Early Help Offer
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. At Singleton School we follow Lancashire County Council guidance and protocols in terms of the Early help offer.
- is for children of all ages and not just the very young,
- 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.
Lancashire County Council recognises that Early Help is a term that describes much of the everyday work of schools.
Early Help in Lancashire
The vision of all partner organisations working with children and families in Lancashire is to improve children’s lives by working in partnership to raise aspirations, build achievement and protect the most vulnerable.
This is based on the belief that:
- Children, young people and families develop resilience if there are protective factors in place such as: a positive relationship with an adult; good literacy and communication skills; good school attendance; and, parents in or actively seeking/ready for work
- Children’s needs are best met when help is offered in a universal setting within a socially mixed group and early on when problems start to emerge
- Children and young people’s needs are best met when addressed in the context of the whole family, meaning that parents/carers/siblings’ needs are addressed with consent as part of a holistic and integrated Early Help response
Early Help services should support and strengthen families so that they can thrive.
We follow the Working Well with Children and Families Guidance
As a school we also use the Lancashire CSAP (Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership) website:
The CSAP website is full of useful safeguarding and CP information.
Early Help Assessment
On 6 September 2021 the ‘Your Family’s Early Help Assessment’ replaced the ‘Common Assessment Framework’ (CAF) across Lancashire.
The Early Help Assessment is an intervention with a family to gather, explore and analyse with them information about all aspects of the child or young person (and their family’s) life and then to identify areas where change will address support needs and positively impact on their lived experiences.
This is recorded on an Early Help Assessment form which includes the family’s Early Help Plan.
The Early Help Assessment is not a referral form for professionals to complete to access other services supporting children, young people and families. The Early Help Assessment should be completed by the professional supporting the family to identify the family’s unmet needs and develop a plan of support with the family.
Your Family’s Early Help Assessment is available to all practitioners and professionals working with children, young people, and their families across Lancashire.
Working alongside families from a holistic, strength-based approach when areas of support are first identified will stop escalation towards crisis and the need for more intensive and specialist intervention.
Through the Early Help Assessment, Plan, and reviews via Team Around the Family meetings the wider partnership of services can provide families with the right support at the right time.
Lancashire’s Children and Family Wellbeing Service-early help referrals
Lancashire County Council’s Early Help Offer Lancashire’s Children and Family Wellbeing Service (CFW) offers practical support to children, young people, parents/carers and families.
This support can be provided on a whole range of issues which may be affecting individuals or the family and is offered through a network of centres as well as in the community or in the family home. The main focus of the service is to provide an enhanced level of support which is prioritised towards those groups or individuals who have more complex or intensive needs or who are at risk and particularly where we think that providing early help will make a positive difference.
We want any problems to be identified early and appropriate support be put in place on a basis on mutual respect and sensitivity to the family. Any concerns and referrals are made via early help and by having parental consent for an early help assessment.
Lancashire Children’s Services Safeguarding Hub (MASH)-the single point of contact to support the child and family.
We use the Continuum of Need to establish the level of support needed. Please see below:
Safeguarding at Singleton
At Singleton School we recognise that providing the best possible opportunities for our children to achieve their very best is at the forefront of what we do on a daily basis. However, we also take very seriously our responsibilities in terms of the health and welfare of our children.
Our school fully recognises the contribution it can make to protect children and support pupils in school’.
There are three main elements to our Child Protection Policy’.
Creating a positive school atmosphere, teaching and pastoral support to pupils where children have opportunities to have a voice and that their wishes and feelings are listened to and taken into account.
By following agreed procedures, ensuring staff are trained to recognise possible signs and symptoms of abuse and are trained and supported to respond appropriately and sensitively to child protection concerns.
To pupils and school staff and to children who may have been abused.
Our Safeguarding Team is here to help you!
Early help is interventions that are offered to all our pupils to prevent problems developing and it targets support to particular children and families with additional needs. The purpose of Early Help is to support the well-being of children and families by tackling emerging needs at the earliest opportunity and prevent them from getting worse. This means working with you to identify any support you may need and gain access to additional services that can promote positive outcomes. Effective Early Help may be delivered at any point in your child’s life about any issue which is impacting or could affect their development and well-being, including education and health.
