Schools are making a greater number of referrals to children’s social care services, according to new government figures.

In the period from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 schools made 119,030 referrals of pupils to children’s social care services. This was 18.2 per cent of the total referrals made, and an increase of almost 4500 on the previous year. Overall the total number of referrals increased from 646,120 to 655,630 (up 1.5 per cent) and the police were the only source to make more referrals than schools.

When a child is referred to children’s social care, an assessment is then carried out to identify if the child is in need of services (such children are referred to as ‘children in need’). Therefore not all children referred will ultimately be classified as being ‘children in need’. Of those who were ultimately assessed as being ‘children in need’ the main primary needs identified included ‘Abuse or neglect’ (53.2 per cent), ‘Family dysfunction’ (15.4 per cent) and ‘Child’s disability or illness’ (8.7 per cent).

Earlier this year the Department for Education (DfE) launched a call for evidence on how to improve the educational outcomes of ‘children in need’ and asked education professionals to respond. The new figures on referrals were published just days after more than 120 charities and organisations signed a letter to the prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer warning that children’s services are at ‘breaking point’. The letter, which was signed by the chief executives of charities including The Children’s Society and Action for Children, urged Theresa May and Philip Hammond to ‘put children and young people at the heart of government spending’.

The full data relating to children in need for 2017 to 2018 can be viewed at: 

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