Surrey Children’s Services Academy will support agencies across the county to work together to offer children and families the best possible help and care.
The ambitious initiative is among the first of its kind in the country because it will be open not only to social workers but the entire local children’s workforce including staff in health services, the police, schools, early years providers and voluntary groups.
The academy will be organised into a number of “faculties” like a university and training will be a mix of classroom-based lessons, workshops and e-learning.
It will build on and replace the successful academy the council already runs which supports new social workers. As well as doing that, the new academy will develop staff at all levels throughout their careers – including those in partner agencies working with children and families.
The academy is key to the county council’s drive to transform children’s services and ensure that children and families are supported in the right way as early as possible to prevent problems escalating.
Mary Lewis, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “This new academy will help establish Surrey as a great place to begin a career working with children and move up the job ladder.
“At a time when there is a national shortage of social workers, the academy will help us recruit and keep staff so that our support for children is as consistent and stable as possible. Not only that, it will help make sure that everyone with a role supporting children in Surrey shares a common understanding and way of working so children and families only have to tell their story once.”
The academy is being launched at a conference in Surrey today and will start to provide training in the spring. It’s being set up under the guidance of Dame Lorna Boreland-Kelly, an expert in the field.
Dame Lorna said: “I’m delighted to be involved in setting up this academy which will help ensure that partners in Surrey work even more closely together for the benefit of children and families.”
Trudy Mills, Director for Children and Family Health Surrey, will address the conference on behalf of the wider partnership. She said: “We have the opportunity to learn from each other, share experiences, get support and build a more resilient workforce across the system. Residents only have to tell their story once which can only be a good thing.”