Our Early Help and Support offer
The positive and supportive environment we strive to create in school for all of our pupils extends to you as the parents and carers of all the children and young people that attend The Loyne. We recognise that, in meeting the needs of your child whilst navigating the many challenges of modern-day life, you may require some additional support.
In the first instance, our Early Help offer provides a link between class teams and families, so that we can work together to meet the needs of our children and young people in the most holistic and coordinated way possible. The class team can provide specialist support, strategies and resources to help your child to generalise skills in communication, behaviour and movement across school and home.
Every Tuesday, we offer a supportive, friendly coffee morning for parents and carers called “Stop By and Share” in recognition of the very specific challenges experienced by parents and carers of a child with additional needs. The session is held in the Grizedale centre, where parents can meet others, create invaluable networks and learn ways to support their child throughout different points on their journey.
The pastoral team works closely with external services, professional teams and practitioners such as the NHS Learning Disability Team, Social Services and care and support agencies. We embrace a multi-disciplinary team approach and at times, involve everyone that works with and supports a child to ensure a fully co-ordinated offer.
Finally, as part of our offer, we provide parents with training and support in specific areas, delivered by experts in their field. Examples of these have been in behaviour, sleep, continence, communication, sensory integration or motor skills; although we are always refining our offer in line with the needs of our pupil population.
In summary, our Early Help offer includes:
- Providing information and signposting to other support services and groups in our local area.
- Liaising with external teams and services e.g. Children’s Social Care, Health etc.
- Advice and signposting to appropriate support to promote good attendance as well as mental health-related barriers to attending school – for children, young people and parents.
- Emotional, mental health and wellbeing support for parents.
- Help to complete paperwork and forms e.g. housing, school letters, funding and grant applications and benefits etc.
- Referrals to outside agencies e.g. Continence service, Learning Disability Team, Barnardo’s Mental Health Support Team, local food banks, CAB
- Parenting courses and workshops both in and outside school.
- Liaising and promoting connections with local specialist SEND support and activity groups.
- Lead on Early Help Assessments (EHA’s) and Team Around the Family (TAF) meetings.
Barnardo’s Moving Mindsets
Morecambe Bay Mental Health Support Team
The Loyne work closely with the local Mental Health Support Team (MHST). We have an Education Mental Health and Wellbeing Practitioner that visits the school on a weekly basis to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing needs of the children and young people in our school, as well as their wider families too in some cases. They can signpost and refer to other appropriate local services and support groups. E.g. Local SEN parent coffee mornings, appropriate support groups, counselling and therapy services etc.
For more information about what the MHST offers, please see the links and information below or contact school.
Early Help Support
What is Early Help?
Every family goes through challenging times. Early Help simply means coming together and working with you and your family to offer support as soon as problems start to emerge. When families face hurdles or problems, getting the right support at the right time, is essential and can stop a minor issue becoming a more serious crisis that is much more difficult to overcome.
This can include parenting support, emotional health and wellbeing support, financial guidance or sourcing appropriate play and activity groups.
Early Help is also voluntary – you don’t have to participate if you don’t want to. However, it is generally a positive experience and can lead to better outcomes and new opportunities for the families that get involved.
Early Help is not a referral to Children’s Social Services but it can be good evidence to be shared with them in the future, should a need for more intensive support arise.
Why would I want early help?
There are lots of reasons why individuals and families may need early help. It could be that you’re worried about your child’s behaviour become more challenging as they get older and the things you used to do to reduce this, just don’t work anymore? It may be that you’re worried about increased household bills and expenses and how this is affecting your family? Or maybe your own mental health and wellbeing has suffered since the pandemic and you are struggling to cope? Each family will have its own unique reasons why they may need that bit of extra support.
Where can I get early help?
If you feel you and your family might need some extra help and guidance, please do not hesitate to contact me or your child’s teacher. Everything will be dealt with in confidence and only shared on a need-to-know basis within school and externally.
How does it work?
Early Help involves listening to all members of the family, especially the children, to find out about their needs and what is working well for them. This can be done through an informal chat and/or an Early Help Assessment (EHA).
I or one of the Senior Leadership Team will contact you and invite you to meet up where we will talk about the challenges you are having and what support you think you might need. We will also discuss all the things that are going well and what you are proud of, so it’s not just about the negatives or things you find difficult.
You decide what happens next and can opt out at any time.
However, if you are happy to complete an EHA, an action plan is then agreed to make sure you get the right sort of help. Then all the support services and other professionals working with the family come together in a coordinated approach, called a Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting, to share the support of the whole family. Your EHA is shared with them so everyone knows and understands your family’s story and can support you all in the best possible way.
There may be times when your information has to be shared for safeguarding reasons. This would be:
- If a child is at risk of harm
- If an adult is at risk of harm
- If the information could help prevent or detect a serious crime
Children’s services will not be involved unless one of the above happens, you request it or if things within your family become more serious.
For more information on Lancashire County Council’s SEND and Early Help Offer, please follow this link: https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/practitioners/supporting-children-and-families/early-help-assessment/
Further information and useful links:
Children & Family Wellbeing Service information
Eggcup Lancaster & Morecambe low-cost food scheme
The Olive Branch Food Bank
Children’s Safeguarding Assurance Partnership (CSAP) – Working well with Families guidance Documents