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 children’s outcomes.
- 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 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 Stephen's our pastoral support is led by Mrs Taylor. Mr Smith also supports families through his work as SENDCO and through liaison with the Bury Early Help Service.
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. In Bury, this is achieved through undertaking an Early Help Assessment called a Story So Far and assigning a Lead Practitioner to 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.
School Commitments to the Early Help Offer
The following four commitments have been agreed as non-negotiable elements to the St Stephen's Early Help Offer.
By signing up to and implementing these commitments St Stephen'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