Schools get social worker

IAN ALLEN
Last updated 07:14 01/02/2013
Diane Banbury
Emma Allen
Social worker Diane Banbury has started working at three schools in Marlborough; Blenheim School, Mayfield and Picton School.

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A family support worker has been appointed to three Marlborough primary schools through the Government's social-workers-in-schools programme.

Diane Banbury will divide her time among Blenheim School, Picton School and Mayfield School.

Mrs Banbury is employed by Presbyterian Support with Government funding.

She will be based at Mayfield School, and will spend at least one day a week at each school, providing extra support to children and their families.

"You can't dictate when a crisis is going to happen," Mrs Banbury said.

Social workers acted as an intermediary between schools and families, she said.

"I will be working in homes alongside parents and in schools for the outcome of pupils. It's a child-centred service."

The Marlborough schools are part of the second phase in the Government programme that started last July and aims to ensure that all decile one to three school pupils have access to a social worker.

Mayfield School principal David Nott said school social workers helped teachers address issues of child welfare and put families that might be struggling financially in touch with the relevant organisations.

"If the school feels there might be an issue at home we make an approach to the family to see if they want to see the social worker," Mr Nott said. "The support is not imposed on them. The family has to agree to have involvement from the social worker."

"The Government has seen fit to assist low-decile schools by providing a social worker and we value that service."

Picton School principal Alister McCosh said having a social worker in school was extremely beneficial to pupils and their families.

The school had previously teamed up with Presbyterian Support and Waikawa Bay School to provide a family support worker through the community organisation grants scheme, he said.

Kaikoura MP Colin King said the programme was a vital frontline response to preventing and addressing abuse and neglect.

"If we are serious about protecting children then we need specialist staff in the right place," he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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