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The Children in Need of help protection: Call for Evidence

Analysis of responses

This paper summarises responses from the Children in Need Call for Evidence which ran from 16th March 2018 to 1st July 2018. The aim of the Call for Evidence was to hear from anyone working to improve the educational outcomes of Children in Need. This analysis explores the responses from the consultation using text mining techniques. The resulting insights into best practice in Children’s Social Care are further brought to life by direct quotes from the responses. In addition to this analysis, responses were read and examined by an expert Children in Need policy team. The Call for Evidence included 15 open-ended questions and 5 closed (i.e. multiple choice) questions (see Annex B for a copy of the consultation questions).

The overall response to the Call for Evidence was 642. Respondents mostly came from the education sector (86%), although a range of social care professions were also represented. They worked across the country and most were highly experienced (75% with over 5 years of experience, and 58% with over 10 years). Readers should note that responses are not representative of the whole population. For example, although a large number of responses were received from headteachers, they are not representative of all headteachers. In addition to the 642 responses to the online Call for Evidence, a small number of free-text contributions were submitted by email. These did not follow the format set out in the online Call for Evidence and were analysed separately by the policy team.

Key findings from our analysis of the responses to the Call for Evidence are:

  • respondents were generally very confident that they had a strong evidence base supporting their work with Children in Need, as well as effective approaches to building relationships with them. Over three quarters agreed (45% agreed and 33% strongly agreed) with the statement “You/Your organisation has a strong evidence base that underpins your work with Children in Need”
  • throughout the responses to the questionnaire, there were hints that expertise in supporting adults in the child’s family was relatively less well developed
  • the respondents priorities in supporting Children in Need to improve their educational outcomes were their well-being and their safety
  • attachment theory played an important part in informing the respondents support plans for Children in Need
  • according to respondents, effective approaches to supporting Children in Need involved building stable, trusting relationships with the child and family, and tailored support taking into account both academic matters and emotional ones
  • consistency of professionals in the lives of children was widely seen as critically important
  • respondents assessed the success of their work supporting Children in Need based on both the children’s academic progress and softer metrics such as behaviour, attendance and well-being
  • comparator groups were not universally used by respondents to the Call for Evidence when evaluating the impact/success of their work with Children in Need. However, it should be noted that this question was not widely understood by respondents, with some discussing that comparisons were not possible due to individuality of children