Family Group Conferences (FGCs) have been used within childcare services for 25 years and have been recognised as the most effective process to date when reunifying children in care with their family. Can it do the same within Education?

When first used in the Southern Health & Social Care Trust in children services, it was noted that children who took part in the approach had increased school attendance significantly. Not only that, but it has also been noticed that they were more settled and that they appeared much more content.

The findings led to a year-long pilot project in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The Education Department supported the FGC Service to run school referral FCGs for children whose non-school attendance was considered critical. The outcomes were impressive. Attendance rose from an average of 63% to 92%, just 1% less than the national average.

Jim McGrath will take us through the model and process used, the challenges faced and the statistical evidence, leaving room for participants to explore the possibility of FGC use in Education using the full resource of family networks.

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