Etwall Primary School works to provide Early Help to families in the school community. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life, beginning with the Early Years Foundation Stage. Early help services aim to provide advice and support when families need it and, hopefully result in circumstances improving for everyone.
Our school will work with children and families and we will aim to:
- Work to families’ strengths especially those of parents and carers and take time to understand their needs fully.
- Focus on preventing problems before they occur and offer flexible, responsive support when and where it’s required.
- Build the resilience of parents, young people, children and communities to support each other.
- Base all we do on evidence of both what is needed and of what works and be brave enough to stop things that are wrong.
We will know if our work in early help is successful if it delivers these outcomes:
Children and Young People...
Parents and Carers...
• Are supporting one another in their communities
• Know where to get help if they need it
• Have trusted relationships with practitioners, neighbours and other parents
• Are well informed about how best to help their child develop, and motivated to make great choices
Our primary aim is to identify needs early and to make sure that appropriate support is put into place. All staff recognise their role in ensuring safeguarding practices for all children at all times. We believe that information sharing and timely effective support can ensure that all children and families get a good start in life.
Families may need support from a wide range of agencies and we recognise that other agencies will be able to support families based on their specialism. Therefore, our role is often to signpost families to the resources that will best support their needs.
How will we know when Early Help is needed?
Staff have daily contact with children and their families throughout term time. All staff recognise their role in identifying needs of children and their families possible need for Early Help.
We have rigorous safeguarding procedures which are shared and understood by all stakeholders and all adults who work in school have annual safeguarding training and regular updates as necessary. All reports of concern are logged on the school reporting system, My Concern, which is available to all staff at the most suitable level of access.
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (Sarah Bentley Headteacher), supported by the Deputy Designated Safeguarding leads (Rick Ormiston and Sam Toynbee), monitor the entries logged onto My Concern and, where appropriate, will assess the needs of a family. This may identify that Early Help is required.
The Headteacher monitors attendance in school to ensure that families recognise the importance of their children attending school regularly and will take appropriate action in line with Derbyshire County Council procedures.
Recording, Reporting and Referrals
The Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) and deputies have case management responsibility. They identify needs based on safeguarding thresholds e.g. low level, emerging, complex/serious (Section 17) or Child Protection concerns (Section 47).
Where emerging needs are identified, the school may make a referral to Children First, South Derbyshire Schools Family Support Service.
Young people and their families experience a range of needs at different times in their lives. However, while all children and young people require access to high quality universal services some of them also benefit from targeted early-intervention support to address additional emerging needs relating to education, social welfare or other issues.
An Early Help Assessment Form may be completed with parents/carers. This will be the approved by the Derbyshire Safeguarding Children’s Board (DSCB) form and they will identify where support is needed and formulate a plan for the family (either in-house or support/ involvement of an outside agency). This plan will be reviewed regularly and, if necessary, further actions identified. All plans, actions and outcomes will be recorded on My Concern and, as necessary, staff will contribute to a child’s profile.
If there is no improvement to the welfare of the child, and there are escalating concerns around the safety and wellbeing of a child it is likely that there will be a referral to Starting Point. We would, if appropriate, discuss this with parents/ carers first.
Early Help Interventions
Our school website contains information for families actively seeking advice and support. Based on the needs of each family, staff will coordinate the support of the appropriate services. Where appropriate Team Around the Family (TAF) meetings are arranged to monitor the work of all the agencies involved. The Early Help Assessment Tools and a ‘safety and wellbeing grid’ are used to assess progress and achievements made by the families and professionals supporting them.
Joint working arrangements with partner agencies, such as school health, South Derbyshire SCAs (Specialist Community Advisors), CAMHS (Child and adolescent mental health service) and with the PCSOs (police community support officer), are already in place and information is shared through meetings, email and telephone communications.
As a family’s needs change, further links to agencies may be established and maintained. Clear lines of communication are essential to support long term improvements for families. The Derbyshire Children’s Services - Early Help Offer Guide to Children & Family Services – provides a directory of support that families will either be signposted to, referred to, or engaged with on behalf of the families we support.