Vulnerable Children and Families 2015

1Executive Summary


A number of stakeholders requested a JSNA focusing on vulnerable children and families in Cambridgeshire.  Children can experience many adverse ‘risk factors’ relating to a health, family or environment. These risk factors rarely occur in isolation and can combine to lead to relatively poor outcomes later in life.

Establishing which children face different combinations of these risk factors would allow for a whole range of services to be better targeted and coordinated to improve positive outcomes later in life.

This is a particular issue in Cambridgeshire as we know that children growing up in poverty achieve less well than almost anywhere else in the country[1].  There is much work underway to address this and it is described in ‘Accelerating the achievement of vulnerable groups of children and young people within Cambridgeshire 2014-16’.  This analysis supports the continued implementation of that strategy.


This study is different in style from previous JSNAs and focuses on answering the following questions:

  1. Using the data we have access to, can we identify children and young people in Cambridgeshire who have risk factors which make them potentially vulnerable to poor educational outcomes and understand what services they are in contact with?
  1. How are vulnerability factors spread across Cambridgeshire geographically and what do the key findings from this work mean for commissioners?

In attempting to answer question a) the study sought to bring together data about individuals to understand better how risk factors combine. Access to data that enabled the identification and combining of risk factors at an individual level proved to be a limiting factor however, leading to the JSNA being narrower in focus than originally envisaged. It does however make recommendations to enable a more complete analysis to be undertaken in the future.  The study does combine data on attainment, County Council service use, free school meals and deprivation to build a partial picture of factors associated with poor educational attainment. We also combine this with information about other factors which influence outcomes for children and young people and draw conclusions and recommendations for commissioners.

Poor levels of attainment are nationally agreed levels of attainment, and at KS2 and KS3/4 this is in both English and Maths. The assessments at KS2 are externally marked assessments, which are used for national reporting purposes. The other stage assessments are based on un-moderated teacher assessments. Good levels of attainment are those children who achieve these levels of attainment.

[1] Accelerating the achievement of vulnerable groups of children and young people within Cambridgeshire 2014-16.