Services for children

Social workers in schools (SWIS)

In July 2020 we were successful in our bid to the What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) team, to be included in the Social Workers in Schools (SWIS) scale up programme.

SWIS programme extended until March 2022

On 26 March, What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) formally announced that the SWIS programme will now be extended until March 2022 as part of £12.6 million from the Department of Education to run and evaluate programmes designed to improve safeguarding and educational outcomes for children with a social worker.

As well as an extension of existing projects, including placing social workers in schools and providing social work supervision to Designated Safeguarding Leads, the funding will also support new projects to support the educational attainment of children and young people.

Read full details of the programmes (WWCSC website).

Ealing Children’s Services and participating schools are delighted to have the opportunity to continue the partnership work in developing the SWIS model in Ealing.

Aims of the SWIS programme

  • The Social Workers in Schools programme aims to embed social workers in secondary schools to reduce referral rates to children’s social care (CSC), and reduce the numbers of Section 17 or Section 47 investigations
  • With the overarching aim of reducing the number of children in care, and improving educational attainment
  • It is hoped that SWIS will also promote better inter-agency working between schools and the children’s social care system. The Social Workers aim is to build upon and increase support already in place in schools, not replace


  • The SWIS scale-up programme is the continuation of a programme of work that began with three pilots in Lambeth, Southampton and Stockport in 2019. The results of these pilots suggest that the intervention is positively received, and has produced indicative evidence of a positive impact on case escalation in children’s services, resulting in a programme to scale up
  • It is funded by the DfE and managed by What Works for Children’s Social Care (WWCSC) and Cardiff University will be undertaking the external evaluation.

Nominated schools in Ealing

Ealing was asked to nominate 16 secondary schools to participate. The external evaluators from Cardiff University randomly selected the eight schools to receive a SWIS social worker, with the remaining eight schools playing an important role as the comparator group.

Schools selected to receive a SWIS social worker

  • Brentside High School
  • Villiers High School
  • Greenford High School
  • William Perkins CE High School
  • Northolt High School
  • The Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls
  • Cardinal Wiseman Catholic High School
  • Ealing Alternative Provision.

Schools selected to be within the comparison group

  • Featherstone High School
  • Ark Acton Academy
  • Drayton Manor High School
  • Alec Reed Academy
  • Dormers Wells High School
  • Elthorne Park High School
  • Twyford CE High School
  • Belvue School.

The Ealing SWIS team

The SWIS team comprises of one team manager and eight social workers, each working in their designated school.

They will be conducting statutory work as well as supporting the all-round needs of children and providing advice, consultation to parents/carers and school staff.


SWIS project management group

Representatives from schools and social care meet regularly to monitor the delivery of the project goals, identify and resolve risks and challenges to ensure the successful delivery of the SWIS programme.

SWIS project steering group

The ELP safeguarding and wellbeing subgroup have agreed to utlise their collective expertise to provide guidance and challenge in order to enhance the development and delivery of the SWIS programme and ensure that the learning is used to strengthen collaboration between schools and social care.

The Ealing SWIS core principles

Social workers:

  • Will be attached to one secondary school each and may work with feeder primary schools where a child is a sibling to enable a holistic assessment to be undertaken.
  • Should be physically based in schools as much as possible and integrated into the life of the school.
  • Will be employees of the local authority, and should retain regular supervision, contact and training from the local authority.
  • Should be conducting statutory social work as a focus of their work, holding cases and working with children and families from their link school.
  • Will provide advice and consultation, group work, 1-1, direct work, presentations to children, parents/carers and staff.
  • Should also work with staff in the school to develop a deeper understanding of safeguarding and child protection, and to increase mutual understanding of the goals and ways of working of both schools and social care.

Further information

See downloads below for further information.

SWIS pilot study executive summary May 2020 (WWCSC)

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Last updated: 04 Jan 2022