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More social workers for Christchurch schools

4 February 2005

Hon Jim Anderton MP, Progressive Leader

More social workers for Christchurch schools

"Four Hornby area schools are soon to get the services of a dedicated social worker. That's good news for roughly 600 students attending Hornby Primary, Gilberthorpe, Sockburn, and St Bernadette's schools," Jim Anderton, Progressive MP for Wigram said today.

These four schools are among 71 schools joining the 'Social Workers in Schools' (SWiS) programme nation wide from July as part of the expansion of the scheme announced in Budget 2004.

SWiS is an early intervention programme for primary and intermediate children and their families, in low decile schools.

Local social service providers employ social workers to be part of a support team, which can include public health nurses, truancy officers, and teachers who work with children experiencing learning and behaviour problems.

"It's difficult to do well at school if you're facing family and social problems. That's why Child, Youth and Family and the Ministry of Education have provided social workers in schools. They can step in to help children experiencing difficulties and prevent their problems becoming more serious."

Jim Anderton says the programme is paying dividends in schools where it is already in place.

"Teachers are finding that there are fewer playground disputes and previously disruptive or withdrawn students develop a renewed interest in learning and socialising.

"It's not just the schools and students who do well, but also their families and communities."

The SWiS programme expansion means over 300 low decile schools across the country will now have the services of 115 social workers by 2006. There are between 400-700 primary and intermediate students per full time social worker in these schools.

ENDS

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