Mrs Joanna Hallliday
Designated Senior Safeguarding Lead
Mrs Linda Stevens
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Ms Samantha Cartland
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads
Mrs Caroline Kafka Markey
Mr Jamie Hall
What is Early Help?
Early help means identifying needs and providing appropriate support for children, young people and their families, early on, to prevent future problems and help them achieve their potential. Early Help is a support approach and not a service.
All staff at Theale Green School recognise their role in ensuring safeguarding practices are maintained for all children and young people at all times. We believe that information sharing, and timely effective support can ensure that all children and families continue to thrive. Families may need support from a wide range of agencies for difficulties that they experience at certain points in their lives but may not require intervention via a social worker.
We recognise that other agencies are best placed to support children, young people and their families based on their specialized work. Therefore, our role is often to signpost families to the resources that will best support their needs. Theale Green School understands their responsibilities and as a school we will carry out our duties in ensuring the effectiveness of Early Help Services for students 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.
- Undertake an assessment of the need for Early Help using all available information.
- 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. This involves the use of evidence based interventions as set out by the Early Intervention Foundation and summarized within The West Berkshire My Family Plan documentation.
- Share necessary information which is consistent with the child or young person’s welfare and with due regard to confidentiality.
Our Early Help Approach
- Hearing what children and young people have to say and using their voice. The school can provide a neutral place where the student feels it is safe to talk. Sensitivity to the student’s conversation is vital. Staff listen carefully to what the student 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 We treat what the student shares with us seriously, and value what they say.
- Hearing what parents/carers have to say and signposting support agencies. Sometimes you or your children may need extra support throughout their school The school may be able to help you or signpost you and your family to other partner agencies such as CAMHS (Child and adult mental health service), PCSOs (police community support officers), school nursing team, Occupational Therapy or The Edge amongst other services. The West Berkshire Children’s Services Local offer, provides a directory of support that families can be signposted to, which can be found at https://directory.westberks.gov.uk/kb5/westberkshire/directory/home.page
- Using the Early Help Assessment: This starts with an Early Help conversation. As a parent or carer you will talk with a member of the Safeguarding Team, or other suitable member of 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 may lead to a My Family Plan assessment, which provides a holistic picture of the whole family. We can use this to help understand what is working well and identify any areas that may need extra A My Family Plan Assessment (MFPA) will:
- Help everyone 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 support everyone within the family.
- What happens after the My Family Plan Assessment? With your permission, people from different organizations working with your family will share information and work together to help support you and your children. This could be school, health visitors, drug advisory service, or housing support amongst other agencies. This will then be followed by scheduled My Family Plan meetings. School staff will lead these meetings and will invite other support agencies to attend in person or provide reports as appropriate.
- What is a My Family Plan meeting? The family and workers involved come together, either in person or via written reports to build a support plan, which is reviewed at regular intervals, to ensure that progress is being made for your family and that the right support is in place. The lead worker from school arranges the review meetings and is someone you can speak to at any point about concerns or issues you or your family are
- Valuing safeguarding training at all levels: Our Designated Safeguarding Team undergo full training every two years and attend refresher training annually. All other staff members receive annual refresher training at the start of the new school year covering:
- Keeping Children Safe in Education
- Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy
- Seeking advice from credible sources: The DSL Team readily seek advice from the safeguarding partners in the event of a disclosure or if they are concerned about a student’s wellbeing. If a student is at risk of harm this information may be shared prior to consent being
- Being knowledgeable and aware: The DSL Team receive alerts from the safeguarding partners, attend safeguarding briefings and keep their knowledge and awareness of safeguarding up- to-date and at the heart of their
- Understanding links: Staff understand the correlation between domestic abuse and child protection – staff are vigilant, listening to the child and making referrals as required
- Sharing risk management practice: The school is fully engaged with the multi-agency risk assessment conference process (child in need and child protection), where
- Raising awareness: The school raises parents’ awareness of reasons for out of character behaviours such as becoming withdrawn, anxious, continually tired etc. to increase their understanding of the correlation between behaviour and safeguarding risks such as grooming, internet safety, bullying, aiming for early identification of students at
- Identifying risks at the earliest opportunity: All staff are aware of the risks which may indicate the need for early help – this includes children who:
- Are disabled or have a specific additional need/needs.
- Are young carers.
- Are showing signs of being drawn into anti-social or criminal behaviour, including gang involvement and association with organised crime
- Are frequently missing or go missing from care or from
- Are at risk of modern slavery, trafficking or
- Are at risk of being radicalized or
- Are in a family circumstance presenting challenges for the child, such as drug and alcohol misuse, adult mental health issues and domestic
- Are misusing drugs or alcohol
- Are privately
- Have returned home to their family from
- Recognizing where early help is effective: Staff understand that, where a statutory intervention is not required, early help may be used to address non-violent harmful sexual behaviour to prevent escalation of sexual violence.
- Understanding legal responsibilities: Staff are aware of the possibility of radicalization, FGM and forced marriages and understand how to fulfil their legal