‘Early Help’ Statement
"All staff have a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which children can learn and all staff should be prepared to identify children who may benefit from early help. Early help means providing support as soon as a problem emerges at any point in a child’s life, from the foundation years through to the teenage years."
Keeping Children Safe in Education, September 2020
Being a parent is one of the most important jobs there is - it is also one of the hardest. Parents are the key to giving children a happy and stable childhood. From time to time families need additional support and advice. We aim to provide them with the support they need, but also recognise that on occasions they may need more specific support. We will signpost other agencies or support referrals where appropriate.
Every family is different; each needs options from which to choose to find an early solution to challenges as they arise. This solution could be as simple, for example, as talking with a worker in; a Children's Centre; School; with a voluntary worker; a faith worker; a GP; a health visitor or using a self help checklist.
This statement sits alongside our Safeguarding (Child Protection) Policy.
Early Help and Child Protection: At Gotherington Primary staff are trained in recognising the signs of Child Abuse and Extremism and are committed to and know the benefit of Early Help as a way of supporting families and young people before their needs become acute and Social Care or other specialist intervention may be necessary. The school has a range of robust safeguarding procedures in place which puts the safety and protection of children at the heart of any decisions. The school’s safeguarding team is made up of the following school personnel:
- Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) – Mrs Katie Langley
- Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead (DDSL) – Mrs Kathryn Baker
- Member of Leadership Team with DSL training - Mrs Averil Woolston
- Safeguarding Governor – Mr Mike Mintram
The Early Help Offer is an approach not a service: It respects every family's right to access information to help manage their own lives successfully, whilst guiding them to seek support from appropriate sources. Help can then be agreed as soon as concerns start to emerge. The 'Offer' is for all children, as issues may arise at any point in a child or young person's life. It includes both universal and targeted /specialist services, to reduce or prevent concerns from growing or becoming entrenched. The list provided below offers an overview of what the school is able to do to provide help at the earliest stage:
- Communicating at every opportunity that help is there when parents & children need.
- Together we will find a way forward that is right for everyone – there is a choice of help and it will be easy to access.
- Families are at the centre of everything we do – they will only have to tell us their story once. This will be via a confidential discussion with a member of staff.
- We will be assertive with families who may not want support but need it (where school believes that no support would impair a child’s development) and we will continue to support families until they no longer need our help.
- Senior leaders are encouraged to sign up for Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children’s Boards’ alerts keeping their knowledge and awareness of Safeguarding up to date and at the heart of their practice. This information is then shared with all staff.
- The school works with the local Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) to support families.
- Staff understand the correlation between Domestic Abuse and Child Protection – Staff are vigilant, listening to the child and making referrals as required.
- The school is fully engaged with the MARAC process (Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference).
- As part of our partnership with Gloucestershire County Council, we recognise how we can access support through Family First Plus.
- The school is aware of its duty to promote the Prevent strategy as part of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act (2015). Staff are fully aware of what they should do if they are worried that a child might be drawn into extremism and have received training to support this process, including awareness of the work of Channel Panels when necessary.
- The school and every member of staff within it, recognises the importance of every child’s entitlement to a full-time education. To this end, all staff are alert to signs to look out for when a child goes missing from education as they see that this could be a potential indicator of abuse or neglect.
- The school raises the awareness to parents for example Self-Harm and Eating Disorder websites understanding the correlation between self- harm and suicide and aiming for early identification of pupils at risk due to poor mental health.
- The school uses the Child Sexual Exploitation Tool for early identification and makes referrals as necessary.
- Staff are aware of their legal duties under the Serious Crimes Act (2015) regarding Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriages. Staff understand their statutory duty to report to the police where they discover that FGM appears to have been carried out on a girl who is under 18.
Gloucestershire and Early Help Hubs: Gloucestershire has established six Early Help Hubs across the county, one in each of the six districts. These are made up of integrated teams working within a local network of universal, voluntary, community and statutory partners and agencies. Each Hub works collectively and collaboratively to identify, coordinate and respond to a child or family's need at the earliest possible stage.
All members and partners of a Hub are engaged in work to prevent the escalation of problems or the deterioration of circumstances which could adversely affect the wellbeing of children, young people and families. We do this by bringing together a range of professional perspectives, sharing information and knowledge and strengthening family resilience. This helps support children and families deal with their struggles in a timely, informed and appropriate way.
Early Help Hubs:
·Provide information, advice and guidance to vulnerable children, young people and families, with difficulties they're experiencing at an early stage.
·Co-ordinate requests for support that they have received and ensure families are supported by the right agency at the right time.
·Provide parenting and targeted family support services to families and children to prevent escalation of problems.
·Provide advice and support to school, community based practitioners and lead professionals working with children and families.
·Develop support plans for children and families stepping down from social care services.
·Provide regular opportunities for agency professionals to discuss and plan help and support being provided to local children and families, share and develop knowledge and skills and create tailored support programmes to address specific needs within the locality.
·Work to agreed local governance, referral and allocation processes underpinned by a shared responsibility by all Hub partners for the wellbeing of children and families that come into contact with the Hub.
·Support universal services (schools, health services, children's centres, youth support, housing etc) enhance the positive early help work delivered in local settings and to link up services and teams to provide a joined-up offer.
·Have Early Help Co-ordinators and Community Social workers that will build community capacity by maximising the use of combined, local resources and support provided by voluntary and community organisations.
·Have children and families at the heart of key decisions related to them from planning a multi-agency response to help families with complex issues to ensuring their voices are heard in developing local provision of services.
Parents, children, carers, professionals and practitioners can all access help and support from their local Early Help Hub.
Information about how to access Early Help Hubs is available here: How to access early help and support
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If you believe a child or young person is at significant risk of harm, please contact the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Children Board
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