Mrs S. Bidmead Mrs C. Roberts
Family Support Worker Assistant Family Support Worker
What is Early Help?
‘Early Help’ describes the work of many agencies engaged with children and families including health services, schools, learning providers, local authorities, voluntary sector, children and family centres, police, housing providers and many others. We are all engaged to in work that seeks to avert a problem developing and preventing difficulties from escalating or the deterioration of circumstances which could adversely affect children, young people and families. Early Help is about focussing on how we can help empower families to build on their strengths and develop areas where they need support. If we can get this right early on, at the right time, we set families up for a better, healthier future.
Our offer of Early Help
ALL staff recognise their role in ensuring safeguarding is always prioritised for ALL children. We believe that information sharing and timely effective support can ensure that ALL children and families get targeted support that is fundamental for success.
Families can benefit from support from a wide range of agencies. We recognise that other agencies will be able to support families based on their specialised work. Therefore, our role is often to signpost families to the resources that will best support their needs. Yorkley Primary School understands their responsibilities and as a school we will carry out our duties in ensuring the effectiveness of Early Help Services for pupils in accordance with the requirements of the Children Act 2004 and within the statutory guidance “Working Together 2018” and “KCSIE 2021”. In summary, these are to:
- Identify children and their families who would benefit from Early Help.
- Undertake an assessment of the need for Early Help, working closely with families.
- Ensure signposting of targeted Early Help services to address the needs of the child/ren and families.
We focus on support which significantly improves the outcomes for the child/ren. This involves the use of evidence-based interventions which are often led by our Assistant Family Support Worker: Mrs Roberts. We regularly use the support of outside agencies such as Young Minds Matter (if you want to find out more about this support, please speak to Mrs Bidmead).
- Share information on that provision which is consistent with the child’s welfare and with due regard to confidentiality.
Staff have daily contact with children and their families throughout term time. All staff recognise their role in identifying needs of vulnerable children and their families need for early help. All reports of concern are logged on the school’s safeguarding software. A secure electronic record is maintained as a chronology of concerns.
Our Early Help Approach
- Hearing what children have to say and using the ‘voice of the child’. The school can provide a neutral space where the child feels it is safe to talk; this could be with our Family Support Worker, Mrs Bidmead. Sensitivity to the child’s conversation is vital. Staff listen carefully to what the child is saying, validate their lived experience whilst understanding their thoughts and feelings. We support the children to co-regulate their emotions and value what they say ensuring safeguarding concerns are dealt with in a timely manner in line with the school’s policy and procedures.
- Hearing what parents/carers have to say and signposting support agencies. Remember being a parent is hard work and there are no instructions. Sometimes you or your children may need extra support. There is nothing to be ashamed of in asking for help. The school may be able to help you or signpost you and your family to other partner agencies such as Trailblazers, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services), PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers), the school nurse etc.
- With your permission and a signed consent to share form, people from different organisations working with your family will share information and work together to help support you and your children.
- If appropriate a ‘Team Around the Family’ or ‘Team around the Child’ meeting will be held. The family and supporting outside agencies involved come together to make a support plan. This is reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that progress is being made for your family and that the right support is in place.
What training do we receive?
- Designated Safeguarding Leads and our Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads undergo training every two years. All other staff members receive annual refresher training at the start of the new school year. New staff cover safeguarding training as part of their induction and safeguarding is always discussed during staff meetings ensuring confidentiality.
The DSL or Deputy DSL readily seek advice from the safeguarding partners in the event of a disclosure if necessary or if they are concerned about a pupil’s wellbeing. If a child is at risk of harm this information may be shared prior to consent being gained.
The DSL and the Deputy DSLs receive alerts from the safeguarding partners, attend regular safeguarding briefings and keep their knowledge and awareness of safeguarding up- to-date and at the heart of their practice at all times.
- Staff understand the correlation between domestic abuse and child protection – staff are vigilant, listening to the child and make referrals as required
- The school is fully engaged with the multi-agency approach and works as part of a multiagency group to support children and families, ensuring the best outcomes.
- The school raises parents’ awareness of reasons for out of character behaviours such as becoming withdrawn, anxious, continually tired etc. to increase their understanding of the correlation between behaviour and safeguarding risks such as grooming, internet safety, bullying, aiming for early identification of pupils at risk.
Identifying risks at the earliest opportunity
All staff are aware of the risks which may indicate the need for early help – this includes children who:
- Are disabled or has certain health conditions and has specific additional needs; has special educational needs (whether or not they have a statutory Education, Health and Care Plan)
- has a mental health need;
- is a young carer;
- is showing signs of being drawn in to anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups or county lines;
- is frequently missing/goes missing from care or from home;
- is at risk of modern slavery, trafficking, sexual or criminal exploitation;
- is at risk of being radicalised or exploited;
- has a family member in prison, or is affected by parental offending;
- is in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse;
- is misusing drugs or alcohol themselves;
- has returned home to their family from care;
- is at risk of ‘honour’-based abuse such as Female Genital Mutilation or Forced Marriage;
- is a privately fostered child; and
- is persistently absent from education, including persistent absences for part of the school day.
Staff understand that, where a statutory intervention is not always required, Early Help may be used to address concerns and support families to move forward successfully.
Support for pupils include:
- Promoting good attendance and punctuality
- Promoting self-esteem and confidence
- Promoting positive behaviour and positive attitudes to learning
- Providing personal, social and emotional support to children
Support for families includes:
- Attendance and support at school and multiagency agency meetings
- Liaising with a range of external services
- Providing information to services available in the local area
- signposting where appropriate.
- Being a listening post when things get hard, we all struggle at times.
In Gloucestershire, we are committed to working together and in partnership with all agencies providing services to children, young people and their families. The Graduated Pathway of Early Help and Targeted Support is our Early Help
assessment and planning process which provides an integrated and holistic framework to support all practitioners working with children, young people and families. This applies to the whole range of needs including:
- Social or emotional and/or disability.
- Wider family and environmental.
The Graduated Pathway supports a whole-family approach and is based on a simple Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle and has graduated responses.
Here is a link to the Glos familes directory for parents to access for help and support.
(Safeguarding – please see also see Policies under Key Information Tab)