Social Workers in Schools

Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) are seen as “awesome, nice, cool, fun, great” by children who use the service, according to a case study report conducted by ERO for Oranga Tamariki. This report, released in early April, is part of a wider research by Oranga Tamariki to assess the benefits of early intervention services including SWiS, a government-funded service provided in most decile 1-3 primary and intermediate schools.

There was agreement across those interviewed, that students who engaged with SWiS saw an improvement in their experience in and out of the classroom, and that this led to improved relationships with their whānau and friends, as well as teachers and other school staff.

SWiS typically used a holistic approach which was effective because of the engagement with a child’s wider circle and community. By focusing on the strengths in a child’s situation and creating a non-judgemental environment, benefits were felt by all involved and there was a noticeable increase in resilience in children who were part of the programme. SWiS workers help tamariki through multiple tools and techniques, such as talk, art therapy, special games and anger management techniques.

Results of the study highlighted the benefits were not just practical but that children felt more hopeful about the future and that parents felt positive about the future of their relationship with their child.

This report is based on visits to six schools with SWiS, who worked with children from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and who had a variety of problems at school and at home.