What is Early Help? (Please remember that Early Help is an approach we use and not a service.)
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 to 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 need 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. Grange Park Junior 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 2015”. In summary, these are to:
- Identify children and their families who would benefit from Early Help
- Ensure signposting of targeted Early Help services to address the assessed needs of a child and family which focuses on activity to significantly improve the outcomes for the child.
- 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.
Our Early Help Approach
1. 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.
2. 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. The school may be able to help you or signpost you and your family to other partner agencies.
3. Using the Early Help Assessment: This starts with an Early Help conversation. As a parent or carer you will chat with the DSL 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.
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.