Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) programme is one of the services offered by our Papakura Family Service Centre, operating in the heart of the Papakura community for nearly 30 years. Redhill Primary School in Papakura is one of our SWiS school partners.

In early August, we visited Miss Charlotte Castle, the Principal of Redhill Primary School, and found out more about the SWiS programme at Redhill Primary School.


The Social Worker in Schools (SWiS) is a great programme. We have been partnering with Great Potentials Foundation (Papakura Family Service Centre) on this programme for a long time. John Sammon has been our SWiS worker for probably 17 years since we started running this programme.

Social Worker in Schools (SWiS) is a school-based programme that provides support to our Tamariki, especially those most in need within our school community. John works primarily with children who are referred by the school if they need some support. However, we noticed some students would approach John directly during rest and lunch time and ask for support. I am pleased to see trust developing among our students, school community, and our school social worker.

It is not always easy to work with our community. Building trust with them is so crucial. Over the years, we have worked hard to explain to the school community about the SWiS programme and the role of a Social Worker in School.

Providing advice and guidelines is a big responsibility, and I think John handles it so well. He is approachable and professional. Our students and parents rely on John, and they trust him. It requires a certain type of personality to work in our community to deal with some tough issues and have courageous conversations, and John is that! Our school community knows that they can reach out to John anytime. They are always happy to connect with any new member who is introduced by John. Honestly, I do not know what we would do without John.


On a day-to-day basis, John offers support and assistance to the school's children and families with any issues that may be affecting the well-being of the students and their ability to learn. Starting from Term 3, John also runs a 15-week youth leadership programme called "Look at Me Now Leadership" for our Year 5 and Year 6 students. The programme involves activities and trips outside the classroom with the aim of identifying their leadership potential and building on their resilience.

We are glad to be a part of the Social Worker in Schools (SWiS) programme and partner with Great Potentials Foundation (Papakura Family Service Centre).


Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) is a government-funded, community social work service available in most decile 1-3 primary and intermediate schools and kura kaupapa Māori. It is a programme designed to support children to thrive at home and at school. A positive link between home and school is critical for the educational development of all students. Social Workers assist with various issues including attendance, bereavement, bullying, behaviour difficulties, social skills, advocacy and referrals to outside agencies.

At Great Potentials Foundation, Social Workers in Schools (SWiS) programme is one of the services offered by Family Service Centre. We currently have social workers in Cosgrove Primary, Kelvin Road Primary, Edmund Hillary Primary, Red Hill Primary, Kauri Flats School, Holy Trinity Catholic Primary School, and Papakura Intermediate.