AN “INVALUABLE” service which alerts schools if an incident of domestic violence has taken place at the home of one of their pupils faces the axe.

And school chiefs have joined MP Tim Farron in calling for the decision to close Operation Encompass to be reversed.

Under the pilot scheme, which was first set up in 2011, specially trained staff at the charity Operation Encompass collate reports of domestic incidents dealt with by the police within the last 24 hours and each school which a child involved attends is contacted on a confidential basis.

The school can then monitor the pupil and offer any support required to the child.

However, despite winning widespread praise, it has recently been announced that due to funding cuts, the service will not be made permanent and is to be discontinued.

But Mr Farron said the cost of the service, which he said was around £11,000 per annum for the South Lakeland area, was a small price to pay for such an important facility and has appealed for a change of mind by the agencies involved.

“We are asking for a relatively small amount to keep this very valuable service going,” said the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP.

“It is such a vital service for children who have often witnessed terrible things and who have had to endure awful experiences.”

The MP said he had written to the Cumbria police commissioner and the social services department to ask them to reconsider the decision.

Mr Farron added that the service was well used to the extent that he felt many more pupils than was previously thought were affected by the issue and said he feared this situation would only worsen if Operation Encompass was discontinued.

“The statistics lift the lid on what is an appalling problem which may be even worse than we thought,” he said.

Huw Davies, spokesman for Kendal Collaborative Partnership, which represents a total of 17 schools across the area, backed Mr Farron and underlined the seriousness of the issue.

“This is an invaluable service which benefits every school in Kendal and which I would be fairly sure every school has used,” he said.

“I know it is highly valued and to lose it for this amount of funding would be disappointing.”