What Is Early Help?
Early Help it is an approach we use and not a service.
- Hearing what children have to say and using the voice of the child. The school can provide a neutral place where the child feels it is safe to talk. Sensitivity to the child’s conversation is vital. Staff listen carefully to what the child is saying, attune themselves (take on board how the child is feeling), validate that feeling (being alert to the child’s lived experience), contain their feeling (making their distress a survivable experience), and soothing and calming them until they can regulate their own emotions. We treat what the children share with us seriously, and value what they say.
- 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. This may be before your children are born, when they are very young, or throughout their school years. There is nothing to be worried about in asking for help. The school may be able to help you or signpost you and your family to other partner agencies such as CAMHS (Child and adult mental health service), PCSOs (police community support officers), school health etc. The Derbyshire Children’s Services – Early Help Offer Guide to Children & Family Services – provides a directory of support that families can be signposted to.
- Using the Early Help Assessment: This starts with an Early Help conversation. As a parent or carer you will chat with the Headteacher or a member of the school staff about what’s going well and what’s not going well for you and your family, and they will let you know what sort of help is available. This conversation might lead to an Early Help Assessment (EHA). This is how we get a full picture about the whole family. We use it to help you see what is working well and identify the areas you could do with a bit of extra support. It‘s your choice to take part in the assessment and you can choose who else should be involved. Every person and family is different, but an Early Help Assessment (EHA) will:
* Help you see what’s going well and not so well for your family
* Help you and others to see what support you might need
* Create a picture of your family’s circumstances, which can be shared with your permission
so you don't have to repeat yourself to different workers.
* Help you to be part of a team of people working together on the same plan to get things
going well again.
- What happens after the Early Help Assessment? With your permission, people from different organisations working with your family will share information and work together to help support you and your children. This could be school, health visitors, nursery staff, school health, etc. This may then be followed by a ‘Team Around the Family’ meeting. You need to give your consent as your personal information belongs to you. Agencies can’t share your information unless you agree because your information is protected by law under the Data Protection Regulations.
- What is a ‘Team Around the Family’ meeting? The family and workers 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. At these meetings a ‘lead worker’ is selected- it may be the person the family see most frequently, the one most involved or the most approachable. The lead worker arranges the review meetings and is someone you can speak to at any point about concerns or issues you or your family are facing.
- Valuing safeguarding training at all levels: Our Designated Safeguarding Lead (Miss Holmes) and our Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (Miss Judson) 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. All staff are provided with the following information:
* Keeping Children Safe in Education
* Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
* Pupil Behaviour Policies
* Staff Code of Conduct
* The identity of the DSL and any deputies
- Seeking advice from credible sources: The DSL or deputy DSL (or other members of staff if necessary) readily seek advice from the safeguarding partners in the event of a disclosure 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.
- Being knowledgeable and aware: The DSL and the deputy DSLs receive alerts from the safeguarding partners, attend safeguarding briefings and keep their knowledge and awareness of safeguarding up-to-date and at the heart of their practice.
- Understanding links: Staff understand the correlation between domestic abuse and child protection – staff are vigilant, listening to the child and making referrals as required
- Sharing risk management practice: The school is fully engaged with the multi-agency risk assessment conference process (child in need and child protection), where necessary.
- Raising awareness: 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 have a specific additional need/needs.
- Have SEND.
- Are young carers.
- Are showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime groups.
- Are frequently missing or go missing from care or from home.
- Are at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or exploitation.
- Are at risk of being radicalised or exploited.
- Are in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic abuse.
- Are misusing drugs or alcohol themselves.
- Are privately fostered.
- Have returned home to their family from care.
- Recognising where early help is effective: Staff understand that, where a statutory intervention is not required, early help may be used to address non-violent harmful sexual behaviour to prevent escalation of sexual violence.
- Understanding legal responsibilities: Staff are aware of the extent of FGM and forced marriages and understand how to fulfil their legal responsibilities.