By Dr Julie Llewelyn - High Sheriff of Surrey 2021-22
Following the theme of ‘Every child included’ with the focus on keeping our young people in school by providing them with the right support at the right time my first visit was to Spelthorne. Spelthorne has significant pockets of deprivation alongside some much more affluent areas. Returning to school following the pandemic is posing a very significant challenge for many young people who did not fully engage with online learning during the lockdowns. ThamesMead school in Shepperton is leading the way in the Borough with their Inclusion Unit where they work with their students to identify issues early and make sure they have the support they need. Early intervention is key to prevent all sorts of bigger school related issues happening later.
If a young person hasn’t had the early help they need and starts to miss a lot of school they often fall into antisocial behaviour and become involved with county lines. The local Youth Engagement Officier and the team at the Family Services are really busy doing all they can to help these young people and demand is enormous as Surrey emerges from the pandemic.