Early Help

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What is Early Help?

At The Mease Spencer we recognise that many families experience periods where family life has complications. There may be times when you need extra help or support. This help and support is available for children and their families and can come in many different forms – these form our Early Help Offer.

Families may need support from a wide range of agencies or people, for example, health services, housing services, family support workers, social workers or the local police. As a school, we may be able to signpost a range of services to support families beyond the educational setting.

(Please remember that Early Help is an approach we use and not a service)

What concerns might parents have?

A wide range of issues such as:

  • Behaviour management
  • Domestic abuse
  • Alcohol and drug misuse
  • Mental health issues
  • Housing concerns
  • Financial worries and debt
  • Medical worries
  • Bereavement and loss
  • School attendance
  • E-safety and cyber bullying


Any other concerns which you are worried might be having a negative impact on your child or children.

What do I need to do if I have concerns?

The first step is to have a conversation with a member of staff in school.   You will be offered the opportunity to have a chat about your concerns and discuss what is going well and what is not going well for you and your family.

Following this conversation, any relevant support will be put in place at school level. The impact of this support will be reviewed with you as appropriate.


What support might we offer in school?

Discussion – sometimes just a chat and sharing ideas can be all it takes to solve a problem.

Incredible Years programme – supporting parents to manage their children and their behaviour more positively at home. Mrs Hart is able to deliver this programme if there are sufficient parents available to participate.

Individual Support – bespoke support for the individual needs of children including anxiety, anger, self-esteem, identity, friendships, bereavement and peer work.

Behaviour Support – to engage children who may struggle to regulate their emotions and who need support to access learning opportunities.


What will happen if the help the school offers is not enough?

Where additional support is needed, over and above that which can be provided in school, we will signpost to appropriate outside agencies or make a referral on your behalf.

These agencies could include, but are not limited to:

What support might we signpost?

  • School Nurse
  • Behaviour Support
  • Young carers
  • Family GP
  • Counselling services
  • DIASS (formerly parent partnership)
  • Derbyshire Early Help team
  • Housing Associations
  • Food Bank
  • Homestart
  • Action for children
  • Health Visitor
  • PCSO
  • Trident reach
  • Freedom programme

How will we know if Early Help is needed?

If it is identified that you or your child may need co-ordinated support from a wide range of agencies, an Early Help assessment will be completed.


What is an Early Help assessment?

An Early Help assessment (EHA) provides a full picture about the whole family. We use it to help you to identify areas in which you would benefit from some extra support. It is your choice to take part in the assessment and to decide who else should be involved.

Every child and family is different, but an Early Help assessment will:

  • Help you see what’s going well and not so well for your family
  • Help you and others identify what support you might need
  • Create a picture of your family’s circumstances, which can be shared with your permission so that you don’t have to repeat yourself to different workers

What happens after the Early Help assessment?

With your permission, we will share your information with the relevant outside agencies who need to be involved to support you and your children. We will support you to be part of a team of people working together on the same plan to improve things for you and your family.

Team Around the Family (TAF) meetings may be held in school to review the support in place, to identify what is working well, what needs to change and to agree actions to help and support your family.

Gaining the views, wishes and feelings of the child is key and a member of the school Early Help team will carry out direct work with children.


What is a Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting?

The family and workers involved get together to make a support plan. This is reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that progress is being made for your family and that the right support is in place. At these meetings a ‘lead worker’ is selected – it may be the person the family see most regularly. The lead worker arranges the meetings and is someone you can speak to at any point about concerns or issues you and your family are facing.


What if this support still isn’t enough?

If the family’s needs exceed what Early Help can offer, the school will make a referral to Starting Point – who provide a single base for all of Derbyshire’s children’s services including the branch that deals with any child safety issues.


When will Early Help be available from School?

The Early Help offer provided by the school will be available during school hours and during term time only. In order to support families out of school time, we will signpost agencies and activities that are available when school is closed.


What support is on offer out of school hours?

If you are concerned that a child is suffering or is at risk of harm, please contact Starting Point on 01629 533190.