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Next phase of Social Workers in Schools roll out

Schools confirmed for next phase of Social Workers in Schools roll out

The selection of schools to take part in the next phase of the Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) programme has been completed with 71 being chosen.

SWiS, an early intervention and prevention programme targeted at year 0-8 children and their families in low decile schools, is led and financed by Child, Youth and Family in partnership with the Ministry of Education. It is designed to give early help to children and families in order to prevent problems becoming more serious and difficult to overcome.

“There was very strong interest from schools to be part of the programme, “Child, Youth and Family’s Senior Advisor for SWiS, Veronica Bennett said. “Over 180 schools applied and the selection of 71 out of these to begin in the next year was a challenging task for the inter-agency panel as the needs are very real for many of these schools.”

The selection process began in August, when low decile schools with primary and intermediate students were invited to register their interest in participating in the SWiS programme. To be eligible, groups or clusters of schools had to be:

- Decile 1-3 or at last 60% of roll in decile 1-3; - A roll of 400-700 primary and intermediate students per social worker; - 4 urban or 3 rural schools situated close together.

In the next phase of the programme’s roll out, 13 full-time equivalent (FTE) social workers will be established in the New Year, with a further 10 full-time equivalent positions to begin in July 2005. They will join the current 85 social workers in 220 low decile schools across the country.

These social workers are employed by non-governmental service providers, who have been invited to tender for the delivery of the service.

The SWiS programme will continue to expand. By 2007, there will be 115 social workers delivering services to around 330 schools.

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