Vulnerable children in every school across the country will benefit from a dedicated school leader to ensure they attend and achieve, under new plans published today.

A consultation launched today will introduce changes to the role of Designated Safeguarding Leads in schools so that they have a greater focus on improving the academic achievement of children on the edge of care, as part of their existing safeguarding duties.

The proposals will specifically help children that experience challenges outside of school, which may contribute to poor attendance, poor behaviour and disengagement in lessons. This includes sharing information about how children’s circumstances are impacting on their education and supporting school staff to find effective ways of teaching these children and maintaining a culture of high aspiration for them.

The plans come in response to recommendations from the Children in Need review, and are aimed at helping the 1.6 million children who have needed help and protection from a social worker at some point in the last six years. These children have worse outcomes than their peers, and often miss out on education, being three times more likely to be persistently absent from school and two to four times more likely to be permanently excluded.

The Designated Safeguarding Lead is currently responsible for coordinating the safeguarding of children, making sure staff across a school understand signs of child abuse and neglect, as well as referring concerns to children’s social care when appropriate.

The Department for Education will also be consulting on what is needed for Designated Safeguarding Leads to provide this help, in terms of resources, training and support, to be introduced from this September.

The changes come following a review last year, which revealed children who need a social worker have worse outcomes at every stage of their education which persist even after social care involvement has ended. Children who have needed help and protection from social care services are 50 per cent less likely to achieve a strong pass in English and maths GCSEs and on average two to four times more likely to be excluded than their peers.