Family Support Worker

My name is Karen Bates and I would like to introduce myself as the new Family Support Worker at Toftwood Infant and Junior Schools.

This is not a new role to the school and some of you may already have heard about it but I thought it might be helpful to set out what the role is and how it might help you and your child/children.

What is a Family Support Worker [FSW]?

The earlier we can provide support where it is needed, the better able your child will be to settle into school life.  My role is to offer this early support and advice so that your child can get the most out of, and enjoy, their time at school.

However, we also know that sometimes things happen at home or in the wider family which can impact a child and other family members. Issues such as illness, bereavement, redundancy, eviction or a family member with additional needs or disabilities. We are here to support the whole family and if we can’t, we will help find someone who can. 

How does it work?

I might give you a call and have a chat if something has cropped up in school and we think some additional support or advice might be helpful. Or you can contact me if there is something you want to talk through with someone and you aren’t quite sure where to start. I work on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays across both sites. I am also happy for you to catch me if I am at the school gate in the morning or afternoon.

What kind of things might parents need support with?

The kind of things parents might need some early stage support with are wide and varied. The issues may be financial, they may be to do with your child not sleeping or not eating or there may be family illness or bereavement. Whatever the issues are, support begins with a conversation. We can’t help if we don’t know, so please do not hesitate to use this support service.

For many people at the moment, life is tougher than it has ever been and we understand that and want to help.

Will the information be confidential?

It is important that the team of people looking after your child has information that will help them to understand why your child might be particularly upset or ‘out of sorts’. Information is shared on a need to know basis.

It is important that you understand that if staff are concerned about the safety of a child, they are duty bound to share this information with other agencies.

If you have something you would like some advice or support with you can either email me at and I will respond as soon as I can. If you want to speak with me please ring the junior school in the first instance. My extension number there is 101 and if I am not at my desk, leave a voicemail and I will get back to you on my next working day.