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03 Mar 2021
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The City of Birmingham School work alongside the Central School Attendance and Welfare Service Ltd (CSAWS) which is an Independent Education Welfare Service that provide guidance, advice and direct work in raising whole school attendance and improving outcomes for pupils and their families across our school. We believe that through attending school every day on time children and young people will get the best possible start in life. There are clear links between attendance and attainment, raising standards, fulfilling potential and safeguarding.
CSAWS are involved in the direct casework of children, young people and their families and use assessment skills, knowledge and strategies developed to understand the barriers to school attendance, challenge parentally condoned absence, promote and secure school attendance.
Poor attendance is a major cause for concern for any young person and can lead to high levels of vulnerability. COBS and CSAWS maintains contact with the Education Legal intervention team (ELIT) through the running of the ‘Fast Track’ attendance scheme, which targets persistent absentees and can lead to fines for cases where there is no improvement in attendance. In extreme cases this can also lead to parent/carers receiving a 'School Attendance Order' via the Courts.
Each of our centre's has a 'Family Support Worker', (FSW), whose primary role is to liaise with families over a number of issues including attendance and behaviour. They are able to offer personalised support to families including one-to-one sessions with parents and pupils, group sessions, and an all-round support package for families who may want to access it.
City of Birmingham school has a very positive relationship with West Midlands Police. COBS Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) attends a range of strategic liaison meetings with the police and works closely with the 'Community Safety Partnership'. We work proactively with our full-time Link Police Officer who is extremely helpful when called upon and has assisted us in a variety of ways.
Since 2014-2015, COBS has taken part in an initiative placing student social workers from local universities in schools as part of their course. We have several students each year who contribute greatly to our safeguarding work. They are able to provide one-to-one sessions; complete 'Early Help Assessment' requests' and referrals to other agencies for support, and follow the cases through; link with outside agencies such as Barnardo’s and Spurgeon's; support parents where necessary; and gain excellent experience in a range of safeguarding cases.