Student & family support service (SAFS)

Student & Family Support (SAFS)

Commissioned by B&NES Council to support primary and secondary students to engage positively in mainstream education

The Student and Family Support Service (SAFS) provides students, their families and schools with individualised packages of support to reintegrate pupils back into school following a Managed Move or Fair Access to School arrangement. This may be needed for a variety of reasons, including mental health, poor attendance and behavioural issues, following a period of home education or a period with the hospital education service.

This student-focused service has a key role to play in narrowing the gap and reducing inequalities in outcomes for local children and young people facing significant challenges.

Mentoring Plus’ service model was designed in consultation with our Youth Reps advocacy group, parents and local teachers. Our Youth Reps believe the service will support their ambition to develop a kinder education for local students facing challenges.


Mentoring Plus are commissioned by Bath & NE Somerset Council to deliver this service from 1st September 2018 to August 2021, in partnership with Brighter Futures and Bath Spa University Institute for Education.

Approximately 100 students are directly supported by our SAFS team each academic year, with up to 36 students any one time.

How does SAFS work?


Mentoring Plus helps students by providing a skilled Mentoring Practitioner to support their transition back into mainstream education over an initial 16-week period. They work with the student and develop an intervention that can enable them to re-engage in their education. Students can also access additional positive activities through Mentoring Plus to support their continued engagement with education.


Families of SAFS students access support from the Mentoring Practitioner throughout the period, alongside ongoing monthly access to our Parents Plus support group starting within the first academic year of service provision.


Schools benefit from support and coordination from the Mentoring Practitioner during the period, alongside additional professional development opportunities accessed via the B&NES Behaviour and Attendance Panels.

Our partners

Brighter Futures ensure high quality professional development and support for both the SAFS team and teachers supporting students referred to the service.

Bath Spa University provide aspirational on-campus activities for SAFS students, alongside trained and supervised peer mentors from their education degree courses.

How SAFS helps

SAFS is child and young person centred and outcome focused.  It is commissioned to achieve the following outcomes: 

  • Students reintegrate successfully back into school and attend regularly
  • Pupils are motivated and engaged in their education, increasingly enjoying learning with confidence
  • Pupils are fully involved and informed regarding their intervention
  • Parents/carers are supported and positively engaged with the SAFS service, their child’s education and school
  • Pupils have improved emotional wellbeing and resilience.

Supporting schools is an important aspect of SAFS:

  • Schools develop strategies for supporting individual children/young people to sustain their attendance and positive engagement with school
  • Schools build capacity to support children and young people who may have been disaffected with their education.

Supporting schools

In addition to individual student help, SAFS supports schools across B&NES through professional development opportunities in support of students facing significant challenges. Free training opportunities are delivered in partnership with Brighter Futures, and made available via the B&NES Behaviour and Attendance Panels. Over the three-year life-cycle of the commission are developing a library of resources in support of this training programme to publish online.

Referral process

Referrals for the service are submitted by schools via the B&NES Behaviour and Attendance Panels. Students may be eligible for the service if they meet the following criteria:

  • Students in a Managed Move arrangement
  • Students eligible for Fair Access support
  • Students reintegrating into education.

Parents or careers keen to access the service for their child should contact their school directly.

Schools wishing to refer through the Panels should contact Debbie Durnell at B&NES Council. 

SAFS team contact details:

Head of Practice – Kev Long

Senior Practitioner – Karen George

SAFS Mentoring Practitioners – Anna Brownell and Bunny Geraghty

More about the SAFS team

Mentoring Plus office number: 01225 429694