Children in need of help and protection - consultation response

In 2018 we responded to the Department for Education's call for evidence on the educational outcomes for children of help and protection. We highlighted the need for collaboration between schools, social care and paediatrics to ensure children’s needs are being met across all sectors.

Although not formally invited to consult, the Health Improvement committee wrote to the Department for Education. We highlighted the importance of paediatrics in supporting educational outcomes, especially where children have disabilities and long term health needs, or where they are living in a socially deprived or challenging settings, and in the care of looked after children.

See call for evidence (PDF)

Our response

  • There is a very high prevalence of underlying special educational needs and disability (SEND) among children in need. Our experience is that the precise nature of this need is not always clear in individuals, and difficulties are often ascribed solely to the social circumstances when a more nuanced picture incorporating biological and psychological, as well as social factors would yield better results.
  • There is a strong evidence base for identifying and managing neurodevelopmental conditions in children in need.
  • A lot of therapies offered in school, eg art therapy, music therapy, lack an evidence base for this group.
  • Paediatricians play a vital role alongside wider health, social care and education professionals in ensuring the educational outcomes of vulnerable children and young people are met.

Our recommendations

  • Early multi-agency support is vital is maximising the educational outcomes of CYP (children and young people) who have adverse childhood experiences, and social deprivation. Support for these CYP and their families is the main way of improving outcomes.
  • Biopsychosocial assessments should be carried out on CYP in need, as should ruling out any underlying medical issues (ie neurodevelopmental ones) to ensure appropriate and holistic care is being offered to families and CYP. 
  • Early diagnosis should be a priority: it facilitates early intervention, allowing for better access to education and improvements in school attendance. 

We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting the Health Policy team: