Early Help Offer
St. Mary’s Catholic High School Early Help Offer
What is Early Help?
Early Help is the process and means by which the needs of children and their families for support are identified and addressed as soon as they emerge, so that children’s development is maintained and harm prevented, as part of ‘early’, targeted and sometimes intensive work with the wider family. This can occur at different points in the child’s life, including pre-birth, and may be repeated for different reasons, as the child develops.
The consequences of not addressing needs in this way are that the issues may become more entrenched, complex and acute and can become overlaid by additional needs and problems, not just for the individual child, but for the wider family, thus requiring greater help and support from more agencies as time progresses and creating more severe and intractable problems. Early Help can avoid these escalations and support/enable the child and the family to resolve their own issues and build resilience for the future. By effective use and deployment of Early Help, the following objectives can be achieved:
- Children start school healthy and ready to learn.
- Children and young people are kept safe from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
- Children and young people are supported in their emotional wellbeing.
- Young people are ready to work.
Early Help can be provided to address any emerging needs and consists of co-ordinated support from universal and targeted services, such as Health services such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), Early Help Teams in Derbyshire, Voluntary and community sector organisations such as The Elm Foundation and Action for Children.
Signs that a child or young person may benefit from Early Help include (Department for Education (DfE), 2018):
- Displaying disruptive or anti-social behaviour.
- There are on-going safe guarding concerns.
- Being bullied or bullying others.
- Having poor attendance at school.
- Being involved in, or at risk of, offending.
- Having poor general health.
- Having anxiety, depression or other mental health issues.
- Misusing drugs or alcohol.
- Having a particularly challenging relationship with parents or appearing to be unusually independent from their parents.
- Experiencing difficulties at home, such as domestic abuse, parental substance abuse or parental mental health problems.
Early Help responsibilities at St. Mary’s
St. Mary’s Catholic High School takes responsibility for providing our pupils and families with Level 2 Emerging Needs/ Early Help provision. This area of support and intervention forms part of our already robust pastoral care system and safeguarding procedures. The welfare of our young people is our absolute priority, and we strive to provide a bespoke package of support when they face difficulties which may hamper their academic achievement and personal development.
To deliver the Early Help Offer, we have an established a Wellbeing Team based within the school. This consists of Mrs M Bowerman- Early Help Coordinator and Family Resource Worker, Mrs J Peace- Vulnerable and Emotional Needs Co-ordinator, Mrs R Kaunhoven- Counsellor, Ms A Killingsworth- Careers Adviser and access to School Health practitioners. This team has been created to work with our children and families in times of need, in line with the Catholic mission and ethos of our school. Miss H McKay is responsible for the leadership of the Wellbeing Team and will oversee the referral process, interventions and record keeping procedures.
St. Mary’s has put in place arrangements to ensure that all students are entitled to be considered for, assessed and supported via the provision of Early Help Services:
- Identify children and their families who would benefit from Early Help using the DSCB thresholds. proceduresonline.com Threshold Document
- Undertake an assessment of the need for Early Help using the DSCB approved Early Help Assessment where appropriate.
- Ensure provision of targeted Early Help services to address the assessed needs of a child and the family which focuses on activity to significantly improve the outcomes for the child. This involves the use of evidence based interventions as set out by the Early Help Intervention Foundation (www.eif.org.uk/how-do-we-know-early-intervention-works/)
- Share information on that provision which is consistent with the child’s welfare and with due regard to confidentiality.
- Practitioners working in universal services have a responsibility to identify the symptoms and triggers of abuse and neglect, to share that information and work together to provide children and young people with the help they need.
- Practitioners will continue to develop their knowledge and skills in this area and will have access to training.
We will continue to use the statutory guidance and the Threshold Guidance issued by the Derby and Derbyshire Safeguarding Children Boards in all of our work towards meeting the responsibilities outlined above.
What is an Early Help Assessment (EHA)?
An EHA is an initial assessment and planning tool that facilitates and coordinates multi-agency support. It assesses the situation of the child or young person and their family and helps to identify the needs of both the children and the adults in the family.
It enables families and agencies to efficiently identify the strengths and emerging needs of children and young people at risk of poor outcomes; it reduces duplication of assessment and improves involvement between agencies.
The assessment may take up to 45 days to complete depending on the information that is needing to be gathered.
As part of the detailed Early Help Assessment we will look at the following areas for each unborn baby/child/young person and their family:
- What are the child’s wishes and feelings?
- What are the harms or risks (past and present) that we are worried about in respect of an unborn baby/child/young person?
- Are there any concerns or risks external to the family, such as in the extended family, peer group, community, and school or on-line?
- What has happened to this child/young person? What trauma may have impacted on them?
- What are we worried is going to happen to the unborn baby/child/young person in the future if nothing changes?
- What are the parents/ carers understanding of the situation and to what extent have they engaged with the services?
- What are the child/young person’s and family’s strengths? Could these be built upon, utilised?
- What support and interventions have been offered previously?
- Did these make a difference? If not, why not?
- What support and interventions can your agency offer this unborn baby/child/young person and family? Could this address the needs or is support required from another agency or other local facilities?
- What support is needed and how will this address the needs? What’s working and what’s not?
For more information, please refer to St. Mary’s Catholic High School Early Help Offer 2021/22