Many schools will already know about the success of the Priority Families Programme and its new integrated way of working to support families in Nottingham.

A growing number of schools have also put staff forward for the free training, so that they can directly co-ordinate resources for families in order to improve outcomes, strengthen community cohesion and increase parents' engagement with their children's learning.

Strengthening the partnership between schools and families is key to improving outcomes in education and underpins the 2014 Ofsted schools inspection framework.

Some good news  

Nottingham has completed Phase One of the national programme. We have worked with 100% of our target 1,200 families - all have shown improved outcomes.

This means that Nottingham is now an early adopter for Phase 2 of the national Troubled Families programme (2015-2020).

We now have new broader criteria that allow for children and young people with behavioural problems; Special Educational Needs and Mental Health issues to be identified and supported; as well as young people at risk of becoming NEET.

The new guidance is 'interim' and early adopting areas have the opportunity to suggest different indicators and measures under the six key criteria and to influence national policy and practice.

Priority Families Starter Pack

The Priority Families Starter Pack has an updated checklist so that schools can start working within Phase Two straight away and help to test and shape the indicators for Nottingham City.

This comprises:

  1.  Accredited Practitioner list  - identifying your named key link and support for Priority Families
  2.  Priority Families Briefing document
  3.  Identification Checklist  - complete and return to the address on the form for any student and his or her family that you/your staff have identified for allocation of a worker under the new way of working.
  4.  Process map  - a flow chart showing the process for allocation of a worker
  5.  Frequently Asked Questions with links to the website pages where a full range of process documents, news, events and case studies can be found.

Further training

We need you to identify further staff for training with a view to holding cases going forward. This will allow us to better meet the demand for working with more families in Phase Two. Your staff who can be allocated as Family Partnership Workers will take ownership of this new way of working with families in your schools.

Eligible staff include SENCOs, Attendance Officers, School Liaison Officers, Family Support Workers, Parent and School Advisers, some teaching assistants and learning assistants (dependent on their role) and staff with strong pastoral roles. To be eligible for free training staff must have the Head teacher's permission to co-ordinate support for at least two families at any one time using the Priority Families processes and documentation.

Training takes place at College Street Centre, Nottingham NG15AQ. To find out more about the training dates or to book, contact pfid2@nottinghamcity.gcsx.gov.uk.

Free bite sized training will also be provided to use the web based online assessment platform to record activity. Schools are not required to produce CAFs and Priority Families assessments; they are both part of an assessment continuum and your new Accredited Practitioner will be able to guide your staff as to which form to use. Both assessments are recorded on Care First and quality and performance reported to the Nottingham City Children's Partnership Board.

Next steps

Identifying school staff to take on the role of Family Partnership Worker will help us to manage the increase in cases in Phase Two. Rather than taking on a flood of cases now, we will spend the next three to six months further embedding our way of working in schools and increase information sharing between primary and secondary schools.

Schools' link Accredited Practitioner can tell you more or contact Jean Faulkner and Carlton Ricketts the Accredited Practitioners with Education as a specialism at jean.faulkner@nottinghamcity.gov.uk and carlton.ricketts@nottinghamcity.gov.uk