As a school we know that supporting children to achieve positive outcomes is more effective when local agencies work together to:
- Identify children and families who would benefit from Early Help.
- Undertake an assessment with you (known in Lancashire as the Early Help Assessment)
- Provide Early Help services to address the assessed needs of a child and their family to improve outcomes.
We will ensure that we:
- Gain your consent and are open and honest.
- Seek your views and opinions.
- With your consent, work jointly with other professionals and services already working with your family.
- Empower you to gain positive outcomes.
- Allocate a lead person to help co-ordinate any support put in place.
- Consider the age and stage of your child’s development to make sure that actions are appropriate and inform our expectations and concerns.
- Keep you and your child involved and informed.
Below is an overview of our Safeguarding team. The Designated Safeguarding Leads are the people that lead the Early Help process at Singleton School. Miss Ashworth is the key person that works with children and families.
Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL)
- Amanda Clayton (Head) – Lead DSL
- Leonie Millward (SENCO) – DSL
- Katie Ashworth (Learning Mentor) – DSL
Governors with Responsibility for Safeguarding
- Laura Walker – Chair of the Governing Body / Safer recruitment
- Keith Walker – Chair of the SHE committee / Safer recruitment
Safeguarding DBS lead
- Rachel Reeves (Office Manager)
- Rachel keeps and maintains a log of all staff and volunteers who have DBS clearance to work with children and the Governors review, and general safeguarding in school monthly.
- Lisa Rund (FS Teacher)
- Martin Keighley (Governor)
What types of support are available ?
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.
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. Schools play a role in supporting families to address these difficulties through more focused pastoral support, which might include bringing in support via an external agency.
Early Help Assessment
For those children and families whose needs and circumstances make them more vulnerable, or where schools need the support of other agencies to meet the needs of the family, a coordinated multi-agency approach is usually best. In Lancashire this is achieved through undertaking an Early Help Assessment and assigning a Lead Practitioner to work closely with the family to ensure they receive the support they require. Schools should be a key partner in any multi-agency work to support families
The following five commitments are the core elements to Singleton C of E Primary School’s Early Help Offer.
By implementing these commitments Singleton School aims to 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
- Delivery approaches of Early Help support for more vulnerable families are up to date with local offers
- Commitment to the personal development and well-being strand of the Ofsted Framework
- All pastoral support is done to support the whole child, with the school values: Respect, Care & Compassion, Aspirations and Resilience at the heart of all that we do to help others.
Mrs Clayton, Mrs Millward, Miss Ashworth, the staff and the governors have a statutory responsibility to refer any safeguarding concerns to the Lancashire Safeguarding Team. Our policy is to ‘Put the child First’ and this means we seek advice if there is even a small amount of doubt or concern. This can and has on many occasions led to uncomfortable conversations with parents and carers but we would rather be safe than sorry and the needs of our children are paramount.
Our Safeguarding Policy and online safety policy are available for parents to view in the policies section of the website.
We all have a responsibility to keep children safe and there have been cases at our school where parents other than those of the child concerned have reported concerns. Any adults living in our locality who have child protection concerns should contact:-
The MASH – Multi Agency Safeguarding HUB-
- The Customer Service Centre – 0300 123 6720
- Emergency Duty Team (Out of Hours between 5pm – 8am) –
Tel 0300 123 6722
Other Useful contacts
- Childline – 0800 11 11
- NSPCC Helpline – 0808 800 5000
- Text: 88858
- Email: email@example.com
If a child is in immediate danger, call the emergency services using 999.
Help and Advice for Parents/ Carers
As parents/carers, you want to make sure that your children develop healthily and thrive. We’re here to help you with advice on how you can build strong relationships with your children and keep them safe. Here is advice and resources for helping parents to keep their children safe, advice for parents on keeping children safe out of school, at home and online, when using the internet, social networking websites and playing online games, help and advice for creating a safe and nurturing environment for your children.
For guidance, further details can be found from:
Information / Guidance for:-
Staff, Volunteers, Student Teachers, Parent Helpers and Governors
- DSP – Amanda Clayton
- DSP – Leonie Millward
- DSP – Katie Ashworth
If you work / volunteer or on a placement in our school you will receive a Safeguarding Induction pack or leaflet depending on your role and one of the DSP’ will go through procedures with you.
