do you consider you belong?
White or British
Asian or Asian British
Black or Black British
12. Are there any other comments that you would like to make about the Social
Thank you for your time, your cooperation is appreciated!
Mr. T. Wilson J.P
26 Macaulay Road
22nd March 2007
RE: Mrs. S. Wilson, School Social Inclusion Officer.
To Whom It May Concern,
We have worked very closely with Sue over the past fourteen months in regard to a little boy
(who we shall call Johnny for confidentiality purposes) who was placed with us due to his
mother being placed under Section Seven. When Johnny arrived he was way out of control,
this was mostly due to the influences that he was under from his mum. He was borderline at
school for exclusion due to his deprivation and violent nature, this being addressed many times
between the school and his mum. Due to her medical condition and poor standard of
education, mum was unable to see what effect this was having on the boy.
Johnny was placed with us under the child protection act and settled very quickly into home
life, accepting the rules and parameters quite happily. Unfortunately he did not adjust his
behaviour in school this resulted in us approaching Sue asking for her support, which she was
more than willing to give. Sue was well acquainted with Johnny and had been fighting a losing
battle with him over his behaviour for a considerable time, as she made progression with him at
school, mum contradicted it at home. Sue and us decided on a way forward, she would help to
monitor and guide him at school and we would start a reward and deterrent scheme at home.
This has worked very well up to now.
Johnny is now achieving well done certificates and is catching up to the standard where he
should have been. He can be disruptive at times in the class, but is 100% better than he used to
be, or so we are told by his teacher, this is reflected in the forty or so well done certificates that
In conclusion we have always found Sue to be approachable, friendly and professional in her
attitude to a problem. She is willing to offer suggestions and guidance in an efficient way
showing concern for the child and consideration for the parents/foster carers. We consider that
her post is important and would recommend that this post is continued for the foreseeable
Mr. + Mrs. T. Wilson
Appendix 4 - Case Study
One case which particularly illustrates the nature and extent of the support the Social
Inclusion Assistants have provided, and which shows the importance of the effective
referral of cases to other agencies, involves a young mother of 4 small children, two pre
school twins and two older children who attend one of the primary schools. Names have
been changed to protect the identity of those involved.
Approximately three years ago one of the Social Inclusion Assistants noticed the
increasingly frequent absence of two children from the same family. The children were
often absent more than once a week, every week, so after initial telephone calls to the
family home the Social Inclusion Assistant (SIA) conducted a home visit to investigate the
reasons for this. She met with the mother of the children, Sarah. At that time Sarah was
pregnant with twins and was struggling to cope alone as her partner had left the family
home. Often due to illness or tiredness she had been unable to get her children to school.
From this point on the SIA began to assist by collecting the children if they were absent
from school, and this led to a relationship and build up of trust developing with Sarah.
Over a period of time the SIA discovered that other issues were causes for concern.
However, having consulted other agencies, the SIA found these issues were already been
addressed and there was therefore no need for further intervention. The SIA concentrated
on helping Sarah in other ways such as ensuring the children were being looked after and
were regularly attending school.
In February 2007 the SIA visited the family as the children were absent from school. The
visit prompted her to request help. The house was cold and the children were keeping
warm by staying underneath a duvet. The heating was not working and the landlord was
reportedly refusing to fix it claiming rent arrears were owed. However, the family claimed
that rent had been withheld because of the heating problems, relations had become
strained with the landlord, and that they wanted to go into social housing.
The SIA contacted Housing Hartlepool at the families request and also contacted the head
teacher at the school who agreed the case should be referred to Social Services as
‘children in need’. Sarah also agreed to this, recognising that the situation was
unacceptable. The family were assigned a Social Worker. After investigating, the Social
Worker took on the housing/landlord issue and subsequently attempted to accelerate their
case for being re-housed. A meeting was arranged with Housing Hartlepool, which the SIA
attended along with Sarah and her Social Worker. Housing Hartlepool were able to offer
Sarah a house, ready for her to move into the following week.
Sarah was delighted to be moving in only four days, and at receiving help that had been
initiated by the SIA.
“I would be lost without her…she has just done so much” (Sarah).
Since the move Sarah and her family have made great progress.
o The two children attending the school have not been absent for over 7 weeks and
their academic work has improved.
o The SIA no longer needs to collect the children as their father, who has returned to
the family, is taking them into school allowing Sarah to stay at home with the
o The family are receiving advice and counselling on managing their money.
o The SIA has channelled Sarah into a Parenting Skills programme ran by Hartbeat
and Barnados which is a 10 week programme which has just started at one of the
Centres. This allows Sarah and her children to meet other families and learn skills
that will allow them to deal with various situations.
o Sarah’s partner is now actively seeking employment.
o The SIA has noticed the pride now held in their new home by the family and the
children are enjoying having a garden to play in.
“It’s like a different family… whereas before, because of the problems
they had they were trying to help themselves they just become
engulfed in all these … it makes it worthwhile” (SIA).
The SIA praised Sarah for her co-operation throughout. The SIA stated that without
permission to intervene, the situation was in danger of deteriorating further. Sarah also
praised and thanked the SIA for her dedication and support, and they remain in regular
This example provides an insight into the depth and importance of the work of the SIAs,
whereby investigation of absence from school instigated a process that led to an NDC
family being directly supported in a practical sense, referred on to appropriate agencies,
channelled into appropriate support programmes and eventually relocated.
As an NQT in my first year of teaching, Sue Wilson has been a great support to me
regarding a number of children in my class. Sue has been very easy to approach when I
have had concerns about particular children and has assisted me immediately in trying to
solve these problems. A number of children in my class have low attendance scores and
Sue Wilson is always very efficient in trying to combat this problem. She liaises very well
between home and school and I am always kept up to date with the systems that Sue has
put in place, for example with one particular child she put in place a beat the bell system
where the child had to be in school on time for a certain number of weeks and then they
were rewarded. This worked very well with the child as it motivated them to take
ownership of their learning and get to school on time.
She is also a great help regarding the welfare of the children in school. I had great
concerns over a child who always looked unwell and had very poor attendance scores. I
went to seek advice from Sue and again she was very approachable and eager to help.
Together we discussed the different options we could take regarding this case, and we
decided that it was best to seek advice from the school nurse, make a home visit and I
would keep a close eye on the child. Again Sue closely monitored the case and kept me
up to date with recent information. The child now seems much happier and her
attendance scores have improved. The parent also seems more willing to talk about any