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 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.
Leicester City Council recognises that Early Help is a term that describes much of the everyday work of schools.
Early Help in Leicester
The vision of all partner organisations working with children and families in Leicester 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.
The Role of Schools
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 Leicester 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 four commitments are the core elements to Abbey Mead Primary Academy’s Early Help Offer.
By implementing these commitments Abbey Mead Primary Academy 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