A child is considered to be abused, or at risk of abuse when the basic needs of the child are not being met, through avoidable acts of either commission or omission. This includes neglect and physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Abuse can involve children of all ages from all cultures, religions and social classes.
From the moment children are admitted to our school, teachers and other staff / volunteers who are in daily contact with them are well placed to notice signs of neglect, behavioural change or failure to develop as expected, which may be indicators of abuse.
What are my responsibilities?
All those who come into contact with children through their everyday work whether paid or voluntary have a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
Singleton C of E School’s Recruiting and Selection Procedures specify that all adults who work in ‘regulated activity’ – i.e. unsupervised activities such as teach, train, instruct or supervise children; and work in a ‘specified place’ such as a school; and this work is regular i.e. once a week or more or 4 or more days in a 30 day period or overnight – will require an enhanced DBS Disclosure.
This is to help ensure that unsuitable people are prevented from working with children. If your work with children means that you are supervised at all times, this may not be required.
Common signs of abuse.
Every child is completely different, so behavioural signs of abuse will and do vary from child to child. In addition, the impact of abuse is likely to be influenced by the child’s age, the nature and extent of the abuse and the help and support the child receives. However, there are some behaviours that are commonly seen in children and young people who have been abused:
- The child appears to be distrustful of a particular adult, or a parent or a coach with whom you would normally expect there to be a close relationship.
- He or she has unexplained injuries such as bruising, bites or burns- particularly if these are on part of the body where you would not expect them.
- If he or she has an injury which is not satisfactorily explained or properly treated.
- Deterioration in his/her physical appearance or a rapid weight gain or loss.
- Pains, itching, bruising or bleeding, in or near the genital area.
- A change in the child’s general behaviour. For example, they may be unusually quiet and withdrawn or unexpectedly aggressive. Such changes can be sudden or gradual.
- If he or she refuses to remove clothing for normal activities or wants to keep covered up in warm weather.
- If he or she shows inappropriate sexual awareness or behaviour for their age.
- Some disabled children may not be able to communicate verbally about abuse they may have experienced or witnessed. It is therefore important to observe these children for signs other than “telling.”
Remember that the above signs should be seen as a possible indication of abuse and not as confirmation. If you are concerned about a child or a young person, YOU HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT on these concerns.
What should I do if I am worried about a child?
If whilst working with a child you become concerned about: Comments made by a child, Marks or bruising on a child, Changes in the child’s behaviour or demeanour then report it IMMEDIATELY to Amanda Clayton or one of the DSL’s If these people are not available, report it straight to the police or phone Lancashire Safeguarding team on 01772 531196
What should I do if a child makes a disclosure?
Although the likelihood of this is small it is important to know what to do in such an eventuality as children rarely lie about such matters. An abused child is likely to be under severe emotional stress and the staff member may be the only adult whom the child is prepared to trust.
- Listen to what is being said without displaying shock or disbelief; accept what is being said
- Allow the child to talk freely
- Reassure the child, but do not make promises that might not be possible to keep
- Do not promise confidentiality but explain to the child that you may have to tell their teacher or Head teacher in order that they can provide appropriate help
- Do not interrogate the child or ask leading questions
- Do not take photographs of injuries – leave this to the police
- Reassure the pupil that it is not their fault
- Stress that it was the right thing to tell
- Do not ask the child to write a statement
- Do not criticise the alleged perpetrator
- Immediately record details of the disclosure, including wherever possible the exact words or phrases used by the child.
- Forms for the recording of information of this nature are available from the Staff room, and should be completed and returned to the Senior Designated Person for Safeguarding to enable the matter to be dealt with in the most appropriate way.
- Please ensure you have signed and dated the record.
A member of staff who receives a report from a child alleging abuse must not ask leading questions or proffer alternative explanations for the child’s concerns. The child’s report should be listened to carefully and recorded accurately, in the language used by the child, at the earliest opportunity following its receipt. Do not undermine the trust the child has placed in you by disclosing their traumatic information. TRY to pass the pupil on as gently as possible to Amanda Clayton or Leonie Millward / Katie Ashworth as quickly as possible so that the appropriate course of action can be initiated.
Remember… take disclosure seriously…. Respond quickly and calmly……. Seek advice