12 Mar What We’re Reading: March 2018
Early Intervention Foundation: Building trusted relationships for vulnerable children and young people with public services
EIF was commissioned to provide a rapid overview of the evidence on which features of trusted relationships are critical to improving outcomes for vulnerable children and young people, with a focus mainly on early intervention with children and young people who are vulnerable to either child sexual exploitation (CSE) or child sexual abuse (CSA).
EIF found that there is a strong logic for thinking that trusted relationships between a practitioner and a child can protect vulnerable young people, but as yet no evidence to support this. There is also a lack of high-quality research evidence on the risk and protective factors for becoming a victim of CSE or CSA – but broad consensus between research and practice on the features which allow trusted practitioner–child relationships to develop. There is also strong evidence for the effectiveness of high-quality mentoring approaches generally.
Science Daily/JAACAP: Teachers and other school-based professionals can treat children’s mental health problems
School-based services delivered by teachers and other school-based professionals can help reduce mental health problems in elementary-aged children, reports a study published in the March 2018 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP). “Given the limited accessibility of traditional mental health services for children — particularly for children from minority and economically disadvantaged backgrounds — school-based mental health services are a tremendous vehicle for overcoming barriers to mental health care and meaningfully expanding the reach of supports and services for so many children in need. Treating children in schools can powerfully overcome issues of cost, transportation, and stigma that typically restrict broad utilization of mental health services” said lead author Amanda Sanchez, MS, of the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University.
Social impact bonds have now reached ‘global mass’, according to the organisation that pioneered the first one in Peterborough in 2010. The Social Finance Global Network, which incorporates operations in the UK, the US and Israel, announced on 30 January that there are now 108 social impact bonds in 24 countries listed on its global database. Collectively, the bonds have raised $392m in capital to reach more than 700,000 people.
This report assesses the attainment gap through the lens, first, of children and young people; and secondly, of schools, as well as early years and post-16 settings. EEF find that the attainment gap is largest for children and young people eligible for free school meals, and those assessed with special educational needs, beginning in the early years and already evident when children begin school aged 5. The gap grows wider at every following stage of education: it more than doubles to 9.5 months by the end of primary school, and then more than doubles again, to 19.3 months, by the end of secondary school.
While the attainment gap has reduced a little over the past decade, it remains significant. The current slow progress in narrowing the gap means it will persist for decades. Even small improvements in young people’s GCSE qualifications yield significant increases in their lifetime productivity returns and in national wealth – highlighting the importance of continuing to focus on improving results for currently low-attaining pupils.
SchoolsWeek: Performance data on EAL pupils is ‘profoundly misleading’, warns Education Policy Institute
According to 2016 figures from the Department for Education, EAL pupils achieved similar attainment scores to the national average and better than average progress during school. They were also more likely to achieve the English Baccalaureate than those with English as a first language. However, the EPI’s report ‘Educational Outcomes of Children with English as an Additional Language’ warns this “obscures significant disparities in performance” due to the differences between different groups classed as EAL. EAL pupils are “extremely heterogeneous” and range from British citizens who speak another language at home to refugees fleeing war zones. Key elements affecting attainment include pupils’ first languages, the point at which they arrived in the English school system, and prior educational and life experiences.