'Carry each other's burden and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.' Galatians 6:2
Why do we have Early Help?
At St Mary's RC Primary School, we understand that from time to time, family life can have its complications and sometimes families may need some extra help. This is why we have an early help process.
The aim of Early Help whether that be at school or Local Authority level is to ensure that children and their families receive the right help, at the right time, with the right person.
What is Early Help?
Early Help means providing help for children, young people and families as soon as problems start to emerge or where it is likely that issues will impact negatively on a child's life and well-being.
- Is for children of all ages and not just the very young,
- Can be provided at any point of need and;
- Can be very effective in supporting a child, young person and/or their family to step down from statutory services as well as preventing the escalation of issues.
- Is important because there is clear evidence that it results in better outcomes for children.
Early help is a term that describes much of the everyday work of schools.
The Role of School
Day to Day Support
Most families, most of the time, can get on with their lives quite happily with little or no outside help. If they need help it is usually provided by what we call universal services, such as schools, doctors, dentists etc. This can include the day-to-day support provided to pupils and their families by staff within school.
Focused Pastoral Support
All families can have times, however, when difficulties arise and they either may not recognise it or may not know how to start putting things right. Without the right support early on, situations can easily get worse very quickly.
School plays an important role in supporting families to address these difficulties through more focused pastoral support, which might include bringing in support via an external agency.
At St Mary's our pastoral support is led by Mrs Gerrard.
Miss Walmsley, Mrs Openshaw and Mrs Menzies also supports families through his work as SENDCO.
Mrs Dolley- Harter also supports our families and pupils through her work as our School Social Worker.
We believe that by working together we can better support our children and families. Sometimes families need support from a wide range of agencies or people, for example, family support workers, social workers, health service and the local police.
Early Help Assessment
Why an Early Help Assessment?
For those children and families whose needs and circumstances make them more vulnerable, or where school needs the support of other agencies to meet the needs of the family, a coordinated multi-agency approach is usually best.
What sorts of concerns might parents/carers share with us?
A wide range of issues such as behaviour management, toileting, establishing routines, domestic abuse, mental health issues, housing issues, mobility issues, bereavement and loss - in fact any concerns which you are worried about might be having a negative impact on your child.
How will we know when Early Help is needed?
Parents, carers and children may recognise when support is required or school may identify that there are emerging needs for the family. This will usually centre around the concerns about a child.
The Early Help Process
In Bury, this is achieved through undertaking an Early Help Assessment called a Story So Far and being assigning a Lead Practitioner. The Story So Far is a document voluntarily completed by the family with the support of the lead practitioner. It enables the family to set out the need along with their strengths, and provide information from all services involved, resulting in a coordinated Early Help Plan for the family, known as an Early Help Family Support Plan (EHFSP). The lead practitioner or key worker will work closely with the family to ensure they receive the support they require. School will be a key partner in any multi-agency work to support families.
Bury's Early Help services aim to both provide advice and/or intervene with families who need this extra help, with the objective of preventing the situation escalating and then there being a need for other agencies to get involved with the family.
Contact details: Radcliffe Locality Team: 0161 253 7465/7468
School Commitments to the Early Help Offer
The following four commitments have been agreed as non-negotiable elements to the St Paul's Early Help Offer.
By signing up to and implementing these commitments St Mary's can ensure:
- Pupils, parent/carers and staff are clear on the Early Help support available through the school
- Clarity for partners, supporting improved multi-agency working
- It is up-to-date with local approaches to the delivery of early help support for more vulnerable families
- Helps evidence school's commitment to the personal development and wellbeing strand of the Ofsted Framework
To find out more information about Early Help in Bury, click on the information and links below:
Parents and vulnerable families under stress. Family Action works to tackle some of the most complex and difficult issues facing families today including:
- Financial hardship,
- Domestic abuse
- Mental health problems
- Learning disabilities
- Substance misuse
- Alcohol problems.
Family Action believes that families facing these difficulties should have the support they need to become stronger, happier and healthier. With the right kind of support, families can overcome their difficulties and give their children hope for a brighter future.
Click here for further information about how Family Action may be able to help you or someone you know.
First Point Family Support Services
“We passionately empower families and professionals to make informed choices. Built on our innovative and personable approach we aim to make life changing differences.”
Click here for further information on First Point Family Support Service