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Team around the family in schools (TIS)

TIS is a radical, innovative and sustainable initiative to support Swansea primary school children.

Team Around the Family in Schools (TIF) stats

This is being done by coaching our staff in Team Around the Family (TAF) to train and empower primary school staff in recognising and tackling social challenges facing vulnerable pupils and their families at an early stage.

This boosts the skills of these staff members and school-based staff, and also gives the community confidence that vulnerable families are receiving tailored support from people they know and trust. As a result, schools now have many courageous conversations with families - and families now receive more of the right support from the right people in the right place and at the right time.

How did the project start?

In August 2012, we had more than 120 families on the waiting list for help from Team Around the Family (TAF). 

The target was to shorten TAF waiting lists meaning TAF staff could focus on supporting those with multiple needs. 

The vision was for school staff  to support vulnerable families early on to:

  • reduce the number of times families told their story
  • ensure the right support at the right time
  • exhausting all offers of support before referring to more specialist services.

The scheme that evolved over several years was Team Around the Family in Schools (TIS); it would see TAF coordinators build ability and confidence in school staff to allow schools to support families.

TAF officers hold regular meetings in schools to offer evidence-based support, advice, guidance, informal and formal training. More than 700 training sessions have taken place since the pilot project started in 2015. 

Training themes include parenting, mental health and behaviour, with a wide range of topics like domestic abuse, parenting strategies, child sexual exploitation, non-accidental injury and safeguarding awareness.

School staff now feel more confident to address family social matters which used to fall outside the school's remit.  So far, TIS has supported 607 children and their families.

Positive results

In year one of Team Around the Family in Schools there were 286 referrals from schools to the TAF and Family Partnership team. By year three, with dedicated resources now embedded in schools, that figure dropped to 88 in the first nine months.

The newly trained school staff were having a positive effect. A sample of 144 children assisted by school personnel in late 2015 showed positive school attendance outcomes for 118 (82%) of them.

TIS success has seen the TAF waiting list fall from 120 to nil.

TIS is achieving what it set out to do - empowering school staff to keep children safe and happy (and in school) and allowing council professionals to focus more of their time on children with more advanced difficulties.

A parent said 'TIS was my lifeline. Someone cared - and I feel very fortunate!'

The future

Numbers will grow in future as the scheme will continue to remain accessible to Swansea's 79 primary schools, including the 16 still to take advantage of TIS.

Team Around the Family coordinators are actively looking into adopting TIS principles to work with families of pre-school children. They are also acting as consultants to in different areas of the council looking to do likewise with families with children of secondary school age.

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