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Early Help Offer - Derbyshire

The Pingle Academy offers Early Help Services to those schools in The de Ferrers Trust which are located in Derbyshire (The Pingle Academy and Granville Academy) and more widely across Derbyshire. The service was developed when Derbyshire County Council took the decision to withdraw their early help offer meaning that schools in Derbyshire were required to source the provision elsewhere. 

Children/young people and their families may experience a range of needs at different times in their lives.  All children and young people require access to high quality universal services, but some also benefit from targeted support to address additional needs, which relate to education, health, social welfare, or other issues.

The structured team and support workers meet local need through integrated and streamlined working practices and deliver cost effective, sustainable services. The team is based at The Pingle Academy and the service users are at the heart of planning and delivery.

The team has the following objectives:

  • To provide a high quality service to the families and service users, developing an effective and integrated workforce to respond quickly and to work proactively.
  • To reduce duplication and bureaucracy.
  • To provide flexible services.
  • To enable more effective early intervention and preventative approaches.

The service started in September 2019 with one Family Support Worker.  Word soon spread regarding the targeted work completed with the children young people and their families. We started to receive requests from other academies/schools to join the service.

As of the 1 september 2021, we have 17 schools/academies within the service.

Across the Early Help Service, within 12 months, we have managed to obtain diagnoses for many individual children (ASD, neurodevelopment needs or SEMH).

A further 10 sets of paperwork to SPOA for further diagnosis.  6 children/ young people have been accepted by CAMHS, who have a very high threshold.  We have supported parents/carers with their own needs such as mental health support, finance support, benefits and housing.  We have also obtained 4 full EHCPs as well as being granted several GRIP applications.  We currently have a case load of 52 families, who are receiving targeted support based around a full assessment of their needs.  Throughout the duration of the service we have supported over 209 families.

We have made links with the CVS service, who provide training and access to food banks, which a large majority of the families access.  We work closely with CAMHS and Social Care to provide the right level of support targeted at the needs of the families.  We have also developed close links with the Community Paediatrician, Clinical Psychologist, school nurses, GP surgeries, Neuro Developmental Nurse and Speech and Language Therapist, along with other organisations such Trident Reach and other charities.

This is amazing work and life changing for all those involved.  It also means that these children will be better equipped to reach their full potential.

The service has also delivered three separate six week parenting courses, inviting parents/carers who have been part of the service or to prevent them becoming involved in the service.  These courses have been highly successful with fantastic parent/carer reviews.

We have also delivered Mental Health First Aid training, which again has been extremely successful.  There are 10 trained at The Pingle Academy as well as primary staff.

We also provided youth activities during the summer break for targeted children and young people who have been and are part of the service.  This included breakfast mornings, craft days, film sessions and drop in sessions.  All were attended well and again feedback from participants and parents/carers was excellent. 

Future plans are to develop a training programme which could be delivered to staff within the academies whilst also offered to other schools/academies.

We also wish to develop further links with other agencies and charities who could provide more targeted support for children/young people and their families.

We are developing along with Action for Children, an emotional wellbeing group for 14 to 16 year olds.  Specialised services around domestic violence and relationships work with groups of vulnerable students and families in and out of the academy environment and we aim to build on this service.  We are looking at developing a healthy eating course (HENRY), based around nutrition and routines.

Further information from Mark Hurst, Head of Family Services